3. Noah

Play 3, NOAH: FOOTNOTES


1 The pageant of Noah with his sons. Wakefield (see note)

2 Lines 25–26: Yet proudly he fled his dais (seat of honor) / and set himself next to God

3 Then he turns to his wife [saying]

4 Lines 302–03: I have one [a husband], by Mary, / that released me from confinement at childbirth

5 Lines 358–60: Unless God helps me now, / I may be thought lazy

6 Lines 363–64: In the name of the Father, and the Son, / and the Holy Ghost. Amen

7 Lines 651–52: Now the storms have ended, / and [heaven’s] floodgates have closed

8 They may tarry until they can bring something

9 Here ends the pageant of Noah; Abraham follows


Play 3, NOAH: EXPLANATORY NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: Chester: The Chester Mystery Cycle, ed. Lumiansky and Mills (1974); CT: The Canterbury Tales, ed. Benson (1987); DSL: Dictionary of the Scots Language; Elliott: The Apocryphal New Testament, ed. Elliott; EP: The Towneley plays, ed. England and Pollard (1897); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MS: Huntington MS HM 1 (“the Towneley manuscript”); N-Town: The N-Town Plays, ed. Sugano (2007); OED: Oxford English Dictionary; REED: Records of Early English Drama; SC: The Towneley Plays, eds. Stevens and Cawley (1994); s.d.: stage direction; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases; York: The York Corpus Christi Plays, ed. Davidson (2011).

The biblical source of the Noah play is Genesis 6–8; Genesis 9 includes God’s post-flood blessing and injunction to procreate, along with the sign of the rainbow as divine promise never again to destroy the earth in this way, none of which is included in the play. Genesis 9 also focuses specifically, even exclusively, on Noah and his sons, much as per the manuscript title of the play (see the note to before 1, below), whereas the previous three chapters refer to their wives as well. The play itself focuses on the belligerent relationship between Noah and his wife, who — much like her counterparts in York and Chester, but with more force and less obvious reason — refuses to board the ark. This is the first of the Towneley plays written entirely in the 13-line 'bob and wheel' stanza (arranged in the manuscript as a 9-line stanza with internal rhymes) that is associated with the putative 'Wakefield Master' — so called in part because “Wakefeld” is written beside this play’s title. However, the meaning of that inscription remains unclear.

NOTES HERE
Before 1 Processus Noe cum filiis. Wakefeld. Underneath this title, in red, is a red paragraph sign, followed by a heavy black line written over an erasure. As at the beginning of the manuscript, the relation of the name “Wakefeld” to the rest of the title is unclear; it could relate to what is now erased (also originally in red). Nor does the reference to “Noah with his Sons” reflect the emphasis of the play on Noah’s wife more than on his sons, named in the text as “Sem, Japhet, and Came” (line 206) but — like their wives — differentiated in speech headings only by number.

66 Oyle of mercy. According to a legend derived from sources such as the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus (see for instance Hulme, Middle-English Harrowing of Hell, pp. 100–02, lines 1249–80), Adam sends his son Seth to Paradise to retrieve a few drops of the oil of the Tree of Mercy to relieve the pain of death, but Seth is told that he will have to wait until the end of times; in some versions (see Hulme, p. l) he returns instead with seeds from the Tree of Life, which grow into a tree, ultimately producing wood for the Ark, for Moses’ rod that opened the way to cross the Red Sea, and for Jesus’ cross.

75–77 Som in pride . . . . and lechery. These lines name the traditional seven deadly sins, which are dealt with more fully in the Judgment play; see especially 27.443-46 and note.

79–82 Therfor I drede . . . . without any repentance. SC read these lines as meaning “Therefore I dread that God will take vengeance on us [who] are now ruined because of sin without repentance” (SC p. 448n79–82; see MED alod (pred. adj.), citing this instance); however, the lines can be read simply as stating a fear that God will take vengeance on all because sin is now, generally, unrepentantly sanctioned or commended — that is, allowed (see MED allouen (v.)).

83 Sex hundreth yeris and od. According to Genesis 7:6, Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood itself; in the York plays, Noah refers to his having taken a century to build the ark (York 9.133–34), suggesting that he started this work around the time that his sons were born (see Genesis 5:31).

157 Hym to mekill wyn. That is, to increase his joy, or to his great joy (or profit).

180 Thre hundreth cubettys. A cubit, an ancient and biblical rather than medieval measurement, was roughly the length of a human forearm; the ark ‘built’ in performance would have been far smaller in its dimensions, and likely prefabricated for swift assembly (see note to line 362 below).

188 Thre chese chambres. That is, three tiered rooms, or three stories, following Genesis 6:16; see also line 406, and OED chess (n.2).

192–95 Make in thi ship . . . . ther must be. This passage goes beyond the biblical description of the ark (see Genesis 6:14–16) in its specification of interior details including “parloures,” or private chambers, and “houses of offyce” — a term that normally refers to latrines, or storehouses, but which in this context likely means stables (as glossed by SC p. 683) for the “beestys.”

219 Of ich kynd beestys two. See Genesis 6:20; Genesis 7:2–3 specifies taking aboard seven pairs of all ritually clean (and thus edible) animals, and of all birds, and two of everything else.

273, s.d. Tunc perget ad uxorem. Noah’s wife is unnamed and barely mentioned in the biblical account, but is often treated in medieval sources (including Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale) as the archetypal shrewish wife.

290 Stafford blew. “Stafford blue” is a type of blue cloth, but here punningly signifies bruising from a beating with a staff.

300 We women. The wife here addresses the women in the audience (see lines 567–68), but perhaps also her sons’ wives, who speak in lines 512–22.

303 That lowsyd me of my bandys. During the conventional month-long 'lying in' following birth, also known as “our Lady’s bands,” sexual and other activity was not permitted, making this at least potentially a time of rest and social pleasure, in the exclusive company of women.

315 By my thryft. That is, by my luck, or, as I hope to prosper — a common oath.

318 Gill. Gill (or Jill) may be the wife’s name (see also the second Shepherds play, where it is the name of Mak’s wife), but is also a contemptuous nickname for a woman, and homonymous with the word for guile or deceit (see MED gile (n.3)). The language that follows clearly indicates a physical fight.

322–23 I shal not in thi det / Flyt of this flett. That is, she will not lose this fight. The following lines indicate further physical action: reference to a “languet,” a thong used to tie up men’s hose (MED langet (n.), sense c), could mean that she kicks him with her shoe or that she hits him with something else — “languet” (literally “little tongue” in French) can also refer to the projecting sides of a spade (see OED languet (n.), etymology and sense 2b).

329 Godys pyne. That is, anachronistically, Christ’s passion or suffering.

359–60 I may sit downe daw / To ken. “To sit down” here means “to put up with,” while a “daw” is a fool or, in this context, a sluggard, and “to ken” means “to make known” — hence, “I may have to put up with being known as a lazy fool.”

362 wrightry. In the York pageant of the building of the ark, produced by York’s Shipwrights, Noah’s professed ignorance of “shippecraft” (York 8.67) is followed swiftly by a fairly detailed technical description of his work and tools. The ark itself, however, was likely prefabricated, as suggested here by Noah’s measurement of the length, breadth, and height of the ark (lines 373–77) even before he casts off his gown to begin work (lines 378–79).

363–64 In nomine patris, et filii, / Et spiritus sancti. Amen. Noah’s anachronistic use of the Trinitarian formula, adopted from Matthew 28:19, emphasizes the concept of the Trinity as pre-existing the birth of Jesus; see also 1.5–6, and 15.185–90.

391–93 The top . . . . and the castell. The “top” is a platform on a mast; the “castle” is any tall structure on the deck.

430–31 garn on the reyll / Other. Noah refers to having other plans than fleeing alone, as his wife has just suggested (lines 428–29), but his spinning metaphor is apt. Noah’s wife will later be seen spinning actual yarn with a spindle and reel (see lines 488–90 and 528–29), and is likely holding if not already using her distaff (or “rok,” line 490) which holds the unspun fibers. The distaff is also a traditional symbol of Eve.

464 Brether, sam. The word “sam” could be parsed here either as an adverb (“Brothers together” — see line 457: “Trus sam”) or as an imperative verb (“Brothers, come together”).

491 Well were he myght get me. That is, one would have to be lucky to catch me.

499–500 the planettys seven / Left has thare stall. Even the planets in the heavens (see 1.50–51) have left their position (orbiting around the earth) under the power of this flood from heaven.

505–06 Full sharp ar thise showers / That renys aboute. SC (p. 708) gloss showers here as “attack (of pain), pant” (see MED shour (n.), sense 4), which is possible, although the more usual meaning, of rain showers, seems more likely here (but see 9.140 and 26.401).

510 go cloute thi shone. Proverbial. See Whiting S259.

527 Set I not a pyn. I do not set the value (of the gain or loss of your fellowship) as high as that of a pin — that is, our relationship is worthless. Proverbial. See Whiting P212.

528–530 This spyndill will . . . . styr oone fote. The wife asserts that she will wind the spun yarn off the spindle, and onto the reel, before she leaves the hill.

531 Peter, I traw we dote. By Saint Peter, I think that we are — or that she is — acting foolishly.

543–44 I will not . . . Go from doore to mydyng. That is, I will not take a single step at your bidding. The term “midden” can refer either to an outdoor toilet or to a dump for kitchen refuse (see MED midding (n.) and OED midden (n.)).

554 Wat Wynk. This mocking alliterative nickname (compare “Nicholl Nedy” at line 585) could be translated as “Sleepy Walt” (“Wat” being a short form of Walter; see also MED winke (n.)).

562–65 Might I onys . . . . penny doyll. That is, if only I could be a widow, I would happily pay to have mass said on behalf of your soul; see the note to 9.361–64.

567 on this sole. The word sole here could refer to any level site, as glossed by SC (p. 710; see MED sole (n.), sense 2d, citing this line but with a question mark); however, it likely refers to the floor or foundation of a building (OED sole (n.1), sense 3a, also citing this line), suggesting indoor performance.

585 Nicholl Nedy. See note to line 554, above.

587 Begynnar of blunder. The phrase alludes to Eve; see the note to lines 430–31 above.

603 Thise ar so hidus. A word may be missing here. SC emend the line to read “Thise [weders] ar so hidus,” (p. 42) citing a similar line in the second Shepherds play (9.83).

611 the seven starnes. While the planets (including the sun and moon; see lines 499–500 as well as 1.50–51 and note) were sometimes referred to as the “seven stars” (as glossed by SC p. 713, starne), the likely reference here is to the Pleiades constellation, also known as the Seven Sisters, and used for nighttime navigation.

636–37 This travell I expownd / Had I to tyne. That is, this effort is wasted.

661 Thre hundreth dayes and fyfty. According to the biblical account, the flood began “in the second month, in the seventeenth day of the month” (Genesis 7:11) and, including the forty days of rain, lasted just over a year: “In the second month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried” (Genesis 8:14). See also the note to lines 690–91, below.

666 Now long shall thou hufe. SC emend to “How long shall thou hufe?” (p. 44). However, the next lines imply that Noah uses an oar to sound the depth, in which case the wife may simply be telling him that, unless he uses a line as she suggests (line 667), he can expect to be there for a while due to the (presumed) depth of the water.

674 hyllys of Armonye. Genesis 8:4 refers in Hebrew to the mountains of Ararat, which the Vulgate translates as “montes Armeniae.”

690–91 For this is the fyrst day / Of the tent moyne. According to Genesis 8:5–6, the tops of mountains appear “in the tenth month, the first day of the month,” but the raven is sent out much later, “after that forty days were passed,” where here it apparently happens immediately.

700 Dowfys, oone or two. In the biblical account, Noah sends out a single dove, but three times, at seven-day intervals: the dove returns with an olive branch in its beak only the second time (Genesis 8:11), and fails to return from the third flight. Reference here to more than one dove appears to be an accommodation of rhyme; subsequent lines (729–45) refer only to one, specifically female dove — likely a prop, as stage directions make clear for some plays, including the Chester Noah pageant (see Chester, Appendix IA, 1:464), although both live and artificial birds could be used in some cases (see Meredith and Tailby, The Staging of Religious Drama, pp. 118–19).

735–36 She bryngys in her bill / Som novels new. “Novels” means “news” or “novelties;” the olive branch is not merely something new in itself, but signifies or announces a new beginning.


Play 3, NOAH: TEXTUAL NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: EP: The Towneley Plays, ed. England and Pollard (EETS, 1897); Facs: The Towneley Cycle: A Facsimile of Huntington MS HM 1, ed. Cawley and Stevens; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MS: Huntington MS HM 1 (base text); SC: The Towneley Plays, ed. Stevens and Cawley (EETS, 1994); s.d.: stage direction; Surtees: The Towneley Mysteries, ed. Raine; York: The York Corpus Christi Plays, ed. Davidson (2011).

Before 1 Processus Noe cum filiis. Wakefeld. MS: below this is a red paragraph mark followed by a black line over an erasure — see Explanatory Note.

51–59 feynd . . . . glotony . . . . securly . . . . full . . . . for. MS: a space has been left before each of these words due to an imperfection in the vellum affecting the odd-numbered lines.

62 and. So SC. MS: in.

101 And kepe me from syn. MS: Ioh written in a later hand in the margin beside this line, and crossed out.

188 chese. So EP, SC (as per line 406: Thre ches chambre). MS: chefe.

265 My wife will. So Surtees, EP, SC. MS: My will.

436 He has for oure seyll. A word may be missing after has. SC add behete (“promised”), citing a similar construction at line 622.

586 thee. MS: inserted above the line.

603 This ar so hidus. See Explanatory Note.

640 fyfteyn. So EP. MS: xv.

661 Thre hundreth. So EP. MS: CCC.

666 How. So SC. MS: Now.

 
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Processus Noe cum filiis. Wakefeld 1

Myghtfull God veray,
Maker of all that is,
Thre persons, withoutten nay,
Oone God in endles blis,
Thou maide both nyght and day,
Beest, fowle, and fysh;
All creatures that lif may
Wroght thou at thi wish
As thou wel myght.
The son, the moyne, verament,
Thou maide the firmament,
The sternes also full fervent
To shyne thou maide ful bright.

Angels thou maide ful even,
All orders that is,
To have the blis in heven;
This did thou more and les,
Full mervelus to neven.
Yit was ther unkyndnes
More bi foldys seven
Then I can well expres,
Forwhi
Of all angels in brightnes
God gaf Lucifer most lightnes,
Yit prowdly he flyt his des,
And set hym even Hym by. 2

He thoght hymself as worthi
As Hym that hym made,
In brightnes, in bewty.
Therfor He hym degrade,
Put hym in a low degré
Soyn after, in a brade,
Hym and all his menye,
Wher he may be unglad.
Forever
Shall thay never wyn away
Hence unto domysday,
Bot burne in bayle for ay,
Shall thay never dyssever.

Soyne after, that gracyous lord
To his liknes maide man,
That place to be restord
Even as he began.
Of the Trinité bi accord
Adam and Eve that woman,
To multiplie without discord,
In Paradise put he thaym,
And sithen to both
Gaf in commaundement
On the Tre of Life to lay no hend,
Bot yit the fals feynd
Made hym with man wroth,

Entysyd man to glotony,
Styrd him to syn in pride.
Bot in Paradise securly
Myght no syn abide,
And therfor man full hastely
Was put out in that tyde
In wo and wandreth for to be
In paynes full unrid
To knowe.
Fyrst in erth and sythen in hell
With feyndys for to dwell,
Bot he his mercy mell
To those that will hym trawe.

Oyle of mercy he hus hight,
As I have hard red,
To every lifyng wight
That wold luf hym and dred;
Bot now before his sight
Every liffyng leyde
Most party day and nyght
Syn in word and dede
Full bold,
Som in pride, ire, and envy,
Som in covetous and glotyny,
Som in sloth and lechery,
And otherwise manyfold.

Therfor I drede lest God
On us will take veniance,
For syn is now alod
Without any repentance.
Sex hundreth yeris and od
Have I, without distance,
In erth as any sod
Liffyd with grete grevance
Allway,
And now I wax old,
Seke, sory, and cold,
As muk apon mold
I widder away.

Bot yit will I cry
For mercy, and call:
Noe, thi servant am I,
Lord over all;
Therfor me and my fry
Shal with me fall
Save from velany,
And bryng to thi hall
In heven,
And kepe me from syn
This warld within.
Comly kyng of mankyn,
I pray thee, here my stevyn.

Syn I have maide all thyng
That is liffand,
Duke, emperour and kyng
With myne awne hand,
For to have thare likyng
Bi see and bi sand,
Every man to my bydyng
Shuld be bowand
Full fervent
That maide man sich a creatoure,
Farest of favoure,
Man must luf me paramoure
By reson, and repent.

Me thoght I shewed man luf
When I made hym to be
All angels abuf,
Like to the Trynyté,
And now in grete reprufe.
Full low ligys he,
In erth hymself to stuf
With syn that displeasse me
Most of all.
Veniance will I take
In erth for syn sake,
My grame thus will I wake
Both of grete and small.

I repente full sore
That ever maide I man;
Bi me he settys no store
And I am his soferan.
I will distroy therfor
Both beest, man, and woman;
All shall perish, les and more.
That bargan may thay ban
That ill has done.
In erth I se right noght
Bot syn that is unsoght;
Of those that well has wroght
Fynd I bot a fone.

Therfor shall I fordo
All this medill erd
With floodys that shall flo
And ryn with hidous rerd.
I have good cause therto,
For me no man is ferd.
As I say shal I do:
Of veniance draw my swerd
And make end
Of all that beris life,
Sayf Noe and his wife,
For thay wold never stryfe
With me then me offend.

Hym to mekill wyn,
Hastly will I go
To Noe my servand, or I blyn,
To warn hym of his wo.
In erth I se bot syn
Reynand to and fro
Emang both more and myn,
Ichon other fo
With all thare entent.
All shall I fordo
With floodys that shall floo;
Wirk shall I thaym wo
That will not repent.

Noe, my freend, I thee commaund
From cares thee to keyle,
A ship that thou ordand
Of nayle and bord ful wele.
Thou was alway well wirkand,
To me trew as stele,
To my bydyng obediand;
Frendship shal thou fele
To mede.
Of lennthe thi ship be
Thre hundreth cubettys, warn I thee,
Of heght even thrirté
Of fyfty als in brede.

Anoynt thi ship with pik and tar
Without and als within,
The water out to spar;
This is a noble gyn.
Look no man thee mar.
Thre chese chambres begyn;
Thou must spend many a spar
This wark or thou wyn
To end fully.
Make in thi ship also
Parloures, oone or two,
And houses of offyce mo
For beestys that ther must be.

Oone cubite on hight
A wyndo shal thou make,
On the syde a doore, with slyght,
Beneyth shal thou take.
With thee shal no man fyght,
Nor do thee no kyn wrake.
When all is doyne thus right,
Thi wife that is thi make
Take in to thee;
Thi sonnes of good fame,
Sem, Japhet, and Came,
Take in also hame,
Thare wifys also thre.

For all shal be fordone
That lif in land bot ye
With floodys that from abone
Shal fall, and that plenté.
It shall begyn full sone
To rayn uncessantlé
After dayes seven be done,
And induyr dayes fourty
Withoutten fayll.
Take to thi ship also
Of ich kynd beestys two,
Mayll and femayll, bot no mo
Or thou pull up thi sayll.

For thay may thee avayll
When al this thyng is wroght,
Stuf thi ship with vitayll,
For hungre that ye perish noght,
Of beestys, foull, and catayll,
For thaym have thou in thoght.
For thaym is my counsayll
That som socour be soght,
In hast:
Thay must have corn and hay
And oder mete always.
Do now as I thee say,
In the name of the Holy Gast.

A, benedicité!
What art thou that thus
Tellys afore that shall be?
Thou art full mervelus.
Tell me for charité
Thi name so gracius.
My name is of dignyté
And also full glorius
To knowe:
I am God most myghty,
Oone God in Trynyty
Made thee and ich man to be;
To luf me well thou awe.

I thank thee, Lord so dere,
That wold vowchsayf
Thus low to appere
To a symple knafe.
Blis us, Lord, here,
For charité I hit crafe,
The better may we stere
The ship that we shall hafe,
Certayn.
Noe, to thee and to thi fry
My blyssyng graunt I.
Ye shall wax and multiply
And fill the erth agane

When all thise floodys ar past
And fully gone away.
Lord, homward will I hast
As fast as that I may.
My wife will I frast
What she will say,
And I am agast
That we get som fray
Betwixt us both,
For she is full tethee,
For litill oft angré;
If anythyng wrang be
Soyne is she wroth.

Tunc perget ad uxorem: 3

God spede, dere wife,
How fayre ye?
Now as ever myght I thryfe
The wars I thee see.
Do tell me, belife,
Where has thou thus long be?
To dede may we dryfe
Or lif, for thee,
For want.
When we swete or swynk
Thou dos what thou thynk,
Yit of mete and of drynk
Have we veray skant.

Wife, we ar hard sted
With tythyngys new.
Bot thou were worthi be cled
In Stafford blew,
For thou art alway adred,
Be it fals or trew.
Bot God knowes I am led,
And that may I rew,
Full ill.
For I dar be thi borow
From even unto morow;
Thou spekys ever of sorow —
God send thee onys thi fill.

We women may wary
All ill husbandys.
I have oone, bi Mary,
That lowsyd me of my bandys. 4
If he teyn I must tary,
Howsoever it standys,
With seymland full sory,
Wryngand both my handys
For drede;
Bot yit otherwhile,
What with gam and with gyle,
I shall smyte and smyle
And qwite hym his mede.

Wé, hold thi tong, ramskyt,
Or I shall thee still.
By my thryft, if thou smyte
I shal turne thee untill.
We shall assay as tyte.
Have at thee, Gill!
Apon the bone shal it byte.
A, so, Mary — thou smytys ill!
Bot I suppose
I shal not in thi det
Flyt of this flett.
Take thee ther a langett
To tye up thi hose.

A, wilt thou so?
Mary, that is myne.
Thou shal thre for two,
I swere bi Godys pyne,
And I shall qwyte thee tho
In fayth or syne.
Out apon thee, ho!
Thou can both byte and whyne
With a rerd.
For all if she stryke,
Yit fast will she skryke.
In fayth I hold none slyke
In all medill erd.

Bot I will kepe charyté
For I have at do.
Here shal no man tary thee;
I pray thee, go to.
Full well may we mys thee,
As ever have I ro;
To spyn will I dres me.
Wé, farewell, lo.
Bot wife,
Pray for me beselé
To eft I com unto thee.
Even as thou prays for me,
As ever myght I thrife.

I tary full lang
Fro my warke, I traw.
Now my gere will I fang
And thederward draw;
I may full ill gang,
The soth for to knaw;
Bot if God help amang
I may sit downe daw
To ken. 5
Now assay will I
How I can of wrightry,
In nomine patris, et filii,
Et spiritus sancti. Amen. 6

To begyn, of this tree
My bonys will I bend.
I traw from the Trynyté
Socoure will be send.
It fayres full fayre, thynk me,
This wark to my hend.
Now blissid be he
That this can amend.
Lo, here the lenght,
Thre hundreth cubettys evenly;
Of breed, lo, is it fyfty;
The heght is even thyrty
Cubettys full strenght.

Now my gowne will I cast
And wyrk in my cote.
Make will I the mast
Or I flyt oone foote.
A, my bak I traw will brast!
This is a sory note.
Hit is wonder that I last,
Sich an old dote,
All dold,
To begyn sich a wark.
My bonys ar so stark,
No wonder if thay wark,
For I am full old.

The top and the sayll
Both will I make;
The helme and the castell
Also will I take.
To drife ich a nayll
Will I not forsake
This gere may never fayll,
That dar I undertake
Onone.
This is a nobull gyn:
Thise nayles so thay ryn
Thoro more and myn
Thise bordys ichon.

Wyndow and doore
Even as he saide;
Thre ches chambre,
Thay ar well maide,
Pyk and tar full sure
Ther apon laide.
This will ever endure,
Therof am I paide,
Forwhy
It is better wroght
Then I coude haif thoght.
Hym that maide all of noght
I thank oonly.

Now will I hy me,
And nothyng be leder,
My wife and my meneye
To bryng even heder.
Tent hedir tydely,
Wife, and consider:
Hens must us fle,
All sam togeder,
In hast.
Whi, syr, what alis you?
Who is that asalis you?
To fle it avalis you
And ye be agast.

Ther is garn on the reyll
Other, my dame.
Tell me that ich a deyll,
Els get ye blame.
He that cares may keill,
Blissid be his name;
He has for oure seyll
To sheld us fro shame,
And sayd
All this warld aboute
With floodys so stoute,
That shall ryn on a route,
Shall be overlaide.

He saide all shall be slayn
Bot oonely we,
Oure barnes that ar bayn,
And thare wifys thre.
A ship he bad me ordayn
To safe us and oure fee;
Therfor with all oure mayn
Thank we that fre,
Beytter of bayll.
Hy us fast; go we thedir.
I wote never whedir;
I dase and I dedir
For ferd of that tayll.

Be not aferd; have done.
Trus sam oure gere
That we be ther or none
Without more dere.
It shall be done full sone;
Brether, help to bere.
Full long shall I not hoyne
To do my devere.
Brether, sam.
Without any yelp,
At my myght shall I help.
Yit for drede of a skelp,
Help well thi dam.

Now ar we there
As we shuld be.
Do get in oure gere,
Oure catall and fe,
In to this vessell here,
My chylder fre.
I was never bard ere,
As ever myght I thé,
In sich an oostré as this.
In fath I cannot fynd
Which is before, which is behynd.
Bot shall we here be pynd,
Noe, as have thou blis?

Dame, as it is skill,
Here must us abide grace.
Therfor, wife, with good will
Com into this place.
Sir, for Jak nor for Gill
Will I turne my face
Till I have on this hill
Spon a space
On my rok.
Well were he myght get me.
Now will I downe set me;
Yit reede I no man let me
For drede of a knok.

Behold to the heven:
The cateractes all,
Thai ar open full even,
Grete and small,
And the planettys seven
Left has thare stall.
Thise thoners and levyn
Downe gar fall
Full stout
Both halles and bowers,
Castels and towres.
Full sharp ar thise showers
That renys aboute.

Therfor, wife, have done;
Com into ship fast.
Yei, Noe, go cloute thi shone;
The better will thai last.
Good moder, com in sone,
For all is overcast,
Both the son and the mone.
And many wynd blast
Full sharp
Thise floodys so thay ryn.
Therfor, moder, come in.
In fayth, yit will I spyn;
All in vayn ye carp.

If ye like ye may spyn,
Moder, in the ship.
Now is this twyys com in,
Dame, on my frenship.
Wheder I lose or I wyn,
In fayth, thi felowship
Set I not at a pyn.
This spyndill will I slip
Apon this hill
Or I styr oone fote.
Peter, I traw we dote.
Without any more note,
Com in, if ye will.

Yei, water nyghys so nere
That I sit not dry;
Into ship with a byr,
Therfor, will I hy,
For drede that I drone here.
Dame, securly,
It bees boght full dere
Ye abode so long by
Out of ship.
I will not for thi bydyng
Go from doore to mydyng.
In fayth, and for youre long taryyng
Ye shal lik on the whyp.

Spare me not, I pray thee,
Bot even as thou thynk
Thise grete wordys shall not flay me.
Abide, dame, and drynk,
For betyn shall thou be
With this staf to thou stynk.
Ar strokys good? say me.
What say ye, Wat Wynk?
Speke!
Cry me mercy, I say.
Therto say I nay.
Bot thou do, bi this day,
Thi hede shall I breke.

Lord, I were at ese
And hertely full hoylle,
Might I onys have a measse
Of wedows coyll.
For thi saull, without lese,
Shuld I dele penny doyll.
So wold mo, no frese,
That I se on this sole
Of wifys that ar here,
For the life that thay leyd,
Wold thare husbandys were dede;
For as ever ete I brede,
So wold I oure syre were.

Yee men that has wifys,
Whyls they ar yong,
If ye luf youre lifys,
Chastice thare tong.
Me thynk my hert ryfys,
Both levyr and long,
To se sich stryfys
Wedmen emong;
Bot I,
As have I blys,
Shall chastyse this.
Yit may ye mys,
Nicholl Nedy.

I shall make thee still as stone,
Begynnar of blunder.
I shall bete thee, bak and bone,
And breke all in sonder.
Out, alas! I am gone.
Oute apon thee, mans wonder!
Se how she can grone
And I lig under.
Bot wife,
In this hast let us ho,
For my bak is nere in two.
And I am bet so blo
That I may not thryfe.

A, whi fare ye thus,
Fader and moder both?
Ye shuld not be so spitus,
Standyng in sich a woth.
Thise ar so hidus
With many a cold coth.
We will do as ye bid us.
We will no more be wroth,
Dere barnes.
Now to the helme will I hent
And to my ship tent.
I se on the firmament,
Me thynk, the seven starnes.

This is a grete flood;
Wife, take hede.
So me thoght as I stode,
We ar in grete drede,
Thise wawghes ar so wode.
Help, God, in this nede.
As thou art stereman good,
And best, as I rede,
Of all,
Thou rewle us in this rase,
As thou me behete hase.
This is a perlous case;
Help, God, when we call!

Wife, tent the stere-tre
And I shall asay
The depnes of the see
That we bere, if I may.
That shall I do ful wysely.
Now go thi way,
For apon this flood have we
Flett many day
With pyne.
Now the water will I sownd:
A, it is far to the grownd.
This travell I expownd
Had I to tyne.

Above all hillys bedeyn
The water is rysen late
Cubettys fyfteyn,
Bot in a highter state
It may not be, I weyn.
For this well I wate:
This fourty dayes has rayn beyn;
It will therfor abate,
Full lele.
This water in hast
Eft will I tast.
Now am I agast;
It is wanyd a grete dele.

Now ar the weders cest
And cateractes knyt, 7
Both the most and the leest.
Methynk bi my wit
The son shynes in the eest;
Lo, is not yond it?
We shuld have a good feest
Were thise floodys flyt,
So spytus.
We have been here, all we,
Thre hundreth dayes and fyfty.
Yei, now wanys the see.
Lord, well is us.

The thryd tyme will I prufe
What depnes we bere.
How long shall thou hufe;
Lay in thy lyne there.
I may towch with my lufe
The grownd evyn here.
Then begynnys to grufe
To us mery chere.
Bot husband,
What grownd may this be?
The hyllys of Armonye.
Now blissid be he
That thus for us can ordand.

I see toppys of hyllys he,
Many at a syght;
No thyng to let me,
The wedir is so bright.
Thise ar of mercy
Tokyns full right.
Dame, thi counsell me:
What fowll best myght
And cowth
With flight of wyng
Bryng, without taryying,
Of mercy som tokynyng,
Ayther bi north or southe?

For this is the fyrst day
Of the tent moyne.
The ravyn, durst I lay,
Will com agane sone;
As fast as thou may,
Cast hym furth, have done.
He may happyn today
Com agane or none
With grath.
I will cast out also
Dowfys, oone or two;
Go youre way, go.
God send you som wathe.

Now ar thise fowles flone
Into seyr countré.
Pray we fast ichon,
Kneland on oure kne,
To hym that is alone
Worthiest of degré,
That he wold send anone
Oure fowles som fee
To glad us.
Thai may not fayll of land;
The water is so wanand.
Thank we God all-weldand,
That Lord that made us.

It is a wonder thyng,
Me thynk, sothlé
Thai ar so long taryyng,
The fowles that we
Cast out in the mornyng.
Syr, it may be
Thai tary to thay bryng. 8
The ravyn is a hungrye
Allway;
He is without any reson,
And he fynd any caryon,
As peraventure may befon,
He will not away.

The dowfe is more gentill;
Her trust I untew,
Like unto the turtill,
For she is ay trew.
Hence bot a litill
She commys — lew, lew!
She bryngys in her bill
Som novels new.
Behald,
It is of an olif tre,
A branch, thynkys me.
It is soth, perdé,
Right so is it cald.

Doufe, byrd full blist,
Fayre myght thee befall.
Thou art trew for to trist
As ston in the wall.
Full well I it wist
Thou wold com to thi hall.
A trew tokyn ist
We shall be savyd all,
Forwhi
The water, syn she com,
Of depnes plom
Is fallen a fathom
And more, hardely.

Thise floodys ar gone,
Fader, behold!
Ther is left right none
And that be ye bold.
As still as a stone
Oure ship is stold.
Apon land here anone
That we were, fayn I wold.
My childer dere,
Sem, Japhet, and Cam,
With gle and with gam
Com, go we all sam;
We will no longer abide here.

Here have we beyn,
Noy, long enogh
With tray and with teyn
And dreed mekill wogh.
Behald on this greyn:
Nowder cart ne plogh
Is left, as I weyn;
Nowder tre then bogh
Ne other thyng,
Bot all is away.
Many castels, I say,
Grete townes of aray,
Flitt has this flowyng.

Thise floodys not afright
All this warld so wide
Has mevid with myght
On se and bi side.
To dede ar thai dyght,
Prowdist of pryde,
Everich a wyght
That ever was spyde
With syn;
All ar thai slayn
And put unto payn.
From thens agayn
May thai never wyn.

Wyn? No, iwis,
Bot he that myght hase
Wold myn of thare mys
And admytte thaym to grace.
As he in bayll is blis,
I pray hym in this space,
In heven hye with his,
To purvaye us a place
That we,
With his santys in sight
And his angels bright,
May com to his light.
Amen, for charité.

Explicit processus Noe; sequitur Abraham. 9










(see note); (t-note)

true

without a doubt

made

live
Wrought

sun; moon; truly
heavens
stars; glowing






marvelous to mention
unkindness
seven-fold

Because







beauty


soon; torment
companions


escape
until doomsday
torment forever
depart

soon






them
then
gave
hands
false fiend; (t-note)
angry

Enticed; gluttony
Stirred
But; truly


time
misery
pains; severe

earth; afterwards; (t-note)
devils
Unless; deals out
trust

promises to us; (see note)
heard said
living creature
love; dread

living person
For the most part
Sin

(see note)


in many other ways

(see note)
vengeance


and a few; (see note)
without dispute

Lived; great grievance
Always
grow
Sick; sorry
muck; earth
wither



Noah

children

villainy


(t-note)


hear my voice


living





obedient



passionately




above

reproof
lies
glutting himself




anger





sovereign








few

destroy
middle-earth
flow
run; hideous noise

afraid




Except

nor

much joy; (see note)

before I cease


Prevailing here and there
Among
Each one the other’s foe







preserve
made

working



reward
length
(see note)

breadth

pitch; tar

keep
contrivance
damage
tiered; (see note); (t-note)
use; piece of timber
work before

(see note)

many


in
window
skill


no kind of injury

mate



home


destroyed

above


incessantly

endure


(see note)



aid

supplies

fowl; cattle





other food














each
ought


deign

servant

crave

have

descendants








ask; (t-note)

terrified
disturbance

bad-tempered
little



(see note)

assist [you]

thrive
worse
immediately




sweat or toil


real scarcity

beset

to be clad
blue; (see note)
afraid

overruled


I’ll be bound


at once

curse; (see note)


(see note)
annoys; tarry

demeanor


sometimes


give; reward

sheep-shit
make quiet
strike; (see note)

quickly
(see note)

smite

debt; (see note)
Leave this place
thong





suffering; (see note)

before long


roar

shriek
no such other



things to do
hinder


peace
prepare myself


diligently
Until again





get




(see note)


construction; (see note)
(see note)







hands




breadth




coat

move
break


fool
dull
work
stiff
ache


(see note)



each nail


assert
Immediately
excellent contrivance
run
through; less
boards; each one



tiered rooms




content
Because





hurry
If; sluggish
family
here
Pay attention; quickly

Hence
together

ails; [fol. 10v]
assails
avails
If

yarn; [other] reel; (see note)

every part

may relieve worries

good fortune; (t-note)




run together
covered



children; obedient

build
possessions
might
noble [one]
Healer of ills

whither
am confused; tremble
fear


Bundle together
before noon
mischief

brothers
delay
duty
together; (see note)
boast

slap





cattle; possessions

noble children
confined before
thrive
hostelry


penned


reasonable






Spun a while
distaff
(see note)

advise; prevent
blow


floodgates


(see note)
station
thunderbolts and lightning
cause [to]
Fiercely

(see note)

run



patch your shoes (mind your own business); (see note)

mother




run


chatter



twice
friendship


(see note)
spindle; (see note)

Before
(see note)



comes

rush
hurry
drown
surely



(see note)
dungheap

have a taste of



frighten

beaten
until you fart
tell
(see note)







heartily; whole
once; serving; (see note)
widow’s pottage

mass penny
more, no doubt
site; (see note)







while

tongues
breaks
liver and lung

Among those wedded




Needy; (see note)

(t-note)
(see note)

apart

you monster

lie

violence; stop

beaten; blue




spiteful
danger
hideous; (see note); (t-note)
pestilence


children
take hold
pay attention
in the heavens
stars; (see note)




dread
waves; furious

pilot


rule; current
have promised
perilous


attend to the helm
test
deepness




Floated
suffering
sound [the depth of]

labor; (see note)
waste

together
recently
(t-note)
higher
suppose
know


truly

Again; test

has waned








removed
vexing

(see note); (t-note)
wanes


prove
deepness; [fol. 12r]
linger; (see note); (t-note)

oar

grow



Armenia; (see note)



high

hinder
weather


therefore

could


token


(see note)
tenth month
I dare wager


forth
happen [to]
before noon
speed

doves; (see note)

booty

flown
different lands




soon
gift


waning
almighty



truthfully








carrion
perhaps; befall



unto
turtledove
always


(see note)
novelties

olive

truly


blessed

as trustworthy

knew



Because

straight down






[of] that you may be sure

stalled

glad



together



Noah
grief; harm
much dreadful suffering
green
Neither
suppose





Removed

undeterred

moved
sea; shore
They are put to death

Every creature
observed



this place
escape


have
remember their loss

misery


prepare

saints






Go To 4. Abraham