10. The Offering of the Magi

Play 10, THE OFFERING OF THE MAGI: FOOTNOTES


1 Here begins the offering of the Magi

2 Then comes the first king riding, and seeing the star he says

3 Until we come before that noble one

4 Lines 479–80: I should have ordered my death earlier, / before this happened

5 Behold, [God] has made the star to shine again

6 Here ends the offering of the three Magi


Play 10, THE OFFERING OF THE MAGI: 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 offering of the Magi to the infant Christ, based primarily on Matthew 2:1–12, was already subject to dramatic representation by the eleventh century in the form of the Officium stellae (“the ceremony of the star”), in association with the liturgical celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas (6 January in the Gregorian calendar). Middle English pageants on this subject survive from Coventry, York, and Chester, as well as in the N-Town and Towneley collections. In Chester, the encounter with Herod and the offering itself are dramatized in separate pageants (see Chester 8 and 9), while in York the two episodes ultimately came to be performed as a single play through the cooperation of different guilds using two different wagons — one representing Herod’s palace and the other the Nativity scene (see York 16.268 and 272, s.d. and notes). The Towneley version has an interesting connection to York: the Angel’s speech to the three kings appears to have been borrowed almost word for word from the parallel York play (see note to lines 595–606 below); this is the only 12- line stanza in the play, the rest being written in the same 6-line rime couée stanza as four of the York plays (6, 22, 38, and 41). However, in most respects this play stands alone, and could well have been performed that way. The staging apparently requires three distinct loci: Herod’s palace, presumably with a throne for Herod but also with discrete seating for the three kings; a space in which the kings meet Mary and her child; and — uniquely — a bed, where the Angel comes to them in a dream. The kings both enter and depart in different directions on horseback, and a messenger apparently goes in among the audience, remaining there through one scene. Interestingly, this is the only play in the collection that contains any stage directions in English (after lines 504, 510, and 522). The text is also unusually repetitive, with several formulaic alliterative phrases (such as “se and sand” at lines 8, 225, 248, 399, 631) and some entire lines being repeated, along with specific content such as the significance of the star and the kings’ gifts — repetition that would be especially suited to a crowded outdoor performance.


6–7 lord am I. / Lord am I. Concatenation (a type of verbal repetition) links the first six (and occasional other) stanzas in this play.

33–34 I am myghty man aywhare, / Of ilka pak. That is, I am the mightiest man of (any and) every company. Herod is typically boastful — see the headnote to play 12, Herod the Great.

62 Those laddys that will not lede oure lay. SC emend lede to lefe — that is, “believe in our law” (SC p. 514n62) — although lede here could mean to administer, suffer, or conduct one’s self according to that law (see MED leden (v.1), senses 1 and 9). In Scots, the verb lede had specific associations with the administration of the law and with conducting legal proceedings (see DSL lede (v.), sense 17, 18, and 19).

73–84 All peasse, lordyngys . . . . told he mee. The messenger addresses the audience, having left the area that represents Herod’s palace; he may remain among the audience throughout the meeting of the three kings, which he apparently witnesses (see line 275).

81–82 And othere God ye worship none / Bot Mahowne. The order invoking the worship of Muhammad (see note to 6.410) parodies the biblical (and Islamic) commandment to worship none but God alone — see Exodus 20:3–5 and Deuteronomy 5:7–9.

84, s.d. Tunc venit primus rex equitans . . . . The biblical account (only in Matthew 2:1–12) does not mention three kings, only an unknown number of magi — magicians, astrologers, or wise persons — who follow a star from the east bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11); the naming of three gifts in part gave rise to the identification of three kings. In the Chester version of this episode, the kings initially ride horses (8.48, s.d.), but then find “dromodaryes to ryde upon” (8.102), which unlike the horses would likely have been wheeled props. While stage directions are lacking for the next two entrances here, these three kings all ride horses, as indicated in the stage direction following 504. The star may be carried by the Angel who speaks later in the play, following the tradition preserved in the Golden Legend that the star was not fixed in the firmament but “went before the Magi like a traveler, not going around in circles but straight ahead” (Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, 1:81–82).

104–08 Whensever this selcouth light . . . . Thus bright shynand. That is, from where does this wonderful, brightly shining light descend, that has kindly guided me out of my land and has shown me my destination?

120–59 From Araby . . . . my name to say. Neither the traditional names of the Magi (Melchior, Jaspar, and Balthasar — lines 122, 126, 159) nor their places of origin are mentioned in the biblical account. The place names, however, are based on Psalm 71:10 (72:10 in many modern editions, a verse used in the Epiphany mass), which states that the kings of Tarsus, Arabia, and Saba (see lines 120–24 and 152–58) will all bring gifts to the great king.

183–84 it mase / Of novelry. That is, the star is a unique creation.

205 Balaam spekys of this thing. See Numbers 24:17.

233–46 This gold . . . . I bryng. The gifts are based on Matthew 2:11, but all are traditionally given symbolic as well as practical meanings: gold signifies royalty, and will alleviate the poverty of the holy family; frankincense (called “rekyls” or incense in line 237) signifies holiness (“In tokyn that he is God veray” — line 239) as well as prayer (rising like smoke into heaven), and can mitigate the stench of the stable; and myrrh signifies death (as stated in line 245), but could also be used as a healing balm.

293 thare wytt in a starne shuld be. That is, all their knowledge is derived from a star (see also line 302); Herod is not yet aware of the prophecies.

296 Thay ryfe my hede. Literally, they split or pierce my head. The word “rive” (like “reave”) can also mean to steal from someone, in this case Herod’s position as head or ruler.

331 Say I have greatt herand thaym tyll. The word “errand” here means “message.” The messenger is also given a written summons (“brefe”) that he in turn gives to kings at line 342.

366 By hym me boght. Herod ostensibly refers to “Mahowne,” but the phrase (see also lines 406, 444) is normally reserved for Christ, who is said to have bought or redeemed humankind with his blood (see Acts 20:28, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:18–19, and Towneley 2.116 and 464; 8.107, 451, and 595; 9.132; and 17.257).

393 what say ye two. Herod here addresses the two counselors. The kings should sit as requested (line 392), possibly occupying the seats initially reserved for the two counselors as they come forward; they do not overhear Herod’s ranting in the scene that follows. Herod does not address the kings again until line 481.

417–28 profett Isay . . . . the profett Isay. See Isaiah 7:14 (and the final note to the Prophets play, 7.a). The doctrine of the virgin birth (see lines 423–24, which also imply Mary’s perpetual virginity, and Mary’s own words at lines 563 and 569), as opposed to the virginal conception of Christ, is not biblical but rooted in the Protevangelium of James and in various early Christian theological writings.

434 I wold be rent and all to-torne. This line repeats line 389; overall, Herod’s expressions of grief and rage are highly repetitive, as is the play as a whole.

445 Micheas the prophett. See Micah 5:2.

473 swalchon. This is the sole known instance of the word, defined doubtfully in the MED as “a servant or lowly attendant”; see the discussion in SC (p. 516n473). This could accord with the OED definition of squall (n.1) as “an insignificant person” (earliest attestation c. 1570). However, the word might possibly refer to a proud person (as a derivation of the verb “to swell” — see MED swellen (v.), sense 6c).

492 It shal be doyn. The kings must leave Herod at this point, mounting their horses; they dismount after line 504.

513–16 Thy nobyll starne . . . . we shall fare. That is, quickly show us your star so that we might know where we should go. The prayer is answered immediately, as is clear from the thankful speech by King 3 that follows.

553 Hayll, kyng in kyth, cowrand on kne. King 3 kneels (see MED couren (v.), sense 1), and says that he does so, as he greets the infant Jesus as “king in his own country.”

594 Ye shall begyn. King 3 allows the other kings to lie down first, out of courtesy, which would also allow time for the audience to admire the apparently miraculous “lytter redy clad” (line 590) with bedclothes suitable for royalty. The Angel speaks only after they are all asleep (as specified in Matthew 2:12 but without mention of an angel).

595–606 Syr curtes kyngys . . . . wyll he be. The Angel’s speech here closely parallels that in the York version of this episode (York 16.369–80), but with the last two lines reversed. SC reverse lines 605–06 in their edition, to better conform to the York text (SC p. 517n595–606), although the lines make sense as they stand; the stanza may have been deliberately altered to echo the rime couée form of the rest of this play. This is the only 12-line stanza in the play.

619 more and myn. This phrase literally means “more and less” but is commonly used to mean “everyone without exception” (see MED more (adj. comp.), sense 1b and minne (adj.), sense 1a).


Play 10, THE OFFERING OF THE MAGI: 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).

21 Whoso says. MS: these words are separated by a hole in the leaf; after Whoso, at the top of the hole, the main scribe has written part of another letter (likely a long s). Line 23 is started to the right of this same large hole (line 22 being written to the right of the previous lines).

32 will not lere. So EP, SC. MS: will lere.

38 all that dos. So EP, SC. MS: all dos.

51 Lord. MS: this word is boxed in with black lines, but lacks the usual red rule line with speech rubrics to indicate the changes in speaker. Speech rubrics for the Messenger and for Herod have been added here.

128 King 2 (speech heading). MS: Secundus rex is written in faded ink over the original speech rubric, ijus rex, in a sprawling later hand; the rule separating this line from the previous speech is in black, not red.

175 light. MS: final t obscured by smudge.

176 Then any son that ever shone. MS: above this line Indentur is written in faded ink. In the other corner, closer and parallel to the spine, three words are scribbled: something indecipherable and below that Gran — both cropped at the edge — and then God.

201 shewys. MS has se crossed out before this word.

202 it. MS: inserted above the line.

233 This gold now. So EP, SC. MS: This now.

238 Here in myn hende. MS: a different hand has written ijus rex to the right of this line.

239 he is God. So EP, SC. MS: he god.

241 red. MS: reede with the second e and final e lightly crossed out.

275 thre. So EP. MS: iij.

295 thay. MS: the main scribe initially wrote I but lightly crossed that out and added thay above the line.

299 For. So EP, SC. MS: ffo.

397 understand. MS: vndestand.

402 go to. MS: a long s is crossed out before these words.

446 tellys I. MS: withoutten written between these words (repeating the same word from the previous line, in the same abbreviated form), but crossed out.

465 twenty. So EP. MS: xx.

481 nobyll. So EP, SC. MS: noble nobyll.

511, s.d. all thre kyngys. So EP. SC: all þe thre kyngys. MS: a later hand has added þe above the line.

525 shynyng. So SC. EP, MS: stynyng, with a light correction over the t.

533 all has wroght. MS: the scribe initially repeated we have soght (line 531, directly above in the MS) but crossed this out and continued the line as written.

603 awne. MS: this word is added above the line in small letters.

605–06 For this dede . . . wyll he be. SC reverse these lines, explaining that “These lines are reversed in the MS, with 605 written to the right and bracketed with 603 in the manner of the tail-rhyme stanza” (p. 176n605–06). However, the entire stanza is irregular in form and makes perfect sense as it stands.

628 To. So EP, SC. MS: ty.

 
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10. The Offering of the Magi

from: The Towneley Plays  2017













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Herod
Messenger
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King 2 (Melchior)
King 3 (Balthesar)
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Mary
Angel

Incipit oblacio magorum. 1

Peasse, I byd both far and nere.
I warne you, leyf youre sawes sere;
Who that makys noyse whyls I am here,
I say, shall dy.
Of all this warld sooth far and nere
The lord am I.

Lord am I of every land,
Of towre and towne, of se and sand.
Agans me dar no man stand
That berys lyfe;
All erthly thyng bowes to my hand,
Both man and wyfe.

Man and wyfe, that warne I you
That in this warld is lyfand now,
To Mahowne and me all shall bow
Both old and ying;
On hym wyll I ich man trow
For any thyng.

For any thyng it shall be so,
Lord over all where I go.
Whoso says agane I shall hym slo
Whereso he dwell;
The feynd if he were my fo
I shuld hym fell.

To fell those fatures I am bowne
And dystroy those dogys in feyld and towne
That will not trow on Sant Mahowne,
Oure God so swete;
Those fals faturs I shall fell downe
Under my feete.

Under my feete I shall thaym fare,
Those ladys that will not lere my lare,
For I am myghty man aywhare,
Of ilka pak,
Clenly shapen, hyde and hare,
Withoutten lak.

The myght of me may no man mene,
For all that dos me any teyn
I shall dyng thaym downe bydeyn,
And wyrk thaym wo,
And on assay it shall be seyn
Or I go.

And therfor will I send and se
In all this land full hastely,
To looke if any dwelland be
In towre or towne
That wyll not hold holly on me
And on Mahowne.

If ther be fonden any of tho,
With bytter payn I shall theym slo.
My messynger —
                         Lord?
                                   Swyth looke thou go
Thrugh ilk countré
In all this land, both to and fro,
I commaunde thee.

And truly looke thou spyr and spy
In every stede ther thou commys by
Who trowes not on Mahowne most myghty,
Oure god so fre,
And looke thou bryng theym hastely
Heder unto me.

And I shall fownd thaym for to flay,
Those laddys that will not lede oure lay.
Therfor, boy, now I thee pray
That thou go tytt.
It shal be done, lord, if I may,
Withoutten let.

And certys, if I may any fynde,
I shall not leyfe oone of them behynde.
No, bot boldly thou thaym bynde
And with thee leyde.
Mahowne that weldys water and wynde
Thee wish and spede.

All peasse, lordyngys, and hold you styll
To I have sayde what I will.
Take goode hede unto my skyll,
Both old and ying,
In message what is commen you tyll
From Herode the kyng.

He commaundys you everilkon
To hold no kyng bot hym alon,
And othere God ye worship none
Bot Mahowne so fre,
And if ye do ye mon be slone;
Thus told he me.

Tunc venit primus rex equitans et respiciens stellam dicit, 2

Lord of whom this light is lent
And unto me this sight has sent,
I pray to thee with good intent
From shame me shelde,
So that I no harmes hent
By ways wylde.

Also, I pray thee specyally
Thou graunt me grace of company,
That I may have som beyldyng by
In my travayll,
And certys for to lyf or dy
I shall not fayll

To that I in som land have bene,
To wyt what this starne may mene
That has me led with bemys shene
Fro my cuntré.
Now weynd I will withoutten weyn
The sothe to se.

A, Lord, that is withoutten ende,
Whensever this selcouth light dyscende
That thus kyndly has me kende
Oute of my land,
And shewyd to me ther I can leynd,
Thus bright shynand?

Certys, I sagh never none so bright.
I shall never ryst by day nor nyght
To I wyt whens may com this lyght,
And from what place,
He that it send unto my sight
Leyne me that grace.

A, syr, wheder ar ye away?
Tell me, good syr, I you pray.
Certys, I trow the sothe to say,
None wote bot I;
I have folowed yond starne veray
From Araby,

For I am kyng of that cuntré,
And Melchor ther call men me.
And kyng, syr, was I wont to be
In Tars at hame,
Both of towne and cyté;
Jaspar is my name.

The light of yond starne sagh I thedyr.
That Lord be lovyd that send me hedyr,
For it will grathly ken us whedyr
That we shall weynd.
We owe to love hym both togedyr
That it to us wold send.

A, Lord in land, what may this mene?
So selcouth sight was never sene:
Sich a starne shynand so shene
Sagh I never none;
It gyffys lyght over all bedene
By hym alone.

What it may mene, that know I noght,
Bot yonder ar two, me thynk in thoght.
I thank hym that thaym heder has broght
Thus unto me;
I shall assay if thay wote oght
What it may be.

Lordyngys that ar leyf and dere,
I pray you tell me, with good chere,
Wheder ye weynd on this manere,
And where that ye have bene,
And of this starne that shynys thus clere
What it may mene.

Syr, I say you certanly,
From Tars for yond starne soght have I.
To seke yond light from Araby,
Syr, have I went.
Now hertely I thank hym forthy
That it has sent.

Good syr, what cuntré cam ye fra?
This light has led me fro Saba,
And Balthesar my name to say,
The sothe to tell.
And kyngys, syr, ar we twa
Ther as we dwell.

Now, syrs, syn we ar semled here,
I rede we ryde togeder in fere
Unto we wytt on all manere,
For good or yll,
What it may mene this sterne so clere
Shynand us tyll.

A, lordyngys, behold the lyght
Of yond starne with bemys bright.
Forsothe I sagh never sich a sight
In no kyns land,
A starne thus aboute mydnyght
So bright shynand.

It gyfys more light itself alone
Then any son that ever shone,
Or mone when he of son has ton
His light so cleyn.
Sich selcouth sight have I sene none,
Whatsoever it meyn.

Behold, lordyngys, unto his pase,
And se how nygh the erth hit gase:
It is a tokyn that it mase
Of novelry;
A mervell it is, good tent who tase
Now here in hy.

For sich a starne was never ere seyn,
As wyde in warld as we have beyn,
For blasyng bemys shynand full sheyn
From hit ar sent.
Mervell I have what it may meyn
In myn intent.

Certys, syrs, the sothe to say,
I shall dyscry now if I may,
What it may meyn, yond starne veray
Shynand tyll us;
It has bene sayde syn many a day
It shuld be thus.

Yond starne betokyns, well wote I,
The byrth of a prynce, syrs, securely;
That shewys well the prophecy
That it so be,
Or els the rewlys of astronomy
Dyssavys me.

Certan, Balaam spekys of this thyng,
That of Jacob a starne shall spryng
That shall overcom kasar and kyng
Withoutten stryfe;
All folk shal be to hym obeyng
That berys the lyfe.

Now wote I well, this is the same:
In every place he shall have hame;
All shall hym bowe that berys name
In ilk cuntré.
Who trowys it not thay ar to blame,
Whatso thay be.

Certys, lordyngys, full well wote I,
Fulfyllyd is now the prophecy
That prynce that shall overcom in hy
Kasar and kyng;
This starne berith witnes wytterly
Of his beryng.

Now is fulfyllyd here in this land
That Balaam sayd, I understand;
Now is he borne that se and sand
Shall weyld at wyll,
That shewys this starne so bright shynand
Us thre untyll.

Lordyngys, I rede we weynd all thre
For to wyrship that chyld so fre,
In tokyn that he kyng shal be
Of alkyn thyng.
This gold now wyll I bere with me
To myn offeryng.

Go we fast, syrs, I you pray
To worship hym if that we may.
I bryng rekyls, the sothe to say,
Here in myn hende,
In tokyn that he is God veray
Withoutten ende.

Syrs, as ye say right so I red:
Hast we tytt unto that sted
To wirship hym as for oure hed
With oure offeryng
In tokyn that he shal be ded
This myrr I bryng.

We shall not rest even nor morne
Unto we com ther he is borne.
Folowe this light, els be we lorne,
Forsothe I trowe,
That frely to we com beforne. 3
Syrs, go we now.

Mahowne that is of greatt pausty,
My lord, Syr Herode, thee save and se.
Where has thou bene so long fro me,
Vyle stynkand lad?
Lord, gone youre herand in this cuntré
As ye me bad.

Thou lyys, lurdan, the dewill thee hang!
Why has thou dwelt away so lang?
Lord, ye wyte me all with wrang.
What tythyngys, say?
Som good, som yll mengyd emang.
How, I thee pray?

Do tell me fast how thou has farne;
Thy waryson shall thou not tharne.
As I cam walkand, I you warne,
Lord, by the way,
I met thre kyngys sekeand a barne,
Thus can thay say.

To seke a barne for what thyng?
Told thay any new tythyng?
Yey, lord, thay sayd he shuld be kyng
Of towne and towre;
Forthy thay went with thare offeryng
Hym to honoure.

Kyng? the dewill! Bot of what empyre,
Of what land shuld that lad be syre?
Nay, I shall with that trature tyre;
Sore shall he rewe.
Lord, by a starne as bright as fyre
This kyng thay knew.

It led thaym outt of thare cuntré.
Wé, fy, fy! dewyls on thame all thre!
He shall never have myght to me,
That new borne lad.
When thare wytt in a starne shuld be,
I hold thaym mad.

Those lurdans wote not what thay say;
Thay ryfe my hede, that dar I lay.
Ther dyd no tythyngys many a day
Sich harme me to.
For wo my wytt is all away;
What shall I do?

Why, what the dewyll is in thare harnes?
Is thare wytt all in the starnes?
These tythyngys mar my mode in ernes,
And of this thyng
To wytt the sothe, full sore me yarnes,
Of this new kyng.

Kyng, what the dewyll! Other then I?
Wé, fy on dewyls! Fy, fy!
Certys, that boy shall dere aby;
His ded is dight.
Shall he be kyng thus hastely?
Who the dewill made hym knyght?

Alas, for shame, this is a skorne.
Thay fynde no reson thaym beforne.
Shuld that brodell that late is borne
Be most of mayn?
Nay, if the dewyll of hell had sworne,
He shall agane.

Alas, alas, for doyll and care!
So mekyll sorow had I never are.
If it be sothe, forevermare
I am undoyn.
At good clerkys and wyse of lare
I wyll wyt soyn.

Bot fyrst yit will I send and se
The answere of those lurdans thre.
Messyngere, tytt hy thou thee
And make thee yare.
Go, byd those kyngys com speke with me
That told thou of are.

Say I have greatt herand thaym tyll.
It shal be done, lord, at youre wyll;
Youre byddyng shall I soyn fulfyll
In ilk cuntré.
Mahowne thee shelde from allkyns yll
For his pausté.

Mahowne you save, syr kyngys thre.
I have message to you, prevé
From Herode, kyng of this cuntré,
That is oure chefe.
And lo, syrs, if ye trow not me,
Ye rede this brefe.

Welcom be thou, belamy.
What is his wyll? Tell us in hy.
Certys, syr, that wote not I,
Bot thus he sayde to me:
That ye shuld com full hastely
To hym, all thre,

For nede herand, he sayd me so.
Messynger, before thou go
And tell thi lord we ar all thro
His wyll to do;
Both I and my felose two
Shall com hym to.

Mahowne you looke, my lord so dere.
Welcom be thou, messyngere.
How has thou farne syn thou was here?
Thou tell me tytt.
Lord, I have traveld far and nere
Withoutten lett,

And done youre herand, syr, sothely.
Thre kyngys with me broght have I
Fro Saba, Tars, and Araby,
Then have thay soght.
Thi waryson shall thou have forthy,
By hym me boght,

And certanly that is good skyll.
And syrs, ye ar welcom me tyll.
Lord, thi bydyng to fulfyll
Ar we full thro.
A, mekyll thank of youre good wyll
That ye wyll so,

For certys, I have covett greattly
To speke with you and here now why:
Tell me, I pray you specyally,
For any thyng,
What tokynyng saw ye on the sky
Of this new kyng?

We sagh his starne ryse in the eest,
That shall be kyng of man and best;
Forthy, lord, we have not cest
Syn that we wyst,
With oure gyftys riche and honest
To bere that blyst.

Lord, when that starne rose us beforne,
Therby we knew that chyld was borne.
Out, alas! I am forlorne
Forevermare!
I wold be rent and al to-torne
For doyll and care.

Alas, alas, I am full wo.
Syr kyngys, syt downe and rest you so.
By scrypture, syrs, what say ye two?
Withoutten lytt,
What ye can say therto
Let se now tytt.

These kyngys do me to understand
That borne is newly in this land
A kyng that shall weld se and sand.
Thay tell me so,
And therfor, syrs, I you commaunde
Youre bookys go to,

And looke grathly for any thyng,
If ye fynd oght of sich a kyng.
It shall be done at youre bydyng.
By hym me boght,
And soyn we shall you tythyngys bryng,
If we fynd oght.

Soyn shall we wyt, lord, if I may,
If oght be wretyn in oure lay.
Now, masters, therof I you pray
On all manere.
Com furth, let us assay
Oure bookys, both in fere.

Certys, syr, lo here fynd I,
Well wretyn in a prophecy,
How that profett Isay
That never begyld
Tellys that a madyn of hir body
Shall bere a chyld.

And also, syr, to you I tell
The mervellest thyng that ever fell:
Hyr madynhede with hir shall dwell
As dyd beforne;
That child shall hight Emanuell
When he is borne.

Lord, this is sothe, securely:
Wytnes the profett Isay.
Outt, alas! for doyll I dy
Long or my day.
Shall he have more pausté then I?
A, waloway!

Alas, alas, I am forlorne.
I wold be rent and all to-torne.
Bot looke yit as ye dyd beforne,
For luf of me,
And tell me where that boy is borne.
Onone, lett se.

All redy, lord, with mayn and mode.
Have done, belyf, or I go wode.
And certys, that gadlyng wer as good
Have grevyd me noght;
I shall se that brodell bloode,
By hym that me has boght.

Micheas the prophett, withoutten nay,
How that he tellys I shall you say:
In Bedlem, land of Juda,
As I say you,
Out of it a duke shall spra,
Thus fynd we now.

Syr, thus we fynd in prophecy,
Therfor we say you securely,
In Bedlem we say you truly
Borne is that kyng.
The dewill hang you high to dry
For this tythyng!

And certys, ye ly; it may not be.
Lord, we wytnes it truly.
Here, the sothe youreself may se
If ye can rede.
A, waloway! full wo is me,
The dewill you spede.

Lord, it is sothe all that we say;
We fynde it wretyn in oure lay.
Go hens, harlottys, in twenty dewill way,
Fast and belyfe!
Mighty Mahowne, as he well may,
Lett you never thryfe.

Alas, wherto were I a crowne
Or is cald of greatt renowne?
I am the fowlest borne downe
That ever was man,
And namely with a fowll swalchon
That no good can.

Alas, that ever I shuld be knyght,
Or holdyn man of mekyll myght,
If a lad shuld reyfe me my right
All thus me fro.
Myn dede ere shuld I dyght
Or it were so. 4

Ye nobyll kyngys, harkyns as heynd:
Ye shall have save condyth to weynd,
Bot com agane with me to leynd,
Syrs, I you pray.
Ye shall me fynd a faythfull freynd
If ye do swa.

If it be sothe, this new tythyng,
Som worship wold I do that kyng;
Therfor I pray you that ye bryng
Me tythyngys soyn.
Allredy, lord, at youre bydyng
It shal be doyn.

Alas, in warld how have we sped?
Where is the lyght that us has led?
Som clowde forsothe that starne has cled
From us away.
In strong stowre now ar we sted;
What may we say?

Wo worth Herode, that cursyd wyght!
Wo worth that tyrant day and nyght,
For thrugh hym have we lost that sight,
And for his gyle,
That shoyn to us with bemys bright
Within a whyle.

Here lyghtys the kyngys of thare horses.

Lordyngys, I red we pray all thre
To that Lord whose natyvyté
The starne betokyned that we can se,
All with his wyll;
Pray we specyally that he
Wold show it us untyll.

Here knele all thre kyngys downe.

Thou chyld, whose myght no tong may tell,
As thou art Lord of heven and hell,
Thy nobyll starne, Emanuell,
Thou send us yare,
That we may wytt by fyrth and fell
How we shall fare.

A, to that chyld be ever honoure,
That in this tyd has stynt oure stoure
And lent us lyght to oure socoure
On this manere.
We love thee, Lord of towne and towre,
Holly in fere.

Here ryse thay all up.

We owe to love hym over all thyng
That thus has send us oure askyng.
Behold, yond starne has made shynyng. 5
Syrs, securly
Of this chyld shall we have knowyng,
I hope in hy.

Lordyngys dere, drede thar us noght,
Oure greatt travell tyll end is broght.
Yond is the place that we have soght
From far cuntré;
Yond is the chyld that all has wroght.
Behold and se.

I red we make offeryng all thre
Unto this chyld of greatt pausté,
And worship hym with gyftys fre
That we have broght.
Oure boytt of bayll ay wyll he be;
Well have we soght.

Hayll be thou, maker of allkyn thyng
That boytt of all oure bayll may bryng.
In tokyn that thou art oure kyng
And shal be ay,
Resayf this gold to myn offeryng,
Prynce, I thee pray.

Hayll, overcomer of kyng and of knyght,
That fourmed fysh and fowyll in flyght,
For thou art Godys Son, most of myght,
And all-weldand.
I bryng thee rekyls, as is right,
To myn offerand.

Hayll, kyng in kyth, cowrand on kne.
Hayll, oonefold God in persons thre.
In tokyn that thou dede shal be
By kyndly skyll,
To thy gravyng this myr of me
Resave thee tyll.

Syr kyngys, make comforth you betweyn,
And mervell not what it may mene:
This chyld that on me borne has bene
All bayll may blyn;
I am his moder and madyn clene,
Withoutten syn.

Therfor, lordyngys, whereso ye fare,
Boldly looke ye tell aywhare
How I this blyst of bosom bare
That best shal be,
And madyn cleyn as I was are
Thrugh his pausté.

And truly, syrs, looke that ye trow
That othere lord is none at lowe;
Both man and beest to hym shall bowe
In towne and feyld.
My blyssyng, syrs, be now with you
Whereso ye beyld.

A, lordyngys dere, the sothe to say
We have made a good jornay.
We love this Lord that shall last ay
Withoutten ende;
He is oure beyld both nyght and day,
Whereso we weynd.

Lordyngys, we have traveld lang,
And restyd have we lytyll emang.
Forthi I red now or we gang
With all oure mayn,
Let us fownde a slepe to fang;
Then were I fayn,

For in greatt stowres we have ben sted.
Lo, here a lytter redy cled.
I love my Lord! We have well sped
To rest with wyn;
Lordyngys, syn we shall go to bed,
Ye shall begyn.

Syr curtes kyngys, to me take tent,
And turne bytyme or ye be tenyd.
From God hisself thus am I sent
To warne you as youre faythfull freynd
How Herode kyng has malyce ment,
And shapys with shame you for to sheynd,
And so that ye no harmes hent
By othere ways God wyll ye weynd
Into youre awne cuntré.
And if ye ask hym boyn
For this dede that ye have done,
Youre beyld ay wyll he be.

Wakyns, wakyns, lordyngys dere!
Oure dwellyng is no longer here.
An angell spake tyll us in fere,
Bad us as heynd
That we ne shuld on no manere
Home by Herode weynd.

Allmyghty God in Trynyté,
With hart enterely thank I thee
That thyn angell send tyll us thre
And kend us so,
Oure fals foman for to fle
That wold us slo.

We aght to love hym, more and myn,
That comly kyng of all mankyn.
I rew full sore that we shall twyn
On this manere,
For commen we have with mekyll wyn
By wayes sere.

Twyn must us nedys, syrs, permafay,
And ilkon weynd by dyvers way.
This wyll me lede, the sothe to say,
To my cuntré;
Forthy, lordyngys, now have good day.
God with you be.

Certys, I must pas by se and sand;
This is the gate I understand
That wyll me lede unto my land
The right way.
To God of heven I you commaunde,
And have good day.

This is the way that I must weynd.
Now God till us his socoure send,
And he that is withoutten end,
And ay shal be,
Save us from fowndyng of the feynd,
For his pausté.

Explicit oblacio trium Magorum. 6
 












Peace
leave; various speeches


truly
(see note)



dare
bears




living
Mohammed
young
each; believe




against; slay; (t-note)

fiend


traitors; ready

believe in





lads; learn my commands; (t-note)
everywhere; (see note)

hide; hair


convey
harm; (t-note)
strike; together

when put to the test
Before





wholly


those


(t-note)
Quickly
each



inquire
place where



Here

hasten; torture
law; (see note)

quickly

delay


leave


governs
direct; assist

(see note)
Until
reasoning

that


each one

(see note)

must; slain


(see note)





receive




comfort
journey



Until
know; star
bright beams

without a doubt
truth; seek


From where [does]; wonderful; (see note)
guided

where; arrive
shining

Certainly; saw
rest
Until; know


Give

whither

believe; truly

verily
Arabia; (see note)


Melchior
accustomed
Tarsus



there
here; (t-note)
readily show

ought



wonderful
brightly

together






ask; know anything










this


heartily; therefore


from
Saba [in Arabia]

Truly



since; assembled
say; company
Until we know in all ways






Truly




(t-note)
sun; (t-note)
moon; taken

wonderful


its pace
near; it goes
it makes; (see note)
novelty
attention; take


before

blazing; brightly





declare

on



signifies
surely
(t-note)
(t-note)
rules
Deceive

(see note)

emperor


is alive


home


believes
Whoever



in haste

bears; certainly
birth


That which





say; go


all kinds of
(see note); (t-note)




incense
hands; (t-note)
(t-note)


(t-note)
quickly; place
as our ruler

dead
myrrh


where
lost




power
protect

Vile stinking
errand [to run]


lie; lout

judge; wrong

mixed among


quickly; fared
reward; lack
walking

seeking a child; (t-note)



news


Therefore




traitor fight
Sorely; regret




devils
over me

(see note)


louts know; (t-note)
hurt; (see note)


(t-note)


brains

mood; earnest

yearns




pay dearly
death; ordained



insult

scoundrel
might

disappear (be gone)


much; before

undone
But; teachin
soon


three louts
quickly hurry
ready

before

message for them; (see note)


each
every kind of ill
power


privately



summons

fair friend
haste





an urgent message

eager




watch over you

fared
quickly

delay

delivered your message



reward; therefore
(see note)

reasoning


eager



wanted
hear






beast
ceased
Since we knew that

blessed [one]





destroyed
sorrow



(see note)
delay

quickly

(t-note)

govern sea and sand


(t-note)

carefully







written; law



together



prophet Isaiah; (see note)
misled







be named


truly


before
power



(see note)

love

Immediately

ready; fervently
at once, before; mad
fellow

scoundrel’s blood


Micah; doubt; (see note)
(t-note)
Judea

spring



truly










assist you


written; law
forth; scoundrels; (t-note)
at once



why wear

most foully overthrown

(see note)



held to be
deprive me of


Before

listen graciously; (t-note)
safe conduct
stay


thus

true




(see note)



covered

conflict; situated


May woe come to


because of his deceit
shone









to us

(t-note)

tongue

(see note)
quickly
forest and hill



time; ceased; conflict
aid
In

All of us together



ought; [fol. 52r]

(t-note)
surely




journey


(t-note)


say



relief from misery


everything



receive


conqueror


almighty
incense


crouching; (see note)
onefold
dead
natural reason
For your burial; myrrh
Receive




misery; relieve



go
everywhere
blessed [one]

ever
power


below (on earth)



Wherever you dwell





shelter



in between
Therefore; advise; before
strength
try to get some sleep
glad

conflict; placed
bed ready made

delight

(see note)

pay attention; (see note)
without delay; harmed



plans; destroy
suffer

(t-note)
favor
(t-note)
shelter always



together
graciously

by [way of]




commanded
enemy


more or less; (see note)
humankind
part
In
much joy
various

Part; by my faith
each one; diverse paths

(t-note)
Therefore



way






aid


temptation by
By his power


 

Go To 11. The Flight Into Egypt