22. The Harrowing of Hell

Play 22, THE HARROWING OF HELL: FOOTNOTES


1 Here begins the deliverance of souls etc.

2 Lines 43–44: Love that Lord with joy / who would sell his life for us

3 And they should all sing “Savior of the World,” verse one (see note)

4 Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of Glory shall enter in (Psalm 23/24:7)

5 And [you] know that he won Lazarus away from you

6 Lift up your gates, princes, etc.

7 He would destroy us even if there were more of us

8 Lines 402–03: Do not leave my soul, Lord, in hell (Psalm 15/16:10)

9 Here ends the deliverance of souls from hell


Play 22, THE HARROWING OF HELL: 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 story of Jesus’ descent into hell and deliverance of all righteous souls, commonly known as the harrowing (robbing or despoiling) of hell, is ultimately based on 1 Peter 3:18–20 as elaborated in the apocryphal but highly popular Gospel of Nicodemus. A Middle English poetic version of this work was a direct source for the York Saddlers’ pageant (see Craigie, “The Gospel of Nicodemus and the York Mystery Plays”), from which the Towneley version is derived, the York borrowings being recognizable by the 12-line “Northern Septenar” stanza — a common stanza form in York, also used in the Pharaoh and Doctors pageants borrowed here (plays 6 and 14).


Before 1 Incipit extraccio animarum etc. The play’s explicit clarifies that et cetera here stands in for ab inferno — from hell. This edition, however, follows SC in assigning the more common title, the Harrowing of Hell.

7–8 In anger, pyne, and mekyll wo / I dyde on cros this day. That is, I died on the cross today in trouble, torment, and much woe (see MED anger (n.), sense 1). As Jesus has not yet been resurrected, it is his spirit that speaks here; in the N-Town Passion, the deposition and burial is framed by the two parts of the Harrowing of Hell, which is carried out by a character explicitly designated Anima Christi — the soul of Christ — who in medieval visual representations typically carries a cross-staff with a banner. It is likely that this character enters and speaks from audience level, outside the stage representing Hell (see the note to line 210 below).

10 To chalange that is myne. The verb “to challenge” is here a legal term meaning “to lay claim to” (see MED chalengen (v.), sense 4a), which cites this line.

14 Thrugh fraude of erthly fode. That is, through temptation using the forbidden fruit. The equivalent line in York redundantly reads “frewte of erthely foode” (York 37.10); as SC note (p. 593n14), “fraude” is likely the original reading.

17–20 And now . . . . gar thare gammes begyn. The “stede” that he will restore is the heavenly paradise from which the devil fell; as the next stanzas make clear, the token that he sends ahead of him into hell, to gladden the souls imprisoned there, is a bright light — a detail emphasized in the Gospel of Nicodemus 18:1 (Elliott, p. 186), with allusion to Isaiah 9:2 (see lines 47–48 and note). The plural “tokyns” is used at line 29 to refer to this light, where the equivalent line in York (37.41) refers to a singular “signe.”

27 Foure thowsand and sex hundreth yere. The Gospel of Nicodemus 19:1 calculates the time between the creation of Adam and the incarnation to be 5,500 years (Elliott, p. 186; see also Hulme, Middle-English Harrowing of Hell, p. 130, lines 1723–24); subtracting the years of Adam’s life (930, according to Genesis 5:5) and adding the thirty-odd years of Jesus’ life on earth (see line 5) gives Adam a total of 4,600 years in hell.

30 A gloryous gleme to make us glad. The repeated reference to this light (see note to lines 17–20 above) indicates that it was an important stage effect; for a discussion of such effects in medieval theater, see Butterworth, Theatre of Fire, pp. 55–78.

44, s.d. Et cantent omnes Saluater mundi, primum versum. The first verse of Salvator mundi, a hymn sung at Compline (the final office of the day) and particularly associated with Christmas in medieval and early modern England, is as follows:

Salvator mundi, Domine, Saviour of the world, Lord, Qui nos salvasti hodie, Who has saved us today, In hac nocte nos protege In this night protect us Et salva omni tempore. And save (us) for all time.

Both text and translation are from Clay, Private Prayers, pp. 282 and 41. A late stage direction in the York MS specifies singing but no particular hymn.

47–48 I spake of folke . . . on theym lende. See Isaiah 9:2, and note to lines 17–20 above.

52 to-fold it kende. Isaiah 60:1–3, much like Isaiah 9:2, refers to the arrival of the light of God to those in darkness.

57–60 I saide Lord . . . . No longer lyst I lyf in lande. See Luke 2:29–32. This famous speech is known by its incipit in the Latin Vulgate: Nunc dimittis (“Now dismiss . . .”). The episode that should include this speech is missing from the incomplete Purification play; see the headnote to play 13.

65 As a voce cryand I kend. See John 1:23 and note to 15.21–22. The equivalent line in York is more regular in rhythm: “Als voyce criand to folke I kende” (York 37.73).

77 Now this same nyght lernyng have I. / To me, Moyses, he shewid his myght. The equivalent lines in York, like some others in the play, make more sense and preserve what is likely the original alliterative pattern: “Of that same light lernyng have I; / To me, Moyses, he mustered his myght” (York 37.85–86).

78–84 To me Moyses . . . . agans that light. This transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Moses and Elijah, based on Matthew 17:1–9, is dramatized in York 23.

89 Ribald (speech heading). This character is given the speech heading of 1 Diabolus (Devil I) in the York version, but is referred to as “rebalde” in that play (York 37:99), meaning “rascal” or “villain” (see MED ribaud(e (n.), sense 2a). His speech complains of “sorrow” and a great “dyn” (lines 91–92), which is likely a demonic response to the joy with which the souls are greeting the light of Jesus; see lines 101–04.

99 Beelzebub (speech heading). This name (usually translated as “lord of the flies”) is mentioned in 2 Kings 1 as well as in the gospels (see for example Matthew 10:25–28 and 12:24–27). The character is simply designated as II Diabolus (Devil 2) in York.

102 lymbo. Limbo was the name for the outer portion of hell (the Latin term limbus meaning edge or boundary) reserved for those who died prior to the crucifixion and the benefit of Christ’s salvation.

109 Yee, though he do not, I shall. That is, if Christ does not save them from hell (lines 107–08), I shall keep them safely here, locked in limbo (the “specyall space” of line 110).

113 Astarot and Anaball. The names Astharoth and Baal (or plural Baalim) are paired in several biblical passages, including Judges 2:13, 3:7, and 10:6, and (1 Kings) 7:4 and 12:10; the name Anaball, likely related to Baal, appears to be unique to these Towneley and York plays (see York 37.113). Here both names, like those in line 115, designate subordinate devils.

115 Bell-berith and Bellyall. Baalberith is named in Judges 9:4 as a false god, while Belial, meaning “wickedness,” is contrasted with Christ in 2 Corinthians 6:15. See also York 37.115.

119 Sir Lucyfer. While mentioned here, as in York (37.119), Lucifer never actually appears; Lucifer and Satan (line 117) are often explicitly identified as one and the same.

After 120 Attollite portas principes vestras et elevamini / porte eternales et introibit rex glorie. This extrametrical Latin quotation is worked into the dialogue in York, where the line order and some speech ascriptions also differ through the next stanzas. See also the line (and note) following 188.

126 And set the waches on the wall. The action requires two levels: Ribald will later speak from up on the wall to Satan below at line 218; see also the note to line 210, below.

162 From hens or it be war. That is, Jesus will not get out of hell before things get worse for him. The equivalent line in York reads, likely in error, “Away or I be ware” (York 37.154).

170 The lath Lazare of Betany. The same phrase is used in the Conspiracy play (17.150), but differs from the parallel line in York, “Nowe late Lazar of Betannye” (York 37.162).

171–74 Bot to the Jues . . . . forward to fulfyll. Satan claims responsibility for the betrayal (see John 13:2) and the crucifixion in accordance with the “abuse of power” theory of medieval theology, which holds that Satan had rights over humanity after the fall, but not over Jesus as God; by helping to bring about the death of Jesus, Satan lost those rights. However, no other play in either York or Towneley makes reference to diabolic influence over these events.

After 188 Attollite portas principes vestras, etc. See the line following 120 (and note). As before, the extrametrical Latin quotation is integrated into a regular 12-line stanza in the York text; here and in what follows, the stanza form has been lost, resulting in apparently separate quatrains. David refers to the quotation itself (from Psalm 23:7 in the Vulgate; 24:7 in many modern translations), along with Psalm 106:16, in his next lines (lines 193–94).

190 shalbe cryde. That is, shall be proclaimed. See MED crien (v.), sense 7; see also 2.410–11 and note.

197–208 Ye prynces . . . . shall not twyn. This exchange between Jesus and the devils has no direct parallel in York.

210 Open up and let my pepill pas. This line (quoting Moses’ words to Pharaoh in Exodus 5.1; see also 6.136, spoken by God) serves as cue for stage action that sees the barrier to hell break, and the gates open, as the next lines indicate. However, Ribald evidently remains on top of the wall or battlements at line 218, indicating a two-level structure (see also note to line 126 above). In York, the stage was of course a pageant wagon, the main level of which was likely gated and barred (through which the patriarchs and devils alike are visible), but also shaped in part like a large mouth — the traditional hell-mouth found in most medieval representations of hell and of the harrowing. Jesus speaks from outside hellmouth, likely at the level of the audience.

225 To sett hym sore that is sone saide. “To set him sore” can mean either to make him sore or wretched (see line 224) or, similarly, to sorely beset him. Either way, as the second part of the line indicates, this will be easier said than done.

238 I will theym save that shall thee sow. As SC note (p. 597n238), the alliterative use of the obscure northern verb sow (see DSL sow(e (v.)), meaning to cause pain, is evidence that this line is older than York’s “Thame wolle I save, I telle thee nowe” (York 37.218).

240–42 Bot in my pryson . . . . thou wote as how. As God, Jesus claims authority even over hell; Satan has served only as warden there (see also note to lines 171–74 above).

250 He was a wright his meett to wyn. That is, he made his living as a carpenter; “to win meat” means “to earn one’s livelihood” (MED mete (n.1), sense 1a(b)).

252 The utmast ende of all thy kyn. That is, the best lineage you can claim. As the next lines indicate, he of course is wrong.

276 Thou moyttys as man dos into myre. You argue (“moot”) such as to drive people into the mire — that is, by error (“all wrang,” line 284; see MED don (v.1), sense 6a). York 37.256 reads “Thou motes his men into the myre.”

289–90 They saide that I shuld be that ilke, / In hell where I shuld intre in. The correct reading is likely that of York, which also preserves the rhyme: “Thai saide that I schulde be obitte, / To hell that I schulde entre in” (York 37.269–70) — that is, they said that I should die, that I should enter hell.

301–03 As Salamon saide . . . . os clerkys knawes. See Proverbs 2:19.

305–08 Job . . . . fynde relese in hell. See Job 7:9.

310–18 In hell shalbe no relese . . . . they shall furth weynde. In the lines that follow, Jesus draws a distinction between hell, from which no release is possible, and limbo, from which he will soon release the souls of the faithful.

321–28 Whi and will . . . . I shall thee bynde. This irregular or incomplete stanza (missing four lines), in which Satan switches suddenly from argument to supplication, has no counterpart in York.

334–36 Thou shall have Caym . . . . Judas and Architophell. On the death of Judas, see Matthew 27:5; Achitophel was a counselor to King David who hanged himself after the failure of his conspiracy with David’s son, Absolom (2 Kings 17:23). For the inclusion of Cain with this group, see the notes to 2.361–64 and 27.107–13. Suicide is considered an unforgivable sin, as it not only denies the power of God’s grace (like despair more generally; see 23.311–24 and note), but also prevents the possibility of its being granted.

337 Daton and Abaron. These two men conspired against Moses and Aaron during the Israelites’ sojourn in the wilderness, for which they and their families fall alive into hell (Numbers 16:30–33).

341–42 And all that will not lere my law / That I have left in land for new. Medieval theology considered the “new law” of Christ, as embodied primarily in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), to be the completion or fulfilment of the ‘old’ Jewish law (see in particular Matthew 5:17–18). Romans 7:6 characterizes Jewish law as “the oldness of the letter” in contrast with “the newness of spirit.”

345 red by raw. That is, correctly read or understood, with everything in order; see 14.61–62 and note.

353 Now here my hand. Satan — traditionally the Father of Lies (John 8:44) — here takes a vow, raising his hand in a traditional gesture of oath-taking.

367–68 Devill . . . where thou shall syt. While York 37.342 has “selle” (cell) rather than “sete”, the Towneley reading accords with the final word in the line. In the York text, Jesus explicitly has the Archangel Michael bind Satan (York 37.339–40; compare lines 363–64 here), prior to his sinking into the pit of hell — a lower level of hell where his seat awaits, in allusion to the heavenly throne that he once attempted to usurp (see 1.76, s.d. and note). In the Middle English Gospel of Nicodemus, Jesus himself binds Satan; see Hulme, Middle-English Harrowing of Hell, p. 112, lines 1441–44. The binding of Satan and his imprisonment in the lowest depths of hell is based on Apocalypse 20:1–3; see also the note to 27.140–41.

384 How that thi mercy makys us dere. How your mercy makes us worthy. The York text has clene (York 37.389), evidently an error for clere (likewise meaning “pure”) as necessary for the rhyme, and a better reading overall than dere, here.

386 More tornamentys to tast. See 20.675 and note.

397–400 David . . . . saide it shuld be thus. These lines, along with the rest of the stanza, are assigned to John the Baptist in York.

416 Te Deum laudamus. This hymn (“God, we praise you”), well-known in the Middle Ages due to its use at the end of the Matins service, is sung both here (as in the Chester Harrowing of Hell; see Chester 17.276 s.d.) and at the end of the Judgment play (see 27.830 and note); in York it is sung during the first play, prior to the fall of the angels.


Play 22, THE HARROWING OF HELL: 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 MS: in the top margin above the title a later hand has written Your louinge frennd Willm and below that, lyng.

1–2 My Fader me . . . for mankynde sake. MS: the first two lines are written in a formal variant of the main Anglicana hand.

22 To know I will com sone. MS: a later hand has written you in the right margin after this line.

27 Foure thowsand and sex hundreth. So EP. MS: iiij ml and vj C.

97 bynde thise boys. MS has bende oure bowes, corrected by the main scribe.

99 royes. So SC, following York 37.99 (royis). MS: rores.

168 gilory. So SC, following York 37.160 (gilery). MS: glory.

240 Bot. MS has ff (=F) crossed out before this word.

251 mynnys. So EP, SC. MS: mymnys.

254 dyn. So EP, SC. MS: dy.

260 And. Following York 37.240. MS: In, likely misreading a symbol for and.

335 hastys. So EP, SC. MS: haftys.

378 thiself. MS: in the space above this word (after line 376) a sprawling hand has written thie selfe.

382 Foure thowsand and sex hundreth. So EP. MS: iiij ml and vj hundreth.

397 Moses (speech heading). MS: just below this a later hand has written Semeon.

409 Make myrth, both more and les. MS: above this line in the top margin, vertical to the text, a later hand has written Joh, then Slo, then g, the end of each word having been cropped with the edge of the page.

 
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Jesus
Adam
Eve
Isaiah
Simeon
John the Baptist
Moses
Ribald, a devil
David
Beelzebub, a devil
Satan

Incipit extraccio animarum etc. 1

My Fader me from blys has send
Till erth for mankynde sake,
Adam mys for to amend;
My deth nede must I take.

I dwellyd ther thryrty yeres and two
And somdele more, the sothe to say;
In anger, pyne, and mekyll wo
I dyde on cros this day.

Therfor till hell now will I go
To chalange that is myne;
Adam, Eve, and othere mo,
Thay shall no longer dwell in pyne.

The feynde theym wan with trayn
Thrugh fraude of erthly fode;
I have theym boght agan
With shedyng of my blode.

And now I will that stede restore
Which the feynde fell fro for syn.
Som tokyn will I send before
With myrth to gar thare gammes begyn.

A light I will thay have,
To know I will com sone;
My body shall abyde in grave
Till all this dede be done.

My brether, herkyn unto me here:
More hope of helth never we had.
Foure thowsand and sex hundreth yere
Have we bene here in darknes stad;
Now se I tokyns of solace sere,
A gloryous gleme to make us glad,
Wherthrugh I hope that help is nere
That sone shall slake oure sorowes sad.
Adam, my husband heynd,
This menys solace certan;
Sich light can on us leynd
In paradyse full playn.

Adam, thrugh thi syn
Here were we put to dwell
This wykyd place within:
The name of it is hell;
Here paynes shall never blyn
That wykyd ar and fell.
Love that Lord with wyn
His lyfe for us wold sell. 2

Et cantent omnes “Salvator mundi,” primum versum. 3

Adam, thou well understand,
I am Isaias, so Crist me kende.
I spake of folke in darknes walkand;
I saide a light shuld on theym lende.
This light is all from Crist commande
That he till us has hedir sende;
Thus is my poynt proved in hand,
As I before to-fold it kende.

So may I tell of farlys feyll,
For in the tempyll his freyndys me fande.
Me thoght daynteth with hym to deyll,
I halsid hym homely with my hand.
I saide “Lord, let thi servandys leyll
Pas in peasse to lyf lastande;
Now that myn eeyn has sene thyn hele
No longer lyst I lyf in lande.”
This light thou has purvayde
For theym that lyf in lede;
That I before of thee have saide
I se it is fulfillyd in dede.

As a voce cryand I kend
The wayes of Crist as I well can.
I baptisid hym with both myn hende
In the water of flume Jordan;
The Holy Gost from heven discende
As a white dowfe downe on me than;
The Fader voyce, oure myrthes to amende,
Was made to me lyke as a man:
“Yond is my Son,” he saide,
“And which me pleasses full well.”
His light is on us layde
And commys oure karys to kele.

Now this same nyght lernyng have I.
To me, Moyses, he shewid his myght
And also to anothere oone, Hely,
Where we stud on a hill on hyght.
As whyte as snaw was his body;
His face was like the son for bright.
No man on mold was so myghty
Grathly durst loke agans that light,
And that same light here se I now
Shynyng on us certayn,
Wherethrugh truly I trow
That we shall sone pas from this payn.

Sen fyrst that hell was mayde
And I was put therin,
Sich sorow never ere I had,
Nor hard I sich a dyn.
My hart begynnys to brade,
My wytt waxys thyn;
I drede we cannot be glad,
Thise saules mon fro us twyn.

How, Belsabub, bynde thise boys;
Sich harow was never hard in hell.
Out, Rybald, thou royes!
What is betyd, can thou oght tell?
Whi, herys thou not this vgly noyse?
Thise lurdans that in lymbo dwell
Thay make menyng of many joyse
And muster myrthes theym emell.
Myrth? Nay, nay, that poynt is past.
More hope of helth shall thay never have.
They cry on Crist full fast,
And says he shall theym save.

Yee, though he do not, I shall,
For they ar sparyd in specyall space;
Whils I am prynce and pryncypall
They shall never pas out of this place.
Call up Astarot and Anaball
To gyf us counsell in this case,
Bell-berith and Bellyall
To mar theym that sich mastry mase.
Say to Sir Satan, oure syre,
And byd hym bryng also
Sir Lucyfer, lufly of lyre.
All redy, lord, I go.

Attollite portas principes vestras et elevamini
porte eternales et introibit rex glorie. 4

Out, harro! Out, what devill is he
That callys hym kyng over us all?
Hark, Belzabub, com ne,
For hedusly I hard hym call.
Go spar the yates, yll mot thou thé,
And set the waches on the wall.
If that brodell com ne,
With us ay won he shall;
And if he more call or cry
To make us more debate,
Lay on hym hardely
And make hym go his gate.

Nay, with hym may ye not fyght,
For he is kyng and conqueroure,
And of so mekill myght
And styf in every stoure;
Of hym commys all this light
That shynys in this bowre.
He is full fers in fight,
Worthi to wyn honoure.
Honowre? Harsto, harlot, for what dede?
All erthly men to me ar thrall;
That lad that thou callys lord in lede
He had never harbour, house, ne hall.

How, Sir Sathanas, com nar
And hark this cursid rowte.
The devill you all to-har!
What ales thee so to showte?
And me if I com nar
Thy brayn bot I bryst owte.
Thou must com help to spar;
We ar beseged abowte.

Besegyd aboute? Whi, who durst be so bold
For drede to make on us a fray?
It is the Jew that Judas sold
For to be dede this othere day.
How, in tyme that tale was told;
That trature travesses us allway.
He shal be here full hard in hold,
Bot loke he pas not, I thee pray.
Pas? Nay, nay, he will not weynde
From hens or it be war;
He shapys hym for to sheynd
All hell or he go far.

Fy, faturs, therof shall he fayll.
For all his fare I hym defy;
I know his trantes fro top to tayll.
He lyffys by gawdys and gilory;
Therby he broght furth of oure bayll
The lath Lazare of Betany.
Bot to the Jues I gaf counsayll
That thay shuld cause hym dy;
I enterd ther into Judas
That forward to fulfyll.
Therfor his hyere he has
Allwayes to won here styll.

Sir Sathan, sen we here thee say
Thou and the Jues were at assent,
And wote he wan thee Lazare away 5
That unto us was taken to tent
Hopys thou that thou mar hym may
To muster the malyce that he has ment?
For and he refe us now oure pray
We will ye witt or he is went.
I byd thee noght abaste
Bot boldly make you bowne
With toyles that ye intraste,
And dyng that dastard downe.

Attollite portas principes vestras, etc. 6

Outt, harro! What harlot is he
That sayes his kyngdom shal be cryde?
That may thou in sawter se,
For of this prynce thus ere I saide:

I saide that he shuld breke
Youre barres and bandys by name,
And of youre warkys take wreke;
Now shall thou se the same.

Ye prynces of hell, open youre yate
And let my folk furth gone;
A prynce of peasse shall enter therat
Wheder ye will or none.

What art thou that spekys so?
A kyng of blys that hight Jesus.
Yee, hens fast I red thou go
And mell thee not with us.

Oure yates I trow will last,
Thay ar so strong I weyn;
Bot if oure barres brast
For thee they shall not twyn.

This stede shall stand no longer stokyn;
Open up and let my pepill pas.
Out, harro, oure bayll is brokyn,
And brusten ar all oure bandys of bras!

Harro, oure yates begyn to crak;
In sonder I trow they go,
And hell I trow will all to-shak!
Alas, what I am wo.

Lymbo is lorne, alas!
Sir Sathanas, com up;
This wark is wars then it was.
Yee, hangyd be thou on a cruke!

Thefys, I bad ye shuld be bowne,
If he maide mastrés more,
To dyng that dastard downe,
Sett hym both sad and sore.

To sett hym sore that is sone saide;
Com thou thiself and serve hym so.
We may not abyde his bytter brayde;
He wold us mar and we were mo. 7
Fy, faturs, wherfor were ye flayd?
Have ye no force to flyt hym fro?
Loke in haste my gere be grayd;
Myself shall to that gadlyng go.
How, thou belamy, abyde
With all thi boste and beyr
And tell me in this tyde
What mastrés thou makys here.

I make no mastry bot for myne.
I will theym save, that shall thee sow.
Thou has no powere theym to pyne,
Bot in my pryson for thare prow
Here have they sorjornyd, noght as thyne
Bot in this wayrd, thou wote as how.
Why, were has thou bene ay syn
That never wold negh theym nere or now?
Now is the tyme, certan,
My Fader ordand herfor
That thay shuld pas fro payn
In blys to dwell forevermore.

Thy fader knew I well by syght:
He was a wright his meett to wyn.
Mary me mynnys thi moder hight,
The utmast ende of all thy kyn.
Say who made thee so mekill of myght?
Thou wykyd feynde, lett be thi dyn.
My Fader wonnes in heven on hight
In blys that never more shall blyn;
I am his oonly Son,
His forward to fulfyll.
Togeder will we won,
And sonder when we wyll.

Goddys son? Nay, then myght thou be glad,
For no catell thurt thee crave;
Bot thou has lyffyd ay lyke a lad
In sorow and as a sympill knave.
That was for the hartly luf I had
Unto mans saull, it for to save,
And for to make thee masyd and mad,
And for that reson rufully to rafe.
My godhede here I hyd
In Mary, moder myne,
Where it shall never be kyd
To thee ne none of thyne.

How now? This wold I were told in towne.
Thou says God is thi syre;
I shall thee prove by good reson
Thou moyttys as man dos into myre.
To breke thi byddyng they were full bowne
And soyn they wroght at my desyre;
From paradise thou putt theym downe
In hell here to have thare hyre.
And thou thyself by day and nyght
Taght ever all men emang
Ever to do reson and right,
And here thou wyrkys all wrang.

I wyrk no wrang that shall thou wytt
If I my men fro wo will wyn;
My prophetys playnly prechyd it,
All the noytys that I begyn.
They saide that I shuld be that ilke,
In hell where I shuld intre in,
To save my servandys fro that pytt
Where dampnyd saullys shall syt for syn,
And ilke true prophete tayll
Shal be fulfillid in me.
I have thaym boght fro bayll;
In blis now shall they be.

Now sen thou lyst to legge the lawes,
Thou shal be tenyd or we twyn,
For those that thou to witnes drawes
Full even agans thee shall begyn.
As Salamon saide in his sawes
Who that ones commys hell within
He shall never owte, os clerkys knawes;
Therfor, belamy, let be thy dyn.
Job, thi servande, also
In his tyme can tell
That nawder freynde nor fo
Shall fynde relese in hell.

He sayde full soyth, that shall thou se,
In hell shal be no relese,
Bot of that place then ment he
Where synfull care shall ever encrese.
In that bayll ay shall thou be,
Where sorowes seyr shall never sesse,
And my folke that were most fre
Shall pas unto the place of peasse;
For they were here with my will
And so thay shall furth weynde.
Thou shall thiself fulfyll
Ever wo withoutten ende.

Whi, and will thou take theym all me fro?
Then thynk me thou art unkynde.
Nay, I pray thee do not so;
Umthynke thee better in thy mynde,
Or els let me with thee go.
I pray thee, leyffe me not behynde.
Nay, tratur, thou shall won in wo,
And till a stake I shall thee bynde.

Now here I how thou menys emang
With mesure and malyce for to mell,
Bot sen thou says it shal be lang
Yit som let allwayes with us dwell.
Yis, wytt thou well, els were greatt wrang:
Thou shall have Caym that slo Abell,
And all that hastys theymself to hang
As dyd Judas and Architophell,
And Daton and Abaron,
And all of thare assent,
Cursyd tyranttys everilkon
That me and myn tormente.

And all that will not lere my law
That I have left in land for new,
That makys my commyng knaw
And all my sacramentys persew,
My deth, my rysyng, red by raw —
Who trow thaym not, thay ar untrewe —
Unto my dome I shall theym draw,
And juge theym wars then any Jew.
And thay that lyst to lere
My law and lyf therby
Shall never have harmes here,
Bot welth, as is worthy.

Now here my hand, I hold me payde;
Thise poyntys ar playnly for my prow.
If this be trew that thou has saide,
We shall have mo then we have now.
Thies lawes that thou has late here laide
I shall theym lere not to alow;
If thay myn take, thay ar betraide,
And I shall turne theym tytt, I trow.
I shall walk eest, I shall walk west,
And gar theym wyrk well war.
Nay, feynde, thou shal be feste,
That thou shall flyt no far.

Feste? Fy, that were a wykyd treson!
Belamy, thou shal be smytt.
Devill, I commaunde thee to go downe
Into thi sete where thou shall syt.
Alas, for doyll and care
I synk into hell pyt.
Sir Sathanas, so saide I are;
Now shall thou have a fytt.
Com now furth, my childer all.
I forgyf you youre mys;
With me now go ye shall
To joy and endles blys.

Lord, thou art full mekyll of myght
That mekys thiself on this manere,
To help us all as thou had us hight
When both forfett, I and my fere.
Here have we dwelt withoutten light
Foure thowsand and sex hundreth yere.
Now se we by this solempne sight,
How that thi mercy makys us dere.
Lord we were worthy
More tornamentys to tast.
Thou help us, Lord, with thy mercy
As thou of myght is mast.

Lord, I love thee inwardly
That me wold make thi messyngere,
Thi commyng in erth to cry,
And tech thi fayth to folk in fere,
Sythen before thee for to dy
To bryng theym bodword that be here,
How thay shuld have thi help in hy;
Now se I all those poyntys appere.
David, thi prophete trew,
Oft-tymes told unto us
Of thi commyng he knew,
And saide it shuld be thus.

As I saide ere, yit say I so:
Ne derelinquas domine
Animam meam in inferno: 8
Leyfe never my saull, Lord, after thee
In depe hell, wheder dampned shall go;
Suffre thou never thi sayntys to se
The sorow of thaym that won in wo,
Ay full of fylth, and may not fle.
Make myrth, both more and les,
And love oure Lord we may
That has broght us fro bytternes
In blys to abyde, for ay.

Therfor now let us syng
To love oure Lord Jesus;
Unto his blys he will us bryng,
Te Deum laudamus.

Explicit extraccio animarum ab inferno. 9
 












(see note); (t-note)

(t-note)
To earth
Adam’s sin



somewhat more, truly
suffering; (see note)
died


lay claim to what; (see note)
many others
pain

fiend; won; deceit
(see note)



place; (see note)
fiend fell from
token
make their delight (games)


soon; (t-note)

deed

brothers, listen
health
years; (see note); (t-note)
placed
manifold
gleam; (see note)

soon; relieve
gracious

did shine
clearly

sin

wicked

pains; cease
cruel



(see note)


taught
spoke; walking
shine; (see note)
Christ
here sent

twice taught; (see note)

strange discoveries
found
precious; deal
embraced; intimately
loyal
life everlasting; (see note)
salvation
desire
provided
live on earth

deed

voice crying I taught; (see note)

hands
river
descend
dove; then





cares to relieve

(see note)
(see note)
Elias

snow
sun
earth
Quickly

Shining; certainly
I believe
soon pass

Since; (see note)


noise
beat quickly


must; depart

Beelzebub; (t-note)
clamor; heard
exaggerate; (see note); (t-note)
has happened

louts; (see note)
moaning
display joy among themselves
point
health



(see note); [fol. 98v]
locked
chief

(see note)
give
Baal-berith and Belial; (see note)
such mischief make
sire

lovely of countenance; (see note)


(see note)




near
hideously; heard
bar the gates; thrive
guards; (see note)
scoundrel
always live


boldly
way



much
strong; struggle

room
fierce

Listen, scoundrel
slaves
lord in chief


near
hear; cursed company
torment
shout
near
brain; burst
close
besieged all around

dare
attack

dead

traitor opposes
securely confined

depart
before; worse; (see note)
destroy
before

traitors

tricks
lives by tricks and deceits; (t-note)
pain
loathsome; (see note)
gave counsel; (see note)


promise
hire
dwell

since


tend
Hope
display; intended
if; rob; prey
before
be upset
ready
toils; trust
strike; fool

(see note)

scoundrel
proclaimed; (see note)
psalter see


break

vengeance
see

gate; (see note)
from there be gone

Whether


bliss; is named
from here; say
do not concern yourself

gates
think
burst
break in two

closed
(see note)
barrier
burst

crack
Asunder; believe
shake




worse
hook

Thieves; bade; ready

strike; fool
Cause him to be

easily spoken; [fol. 99v]; (see note)

bitter torment

frightened
flee from him
Look; prepared
fellow
fair friend
boast and noise
time



pain; (see note)
punish
their profit; (see note); (t-note)
sojourned
prison
where; ever since
go near; before

ordained
from



carpenter; earn; (see note)
I recall; is called; (t-note)
(see note)
much
noise; (t-note)
dwells
cease
only
promise
dwell
separate; (t-note)


wealth; need
lived always as if
simple man
earnest love
soul
confused
remorsefully to rave
hide
my mother
revealed
nor



reason
argue; (see note)
ready
soon; desire

their hire

Taught; among

works all wrong


deliver
plainly
tasks
very one; (see note)
enter

damned souls
each true prophet’s tale

misery


desire to cite
annoyed before we part

against
speeches; (see note)
once
as clerks know
friend; noise
servant; (see note)

neither friend nor foe
release from

truthfully; see
(see note)
meant
sinful; increase
misery forever
various; cease

peace

go forth



from me; (see note)


Consider

leave
traitor; remain


hear; intend meanwhile
speak


wrong
Cain; slew; (see note)
(t-note)

(see note)
those of like mind



learn; (see note)

known
sacraments pursue
read in turn; (see note)
believe them not
judgment
worse
desire to learn


wealth

(see note)
profit


recently laid down
teach them not to recognize
mine
quickly

make; do much worse
fiend; secure
flee not far


struck
(see note)

sorrow

before

forth; children
misdeeds




commit yourself in this manner; (t-note)
promised
transgressed; companion

(t-note)
solemn
dear; (see note)

torments to experience; (see note)

most


would
to earth to announce
teach; faith; in company
Subsequently
message
high
points appear
true; (see note); (t-note)
Often



before




saints to see
dwell in woe
Ever
altogether; [fol. 101r]; (t-note)

from bitterness
always

sing


(see note)


 

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