8. The Shepherds (1)

Play 8, THE SHEPHERDS (1): FOOTNOTES


1 Here begins a pageant of shepherds

2 Lines 1–4: Lord, those who are gone from here are well off, for they do not feel themselves too downcast

3 Lines 70–72: May he who hung upon a cross save you and me, wholly and completely

4 Lines 88–89: Whoever speaks against him / would be better off killed

5 Lines 105–06: If he should ask me for anything / that he desires

6 Lines 131–34: I am always the same; / though I do not know the cause, / no one in this realm / fares worse than a shepherd

7 Lines 211–13: He who sold such a pair for a pound would be well paid

8 Lines 348–50: I would be happier / if, by means of your learning, / you could offer us a drink

9 Lines 406–07: Who shall toss this meat into the basket?

10 Lines 409–10: Let us for the sake of our souls ensure / that it is given to poor men

11 Lines 502–03: A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1)

12 Now a new progeny is sent down from high heaven; / Now a virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns (see note)

13 Lines 599–600: I wish that we could sing the same music

14 Here ends one pageant of the shepherds


Play 8, THE SHEPHERDS (1): 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 first of Towneley’s two Shepherds plays, like the second, is written in the distinctive 13-line “bob and wheel” stanza associated with the putative “Wakefield Master” (written in the manuscript as a 9-line stanza with interior rhymes); however, despite numerous critical assertions to the contrary, neither text contains any clear link to Wakefield or its vicinity. Its plot, which like that of its varied counterparts expands significantly on the gospel account found in Luke 2:8–20, closely resembles that of Chester’s Shepherds play with its joking banter, argument, feasting, and singing. While less audacious and original in conception than the second Towneley Shepherds play, which has always overshadowed it, the first is also interesting and entertaining in its own right. Its scenes of arguing over a flock of non-existent sheep and feasting on what is likely imaginary food are highly, even self-consciously theatrical, and the raucous comedy is aptly balanced by the tender Nativity scene at the end. Moreover, like the second, the first Shepherds play seems built for individual performance rather than as part of a sequence. One young actor could easily play both Mary and the angel, as well taking the role of the boy, unless those lines should indeed be ascribed to Shepherd 3 — see note to line 257 below. Either way, the play would require less than half the cast of its Chester counterpart — a guild play that was once performed individually rather than as part of a full cycle production (see Mills, Recycling the Cycle, pp. 36, 110).


19–21 When he syttys . . . . is kesten down wyde. These lines allude to the image of Fortune’s turning wheel. From the highest point of the wheel the proud are cast down, and this echoes the earlier line about those who feel “downe cast” (line 4).

25 Horsman Jak Copé. The nickname Copé means “plenty” (see MED copie (n.), sense 1). Riding is also associated with wealth and social status in the play of the Buffeting (18.218–19).

27 I thank it God. The context of his poverty and misfortune renders ironic the shepherd’s otherwise conventional assertion that he thanks God.

38 The rott. Liver-rot (often simply called “the rot”) is a parasitic disease that commonly affects sheep grazed in damp pasture.

56 To cast the warld in seven. The phrase is taken from the game of hazard (a precursor to craps), where it refers to staking everything on a single throw of the dice (see also 12.186 and note). Shepherd 1 is saying that he intends to try to win back everything that he has lost.

58 moren. “Murrain” is a generalized term for infectious diseases (including plague), but particularly those affecting livestock.

68 Bensté. The word is a contraction of the Latin benedicite (“bless”).

83 byll hagers. That is, those who hack with weapons. A “bill” is a typically English weapon consisting of a hooked, concave blade on a pole, similar to a halberd (OED bill (n.1), sense 2a), as well as an agricultural tool (also called a billhook; see OED (n.1), sense 4) used to prune (or “hag”) hedges, from which the weapon was derived.

85 Sich wryers and wragers. The term wryer (see OED wrayer (n.)) may relate to the verb wray or betray, but could also indicate a quarrelsome person, making the alliterated terms here virtually synonymous (see SC p. 484n85, and MED wragger (n.)), or a person who turns away from God and goodness (see MED wrien (v.2)). The same pairing occurs in the Judgment play, likewise in a 13-line 'bob and wheel' stanza (27.209).

90–91 Both ploghe . . . will not make. These lines allude to the requisition or seizure of goods in a practice known as purveyance, explicitly mentioned in the second Shepherds play (see 9.49 and note).

118 Gyb. A common abbreviation of the name Gilbert, Gib is also the name of Shepherd 2 in the second Shepherds play. Gib is called “Gyg” at line 243.

144–45 Fyrst must us crepe / And sythen go. That is, we must crawl before we can walk — a common proverb exhorting patience (see Whiting C202).

164 bell-weder. Only the leader of the flock of sheep generally wore a bell (see MED belle-wether (n.)). This bell-wether is imaginary; Shepherd 2 has already pointed out that no sheep are or will be present (see lines 149–50 and 157–58).

165 tyr. A shepherd’s call, used to drive sheep, from a verb meaning “go” or “move” (see MED tiren (v.2), sense d). See also OED tyr (int).

169 Tup I say whyr. Like “tyr” (lines 165, 166; see previous note) and “whop” (or “whoop,” line 172), “whyr” is a herding call, here directed at an imaginary tup or male sheep. See MED houp (n.), OED whyr (int.), and tup (n.) respectively.

181–82 Here comys Slawpase / Fro the myln-whele. Shepherd 3 — here nicknamed “Slowpace” — enters with a sack of meal (possibly carried on the back of a horse; see line 237 and note), which he uses to make a point in lines 238–53.

183–91 What ado . . . . this way. This stanza is irregular; one quatrain (normally written as two lines in the MS) may be missing due to a copying error.

201–02 Ye fysh before the nett, / And stryfe on this bett. That is, you act prematurely, and quarrel over what you merely anticipate having.

216–17 It is far to byd hyte / To an eg or it go. That is, it is useless (far-fetched) to tell an egg to move before it hatches, “hyte” being a conventional cry to urge an animal forward (see 2.57 and note).

218–19 Tytter want ye sowll / Then sorow. May you sooner lack food than sorrow — that is, may things go very badly for you. The term “sowll” can refer to anything eaten with bread, the basic staple, such as meat or sauce, but also food or nourishment more generally (see MED souel (n.2), sense a).

220–30 Ye brayde of Mowll . . . . was the tokyn. These lines refer to the ancient fable, attributed to Aesop, of the milkmaid whose pitcher breaks as she imagines everything that she will acquire due to her selling the milk; here, like the two shepherds, she specifically imagines having more sheep.

237 Hold ye my mare. The “mare” or horse (see note to 2.25) is perhaps imaginary, like the flock of sheep over which the others have just argued. However, in the lines that follow, Shepherd 3 has the others help him empty meal or flour from an actual sack (see notes to lines 181 and 260).

243 Both Gyg and Jak. “Gyg” is an informal variation of Gib (the name of Shepherd 1, see line 118 and note), while “Jak” refers to John Horne (Shepherd 2; see note to line 257 below).

248–49 And ye look well abowte / Nawther more nor myn. That is, no matter how carefully you look, you will see neither more nor less meal in the sack.

257 Boy (speech heading). The three speeches assigned to the boy (lines 257–69, 272, and 273[b]–75) should likely be assigned to Shepherd 3, called Slowpace at line 181. The MS speech heading here reads Jak garcio while the next two refer just to garcio (meaning “boy”); while the first of these could be understood as naming the character — that is, “Jack, the boy” — it may rather designate him as “Jack’s boy,” servant to Shepherd 2 (called “Jak” at line 243 — see note above). Shepherd 3, unlike the other two, never exchanges lines with the boy, but later refers to his own “servyse” (line 289); it is worth noting that Shepherd 3 in the second Shepherds play likewise plays an subservient role (see note to 9.210). Regardless, only three shepherds partake in the (likely imaginary) feast that follows line 276 (see also note to line 268 below). If the boy is an actual, separate character, his appearance is very brief. (For a more extended argument, see Cawley, “Iak Garcio of the Prima Pastorum.”)

260 foles of Gotham. The fools of Gotham were the subject of a famous collection of humorous stories, the Merie Tales of the mad men of Gotam, first printed in London around 1565. The first story in the collection involves two men arguing over non-existent sheep, as the two shepherds here have just done (lines 146–95), until silenced by another who empties a sack of meal by way of commenting on their lack of wit, as Shepherd 3 does here (lines 238–53).

268 Ye thre bere the bell. That is, you three are the worst; only the leading cow or sheep bore a bell (see line 164 and note). If the boy is the same character as Shepherd 3 (see note to line 257 above), this line should read either “You two” or possibly “You there.” The cross in the margin of the MS beside this line may indicate an error; see Textual Note.

271 Say me, good pen. That is, tell me, boy. By referring to the boy as a good pen (that is, a pin), the Shepherd calls him both useful (as a pin generally is) and insignificant (see 3.527 and note).

288–89 Me thynk it good skyll / My servyse I tyne. That is, I think it right that I leave behind my role as servant.

300 cryb. This is the sole authoritative citation of the word being used in this sense, namely, to eat as if at a crib or manger (OED crib (v.), sense 1; and MED crib (v.)); “mangere” is used at line 291 to mean a feast (from the French manger, “to eat”). The feast that follows, with its mixture of humble and courtly food items, is almost certainly imaginary, although each shepherd may well pull some actual food and drink from his bag (or “mail” — see line 322), such as simple bread and ale (see note to line 352 below).

319 Of an ewe that was roton. That is, mutton from a ewe that suffered from liver-rot (see note to line 38 above).

337 chekyns endorde. To endore — literally to gild, or make gold — meant to glaze with egg-yolk or saffron. See MED endoren (v.).

341–42 calf lyver skorde / With the veryose. The shepherd refers to this (imaginary) calf liver as being scored — in the culinary sense of making long parallel incisions — and served with or cooked (or marinated) in verjuice (literally “green [vert] juice”), the sour and aromatic juice of unripe grapes or crabapples, commonly used as a condiment or as an ingredient in sauces, as indicated by the next line. See OED verjuice; MED verjous (n.), especially sense c.

352 ayll of Hely. While Stevens and Cawley, among other critics, identify Hely (MS hely) as the township of Healey near Wakefield (see SC p. 488n352), “Ceruyse” or ale is specifically noted as being characteristic of Ely, Cambridgeshire, in a fourteenth-century list of English towns and their attributes in the Bodleian’s Douce MS 98; see Bonnier, “List of English Towns,” p. 502, line 73.

353 I wynk. To wink or close one’s eyes was associated with drinking much “at a draught” or all at once.

357 boyte of oure bayll. The phrase is commonly used in reference to Jesus as Savior.

366–69 I shrew you . . . . Abate. That is, I curse you sharply, and will be at a disadvantage unless I make you stop drinking, “on my hips” being an idiom from wrestling (see MED hips (n.1), sense 2b). Shepherd 2 wants to ensure that there is some left for him.

377 To the bothom it is sonken. That is, there is nothing left in the cup.

380 By my thrift we must kys. That is, by my luck (see 3.315 and note), I must put my lips to the bottle.

385 prays at the partyng. The phrase means “save your praise until the departure” — that is, until after the performance, which clearly follows on the next line, where all three sing together. Shepherd 1 claims his drink at line 389.

396–97 And it were for a sogh / Ther is drynk enogh. That is, there is enough (imaginary) drink left to satisfy a sow, or possibly, there is enough to fill a “sough,” meaning a bog or small pool.

399 Ye be both knafys. Shepherd 3 curses the other two for draining the cup, calling them “knaves,” but Shepherd 1 responds that they are all rightly called knaves, being poor laborers rather than knights (and thus not properly addressed as “sir” as at line 402).

412 begers frerys. The willingness of poor shepherds to support mendicant (begging) friars could be read as a sign of true charity if both fine food and friars were actually present; but in this context, the lines read as typical antifraternal satire, implying that friars are less “poor” or “hungry” than these shepherds.

418–25 A crosse lett . . . . God be oure spede. Shepherd 3 suggests making the sign of the cross, and then utters a ‘night spell’ in the form of a prayer that echoes, in garbled Latin, part of a prayer recorded in a 1555 book of York Hours, which likewise calls for making the sign of the cross: In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Marcus, Mattheus, Lucas, Joannes. Amen. / Jesus Nazarenus crucifixus, Rex Judeorum, Fili Dei, miserere mei. Amen (“In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Mark, Matthew, Luke, John. Amen. / Jesus the Nazarene, crucified, King of the Jews, Son of God, have mercy on me. Amen.” Translation mine.) For the full original text see Horae Eboracenses, p. 26.

426–38 Herkyn hyrdes . . . . Betwix two bestys. The parallel speech in the second Shepherds play (lines 920–932) is preceded by an explicit stage direction indicating that the angel sings before addressing the shepherds. In Luke 2:8–15, an angel speaks to the shepherds and is then joined by a multitude praising God, so the song referred to in line 440 might be sung after the speech (but by this single angel, in a florid style (“With small noytys emang” as Shepherd 1 describes it at line 442). In either case, the song would be “gloria in excelsis deo” (“Glory to God in the highest”), as designated both in the second Shepherds play and in Luke 2:14.

437–38 Ye shall fynde hym beforne / Betwix two bestys. See 9.929–32. The apocryphal gospel of Pseudo-Matthew 14 (Elliott, p. 94) refers to God as being revealed or made known “between two animals” largely on the basis of Habakkuk 3:2 (see the final note to the Prophets pageant, 7.a), although the canonical text refers to years, not animals. This misreading in part gave rise to the tradition of the beasts at the manger, evidently represented onstage.

449 I suppose it was a clowde. God spoke to the Israelites from cloud and fire when presenting them with the ten commandments (see Exodus 19:18, 20:18) and God’s voice from a bright cloud terrified Peter, John, and James at the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:5–6). The Shepherd is not sure what he has heard or seen in the dark of night, but he is similarly afraid.

450 In myn erys it sowde. That is, the sound rang in my ears (see MED swouen (v.1), sense a: “To resound roar, sough; of the ears: ring”). Shepherd 1 has just described the angel’s song as a frighteningly loud scream (see lines 445–48), and so could conceivably be describing the complex music as painful to his ears, employing the past tense of sow, meaning to cause pain or distress (see MED souen (v.2), sense a). However, he will alter describe those notes as “gentyll and small” (line 604).

463 yond starne. The biblical accounts refer to a star only in connection with the Magi (in Matthew 2), not the shepherds (in Luke 2). This star as stage property is moveable (see lines 650–52 and note) and its appearance likely accompanied that of the angel at line 426. The use of the past tense in lines 465–66 likely indicates that the star disappears from sight at this point; it reappears suddenly at lines 650–52, leading the way to the Nativity scene.

505–06 Sybyll . . . And Nabugodhonosor. The Sibyl appears in the Prophets play (see the note on her lines following 7.a.162), while Nebuchadnezzar similarly figures in the lectio that is the ultimate source for that play (see the first and last notes to 7.a; for the relevant dialogue, see Young, p. 35).

508–10 In the fornace . . . . fourt stode before. In Daniel 3, three young men are thrown in a furnace for refusing King Nebuchadnezzar’s order to worship a golden statue, but are rescued after they are seen alive in the flames along with an unknown fourth figure.

517 Jeromy. For the messianic prophecy most closely associated with Jeremiah, taken from the book of Baruch (considered apocryphal in Protestant tradition), see the final note to 7.a.

518–20 Moyses . . . . A bushe burnand. See Exodus 3:2; the burning bush, unconsumed by flame, is often held to prefigure the Virgin conception and birth, as noted in lines 526–42 that follow; see also 6.105 and note.

543–50 Abacuc and Ely . . . . And Daniel also. The list of prophets and prophecies here, including Virgil (in the stanza that follows), Isaiah, Sibyl, Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah, and Moses (in the preceding stanzas), is ultimately derived from the lectio for the Christmas Matins service (see Young, and the initial note to 7.a), but with the substitution for Simeon (see 22.53–64) of “Ely” or Elijah. According to Malachias 4:5, Elijah was to return to earth prior to the coming of the Messiah; he is thus typologically identified with John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:10–14), the son of Elizabeth and Zacharias (see Luke 1:5–17), who according to tradition was only six months old when Jesus was born.

After 559 Iam nove progenies . . . . redeunt Saturnia regna. These extrametrical, disordered and slightly misquoted lines from Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue (lines 6–7), often interpreted as Christian prophecy, are translated and interpreted by Shepherd 1 in the next stanza.

560 Wemé. An exclamation of impatience or surprise (see 2.150 and note).

565–66 It semys . . . Ye have lerd youre Caton. The fourth-century collection of Latin moral proverbs known as the Distichs of Cato was a standard medieval school textbook.

598 Foure and twenty to a long. That is, 24 notes (semiminims or crotchets, equivalent to modern quarter notes) to one “long” note or measure, indicating a highly elaborate style of music.

607 Now lyst I lepen. Now will I leap to it — that is, begin to sing.

609 Let se as ye yelp. Let us see how you yelp — that is, hit those high notes.

612 thy hart is in thy hose. Proverbial expression of downheartedness. See Whiting H295.

620 Take at my sangre. That is, join me in singing; as indicated by the next line, they do so immediately. Shepherd 3 has already stated that he did not want to sing alone (line 611). Much as the supposedly ignorant shepherds suddenly prove able to cite biblical prophecy and Latin poetry, what they sing could well be an accomplished polyphonic version of what the angel sang solo. On the other hand, as in York and Chester, the shepherds’ attempt may fall comically short of the angelic model, signifying the gap between the earthly and heavenly realms.

627 No lyght mase the mone. That is, the moon makes no light; it is dark. The star that they saw earlier at line 463 is not visible at this point.

639–46 And God . . . . are thare eene. That is, if God on high would show us that creature (the Christ child), by God, we could say that we had seen what many saints, inspired by the prophets, had desired to see; although they prayed to see him, they are now dead.

651–52 It commys on a rase / Yond sterne us to. The star is moving quickly toward us (see line 463 and note).

658 Ye ar of the old store. You are old stock — that is, the eldest person present.

659 It semys you, iwys. That is, it befits you as eldest to go first.

660–92 Hayll . . . . As Pamela King has pointed out, this sort of formulaic greeting, with multiple lines beginning with the word “Hayll” (a rhetorical figure known as anaphora or repetitio), is in English tradition closely tied to the Elevation of the Host as well as to the Annunciation and the well-known “Hail Mary” of Luke 1:28 (see King, Worship of the City, pp. 20–27).

672 lytyll spruse cofer. The wooden box or coffer suggests a coffin (see MED cofre (n.), sense 3a), symbolic of Christ’s death. The other gifts, too, can be seen as symbolic, the ball (line 681) signifying the world or the regal orb, and the bottle (line 694) alluding to the biblical analogy of new wine in new bottles (Matthew 9:17).

704 he sett all on seven. That is, he created the world in seven days.

724 Syng we in syght. They sing to close the play — possibly a reprise of what they sang earlier (see note to line 620 above).


Play 8, THE SHEPHERDS (1): 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).

125 Jhon. SC: Ihon. MS: thom.

232 knawe. So EP, emending for rhyme. MS, SC: knowe.

257 Boy (speech heading). MS: Jak garcio; lines 272 and 273 have the speech heading garcio (“boy”). See Explanatory Note.

268 Ye thre bere the bell. MS: there is a cross in the left margin beside the line. SC suggest that this “may indicate that Ye thre should be Ye two” (p. 487n257) and that the Boy may identified with Shepherd 3; see Explanatory Notes to lines 257 and 268. However, this marginal cross resembles that one beside line 413, and may indicate that the dialogue between these marks — the entire feast scene — was originally set off from the rest of the play, either as optional or as an addition to the copy text.

346 clergé. EP emend to clergete for rhyme.

365–97 Behold how . . . . drynk enogh. MS: in the outer margin, parallel to the edge, a late hand has written Memoranndum that I Samul (the tops of some letters cropped) and below that Memorandum that I followed by what looks like S Humer — the rest being cropped with the top edge of the leaf.

413 It draes nere nyght. MS: there is a cross in the left margin beside the line; see note to line 268 above.

428 youre. MS: the y has been added in a different hand.

575–85 And yit more . . . . land and se. MS: These lines, at the top of a page of writing that is notably worn and faded, have been overwritten in darker ink, as have a few parts of the text further down the page. In the top margin above the name of Saturn (saturne, line 576) a later hand has written seith.

617 Go to now, begyn. MS: in the right margin, a later hand has written sing (as the shepherds do a few lines later — see Explanatory Note to line 620).

627 mase the. So SC. EP: makethe. The words have been overwritten (see note to 575–85 above) such that they run together with a k written over the long s of mase.

632 Then. MS: badly faded.

646 closyd. EP: I-closyd. MS has an uncorrected stroke before closyd.

 
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8. The Shepherds (1)

from: The Towneley Plays  2017








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Shepherd 1 (Gib)
Shepherd 2 (John Horn)
Shepherd 3 (Slowpace)
Boy
Angel
Mary

Incipit pagina pastorum. 1

Lord, what thay ar weyll
That hens ar past,
For thay noght feyll
Theym to downe cast. 2
Here is mekyll unceyll
And long has it last:
Now in hart, now in heyll,
Now in weytt, now in blast,
Now in care,
Now in comforth agane;
Now is fayre, now is rane,
Now in hart full fane
And after full sare.

Thus this warld, as I say,
Farys on ylk syde,
For after oure play
Com sorows unryde;
For he that most may
When he syttys in pryde,
When it comys on assay
Is kesten downe wyde.
This is seyn:
When ryches is he
Then comys poverté;
Horsman Jak Copé
Walkys then, I weyn.

I thank it God.
Hark ye what I mene:
For even or for od
I have mekyll tene;
As hevy as a sod
I grete with myn eene
When I nap on my cod
For care that has bene
And sorow.
All my shepe ar gone;
I am not left oone.
The rott has theym slone.
Now beg I and borow.

My handys may I wryng
And mowrnyng make,
Bot if good will spryng
The countré forsake;
Fermes thyk ar comyng.
My purs is bot wake;
I have nerehand nothyng
To pay nor to take.
I may syng,
With purs penneles
That makys this hevynes,
“Wo is me this dystres”
And has no helpyng.

Thus sett I my mynde,
Truly to neven,
By my wytt to fynde
To cast the warld in seven.
My shepe have I tynde
By the moren full even;
Now if hap will grynde,
God from his heven
Send grace.
To the fare will I me
To by shepe, perdé,
And yit may I multyplé
For all this hard case.

Bensté, bensté
Be us emang,
And save all that I se
Here in this thrang.
He save you and me,
Overtwhart and endlang,
That hang on a tre. 3
I say you no wrang.
Cryst save us
From all myschefys,
From robers and thefys,
From those mens grefys
That oft ar agans us.

Both bosters and bragers
God kepe us fro,
That with thare long dagers
Dos mekyll wo,
From all byll hagers
With colknyfys that go.
Sich wryers and wragers
Gose to and fro
For to crak.
Whoso says hym agane
Were better be slane; 4
Both ploghe and wane
Amendys will not make.

He will make it as prowde
A lord as he were,
With a hede lyke a clowde,
Felterd his here.
He spekys on lowde
With a grym bere
I wold not have trowde,
So galy in gere
As he glydys.
I wote not the better
Nor wheder is gretter,
The lad or the master,
So stowtly he strydys.

If he hask me oght
That he wold to his pay, 5
Full dere bese it boght
If I say nay.
Bot God that all wroght
To thee now I say,
Help that thay were broght
To a better way
For thare sawlys,
And send theym good mendyng
With a short endyng,
And with thee to be lendyng
When that thou callys.

How, Gyb, goode morne.
Wheder goys thou?
Thou goys over the corne.
Gyb, I say, how!
Who is that? John Horne,
I make God a vowe.
I say not in skorne,
Jhon, how farys thou?
Hay, ha,
Ar ye in this towne?
Yey, by my crowne.
I thoght by youre gowne
This was youre aray.

I am ever elyke;
Wote I never what it gars,
Is none in this ryke
A shepard farys wars. 6
Poore men ar in the dyke
And oft-tyme mars;
The warld is slyke
Also helpars
Is none here.
It is sayde full ryfe,
A man may not wyfe
And also thryfe
And all in a yere.

Fyrst must us crepe
And sythen go.
I go to by shepe.
Nay, not so.
What, dreme ye or slepe?
Where shuld thay go?
Here shall thou none kepe.
A, good syr, ho!
Who am I?
I wyll pasture my fe
Wheresoever lykys me.
Here shall thou theym se.
Not so hardy.

Not oone shepe tayll
Shall thou bryng hedyr.
I shall bryng, no fayll,
A hundreth togedyr.
What, art thou in ayll?
Longys thou oght-whedir?
Thay shall go saunce fayll.
Go now, bell-weder.
I say, tyr!
I say, tyr, now agane.
I say, skyp over the plane.
Wold thou never so fane.
Tup, I say, whyr!

What, wyll thou not yit,
I say, let the shepe go?
Whop!
           Abyde yit.
Will thou bot so?
Knafe, hens I byd flytt,
As good that thou do
Or shall I thee hytt
On thi pate — lo,
Shall thou reyll.
I say, gyf the shepe space.
Syr, a letter of youre grace.
Here comys Slawpase
Fro the myln-whele.

What ado, what ado
Is this you betweyn?
A good day, thou and thou.
Hark what I meyn
You to say:
I was bowne to by store,
Drofe my shepe me before;
He says not oone hore
Shall pas by this way.

Bot and he were wood
This way shall thay go.
Yey, bot tell me good:
Where ar youre shepe, lo?
Now, syr, by my hode,
Yit se I no mo
Not syn I here stode.
God gyf you wo
And sorow!
Ye fysh before the nett,
And stryfe on this bett.
Sich folys never I mett
Evyn or at morow.

It is wonder to wyt
Where wytt shuld be fownde.
Here ar old knafys yit
Standys on this grownde;
These wold by thare wytt
Make a shyp be drownde.
He were well qwytt
Had sold for a pownde
Sich two. 7
Thay fyght and thay flyte
For that at comys not tyte.
It is far to byd “hyte”
To an eg or it go.

Tytter want ye sowll
Then sorow, I pray.
Ye brayde of Mowll
That went by the way;
Many shepe can she poll
Bot oone had she ay.
Bot she happynyd full fowll:
Hyr pycher, I say,
Was broken;
“Ho, God” she sayde,
Bot oone shepe yit she hade.
The mylk pycher was layde;
The skarthis was the tokyn.

Bot syn ye ar bare
Of wysdom to knawe,
Take hede how I fare
And lere at my lawe.
Ye nede not to care
If ye folow my sawe.
Hold ye my mare;
This sek thou thrawe
On my bak
Whylst I with my hand
Lawse the sek band.
Com nar and by stand,
Both Gyg and Jak.

Is not all shakyn owte
And no meyll is therin?
Yey, that is no dowte.
So is youre wyttys thyn.
And ye look well abowte
Nawther more nor myn.
So gose youre wyttys owte
Evyn as it com in.
Geder up
And seke it agane.
May we not be fane?
He has told us full plane
Wysdom to sup.

Now God gyf you care,
Foles all sam.
Sagh I never none so fare
Bot the foles of Gotham.
Wo is hir that yow bare,
Youre syre and youre dam;
Had she broght furth an hare,
A shepe, or a lam,
Had bene well.
Of all the foles I can tell
From heven unto hell,
Ye thre bere the bell.
God gyf you unceyll.

How pastures oure fee?
Say me, good pen.
Thay ar gryssed to the kne.
Fare fall thee.
                       Amen.
If ye will, ye may se
Youre bestes, ye ken.
Sytt we downe all thre
And drynk, shall we then?
Yey, torde,
I am lever ete.
What is drynk withoute mete?
Gett mete, gett,
And sett us a borde.

Then may we go dyne
Oure bellys to fyll.
Abyde unto syne.
Be God, syr, I nyll.
I am worthy the wyne.
Me thynk it good skyll
My servyse I tyne;
I fare full yll
At youre mangere.
Trus, go we to mete.
It is best that we trete;
I lyst not to plete
To stand in thi dangere.

Thou has ever bene curst
Syn we met togeder.
Now in fayth, if I durst,
Ye ar even my broder.
Syrs, let us cryb furst
For oone thyng or oder
That thise wordys be purst,
And let us go foder
Oure mompyns.
Lay furth of oure store:
Lo, here, browne of a bore.
Set mustard afore;
Oure mete now begyns.

Here a foote of a cowe,
Well sawsed I wene,
The pestell of a sowe
That powderd has bene,
Two blodyngys I trow,
A leveryng betwene.
Do gladly, syrs, now,
My breder bedene,
With more:
Both befe and moton
Of an ewe that was roton —
Good mete for a gloton.
Ete of this store.

I have here in my mayll
Sothen and rost
Even of an ox tayll
That wold not be lost.
Ha ha, goderhayll.
I let for no cost
A good py or we fayll —
This is good for the frost
In a mornyng —
And two swyne gronys,
All a hare bot the lonys.
We myster no sponys
Here at oure mangyng.

Here is to recorde
The leg of a goys
With chekyns endorde,
Pork, partryk to roys,
A tart for a lorde.
How thynk ye this doys?
A calf lyver skorde
With the veryose —
Good sawse.
This is a restorité
To make a good appeté.
Yee speke all by clergé
I here by your clause.

Cowth ye by youre gramery
Reche us a drynk
I shuld be more mery; 8
Ye wote what I thynk.
Have good ayll of Hely.
Bewar now, I wynk,
For and thou drynk drely
In thy poll wyll it synk.
A, so,
This is boyte of oure bayll,
Good holsom ayll.
Ye hold long the skayll;
Now lett me go to.

I shrew those lyppys
Bot thou leyff me som parte.
Be God, he bot syppys;
Begylde thou art —
Behold how he kyppys.
I shrew you so smart
And me on my hyppys
Bot if I gart
Abate.
Be thou wyne, be thou ayll,
Bot if my brethe fayll
I shall sett thee on sayll;
God send thee good gayte.

Be my dam saull, Alyce,
It was sadly dronken.
Now as ever have I blys
To the bothom it is sonken.
Yit a botell here is.
That is well spoken.
By my thryft we must kys.
That had I forgoten.
Bot hark,
Whoso can best syng
Shall have the begynnyng.
Now, prays at the partyng,
I shall sett you on warke.

We have done oure parte
And songyn right weyll;
I drynk for my part.
Abyde, lett cop reyll.
Godys forbot thou spart
And thou drynk every deyll.
Thou has dronken a quart;
Therfor choke thee the deyll.
Thou rafys.
And it were for a sogh
Ther is drynk enogh.
I shrew the handys it drogh.
Ye be both knafys.

Nay, we knaves all;
Thus thynk me best,
So, syr, shuld ye call.
Furth let it rest;
We will not brall.
Then wold I we fest.
This mete who shall
Into panyere kest? 9
Syrs, herys,
For oure saules lett us do
Poore men gyf it to. 10
Geder up, lo, lo,
Ye hungré begers frerys.

It draes nere nyght.
Trus, go we to rest;
I am even redy dyght.
I thynk it the best.
For ferde we be fryght
A crosse lett us kest:
Cryst crosse benedyght
Eest and west,
For drede.
Jesus onazorus
Crucyefixus
Morcus, Andreus,
God be oure spede.

Herkyn, hyrdes, awake!
Gyf lovyng ye shall.
He is borne for youre sake,
Lorde perpetuall;
He is comen to take
And rawnson you all
Youre sorowe to slake.
Kyng emperiall,
He behestys
That chyld is borne
At Bethelem this morne;
Ye shall fynde hym beforne
Betwix two bestys.

A, Godys dere Dominus,
What was that sang?
It was wonder curiose,
With small noytys emang.
I pray to God, save us
Now in this thrang.
I am ferd, by Jesus.
Somwhat be wrang:
Me thoght
Oone scremyd on lowde;
I suppose it was a clowde.
In myn erys it sowde,
By hym that me boght.

Nay, that may not be,
I say you certan,
For he spake to us thre
As he had bene a man.
When he lemyd on this lee
My hart shakyd than.
An angell was he,
Tell you I can,
No dowte.
He spake of a barne:
We must seke hym, I you warne;
That betokyns yond starne
That standys yonder owte

It was mervell to se,
So bright as it shone;
I wold have trowyd veraly
It had bene thoner-flone,
Bot I sagh with myn ee
As I lenyd to this stone.
It was a mery gle,
Sich hard I never none,
I recorde:
As he sayde in a skreme,
Or els that I dreme,
We shuld go to Bedleme
To wyrship that lorde.

That same childe is he
That prophetys of told
Shuld make them fre
That Adam had sold.
Take tent unto me:
This is inrold
By the wordys of Isae,
A prynce most bold
Shall he be,
And kyng with crowne
Sett on David trone;
Sich was never none
Seyn with oure ee.

Also, Isay says
Oure faders us told
That a vyrgyn shuld pas
Of Jesse that wold
Bryng furth by grace
A floure so bold;
That vyrgyn now has
These wordys uphold
As ye se.
Trust it now we may
He is borne this day:
Exiet virga
De radice Jesse. 11

Of hym spake more,
Sybyll as I weyn,
And Nabugodhonosor,
From oure faythe alyene:
In the fornace where thay wore
Thre childre sene,
The fourt stode before,
Godys son lyke to bene.
That fygure
Was gyffen by revalacyon
That God wold have a son;
This is a good lesson
Us to consydure.

Of hym spake Jeromy
And Moyses also
Where he sagh hym by
A bushe burnand, lo!
When he cam to aspy
If it were so,
Unburnyd was it truly
At commyng therto —
A wonder!
That was for to se
Hir holy vyrgynyté
That she unfylyd shuld be,
Thus can I ponder,

And shuld have a chyld,
Sich was never sene.
Pese, man, thou art begyld.
Thou shall se hym with eene —
Of a madyn so myld,
Greatt mervell I mene,
Yee, and she unfyld,
A virgyn clene —
So soyne.
Nothyng is inpossybyll,
Sothly, that God wyll;
It shal be stabyll
That God wyll have done.

Abacuc and Ely
Prophesyde so,
Elezabeth and Zacharé
And many other mo,
And David as veraly
Is witnes therto,
John Baptyste sewrly,
And Daniel also.
So sayng,
He is Godys son alon;
Without hym shal be none.
His sete and his trone
Shall ever be lastyng.

Virgill in his poetré
Sayde in his verse
Even thus by grameré,
As I shall reherse:
     Iam nova progenies celo demittitur alto;
     Iam rediet virgo redeunt Saturnia regna. 12
Wemé, tord! what speke ye
Here in myn eeres?
Tell us no clergé.
I hold you of the frères;
Ye preche.
It semys by youre laton
Ye have lerd youre Caton.
Herk, syrs, ye fon,
I shall you teche:

He sayde from heven
A new kynde is send,
Whom a vyrgyn to neven,
Oure mys to amend,
Shall conceyve full even.
Thus make I an end.
And yit more to neven,
That Saturne shall bend
Unto us
With peasse and plenté,
With ryches and menee,
Good luf and charyté
Blendyd amanges us.

And I hold it trew,
For ther shuld be,
When that kyng commys new,
Peasse by land and se.
Now brethere, adew.
Take tent unto me:
I wold that we knew
Of this song so fre
Of the angell;
I hard by hys steven
He was send downe fro heven.
It is trouth that ye neven;
I hard hym well spell.

Now by God that me boght,
It was a mery song.
I dar say that he broght
Foure and twenty to a long.
I wold it were soght,
That same, us emong. 13
In fayth, I trow noght,
So many he throng
On a heppe.
Thay were gentyll and small,
And well tonyd withall.
Yee, bot I can thaym all.
Now lyst I lepe.

Brek outt youre voce;
Let se as ye yelp.
I may not for the pose
Bot I have help.
A, thy hart is in thy hose.
Now in payn of a skelp
This sang thou not lose.
Thou art an yll qwelp
For angre.
Go to now, begyn.
He lyst not well ryn.
God lett us never blyn;
Take at my sangre.

Now an ende have we doyn
Of oure song this tyde.
Fayr fall thi growne.
Well has thou hyde.
Then furth lett us ron;
I wyll not abyde.
No lyght mase the mone
That have I asspyde.
Nevertheles,
Lett us hold oure beheste.
That hold I best.
Then must we go eest,
After my ges.

Wold God that we myght
This yong bab see.
Many prophetys that syght
Desyryd veralee
To have seen that bright.
And God so hee
Wold shew us that wyght,
We myght say, perdé,
We had sene
That many sant desyryd
With prophetys inspyryd;
If thay hym requyryd,
Yit closyd ar thare eene.

God graunt us that grace.
God so do.
Abyde, syrs, a space.
Lo yonder, lo!
It commys on a rase,
Yond sterne us to.
It is a grete blase.
Oure gate let us go.
Here he is.
Who shall go in before?
I ne rek, by my hore.
Ye ar of the old store;
It semys you, iwys.

Hayll, kyng I thee call;
Hayll, most of myght!
Hayll, the worthyst of all!
Hayll, duke, hayll knyght!
Of greatt and small
Thou art Lorde by right.
Hayll, perpetuall;
Hayll, faryst wyght!
Here I offer:
I pray thee to take
If thou wold for my sake
With this may thou lake,
This lytyll spruse cofer.

Hayll, lytyll tyn mop,
Rewarder of mede!
Hayll, bot oone drop
Of grace at my nede.
Hayll, lytyll mylksop!
Hayll, David sede!
Of oure crede thou art crop.
Hayll, in godhede,
This ball
That thou wold resave.
Lytyll is that I have;
This wyll I vowchesave
To play thee withall.

Hayll, maker of man!
Hayll, swetyng,
Hayll, so as I can.
Hayll, praty mytyng!
I cowche to thee, than,
For fayn here gretyng.
Hayll, Lord, here I ordan
Now at oure metyng
This botell.
It is an old byworde:
It is a good bowrde
For to drynk of a gowrde.
It holdys a mett potell.

He that all myghtys may,
The makere of heven —
That is for to say,
My son that I neven —
Rewarde you this day
As he sett all on seven.
He graunt you for ay
His blys full even
Contynuyng;
He gyf you good grace.
Tell furth of this case!
He spede youre pase,
And graunt you good endyng.

Farewell, fare Lorde,
With thy moder also.
We shall this recorde
Whereas we go.
We mon all be restorde;
God graunt it be so.
Amen to that worde!
Syng we therto
On hight:
To joy all sam
With myrth and gam,
To the lawde of this lam
Syng we in syght.

Explicit una pagina pastorum. 14
 









well off
hence
feel

much misery

good spirits; health
wet; wind


rain
glad
sore


each

severe
can do most
(see note)
to the test
thrown; far
seen (evident)
wealth; high

Jack Plenty; (see note)
think

(see note)

odd
much anger

weep; eyes
pillow



one
slain; (see note)



mourning
Unless

Abundant taxes
purse; of little worth




heaviness
distress
There is no help for it


say

(see note)
lost
murrain; (see note)
chance; oppress


fair
buy; by God
thrive


[God’s] blessing
among
(see note)
crowd

Crosswise; lengthwise

wrong



griefs


boasters; braggarts


much woe
(see note)
long knives
betrayers; wranglers; (see note)

boast


wagon; (see note)



as if
cloud
Tangled; hair
aloud
clamor
believed
gaily; attire

know
which

proudly



dearly be it





souls
correction
quick death
abiding


(see note)
Where
grain




(t-note)


head

attire

alike
Know; causes
realm

ditch
often perish
such


frequently
marry
thrive


crawl; (see note)
then
buy






livestock


bold

tail
here


Have you been drinking
Do you hope to go anywhere
without fail
(see note)
(see note)

field
glad
Ram; (see note)

yet


wait

Knave; depart


head
reel

small part
Slowpace; (see note)
mill wheel

(see note)


Listen; mean

going to buy livestock
Drove
hair


even if; mad



head
no more
since


(see note)
quarrel; wager
fools
Evening; morning

know

rogues [who] still


ship
paid


fight; argue
that which; quickly
giddy up; (see note)
egg; before

Sooner; food; (see note)

resemble Moll; (see note)

shear
always
fared badly
pitcher



broken
shards; evidence


(t-note)

learn; rule

suggestion
(see note)
sack; throw


Loosen; tie

(see note)

shaken
meal

thin
If; (see note)
Neither; less


Gather
pack
glad
plain
taste

(see note); (t-note)
Fools together
Saw; behave
(see note)





count

(see note); (t-note)
misfortune

livestock
(see note)
in grass
May good things happen to you


beasts; know


turd
would rather
food

table



until later
will not

reasoning; (see note)
service; waste

feast
Pack up; dinner
negotiate
desire; argue
power

disagreeable


brother
eat; (see note)

put away
feed
teeth
provisions
brawn

feast


sauced; suppose
leg
seasoned
blood puddings
liver pudding

together


(see note)



bag
Boiled meat; roasted


good luck

pie


pig snouts
loins
need; spoons
feasting


goose
glazed chickens; (see note)
praise-worthy partridge

does
scored; (see note)
verjuice
sauce
restorative
appetite
learnedly; (t-note)
hear; conclusion




know
ale of Ely; (see note)
close [my] eyes; (see note)
if; slowly
head

remedy; misery; (see note)

drinking cup


curse; lips
Unless; leave
sips
Beguiled
snatches; [fol. 35v]; (t-note)
curse; severely; (see note)
hips

cease
wine; ale
Unless; breath
sail
journey

mother’s soul
deeply

bottom; sunken; (see note)


(see note)




(see note)
to work


sung

[the] cup go round
forbid; spare it
Even if; portion

devil
raves
sow; (see note)

emptied
rogues; (see note)

servants



fight
feast

basket cast
hear



begging friars; (see note)

draws; (t-note)
Pack up
prepared

fear; frightened
(see note)
blessed





aid

Listen; shepherds; (see note)

(t-note)


ransom
relieve

promises


(see note)
Between

Lord; [fol. 36r]

marvelously skillful
brief notes intermingled

crowd
frightened
wrong

screamed aloud
(see note)
ears; resounded; (see note)





As if
shone; meadow




child

star; (see note)
out there



believed truly
thunderbolt
eye
leaned upon
music
heard
remember
scream

Bethlehem






Pay attention
recorded (enrolled)
Isaiah



throne





virgin


flower









(see note)
Nebuchadnezzar
alien
furnace; were; (see note)

fourth


given




Jeremiah; (see note)
(see note)
saw
burning
see






undefiled




Peace; deluded
eyes




soon
impossible
Truly
secure


Habakkuk; Elijah; (see note)

Zacharias
more
truly

surely


alone
Besides
throne




learning

(see note)

turd; (see note)

learning
friars

Latin; (see note)
learned; Cato
fools




name
sin


(t-note)


peace
retinue
love






adieu (goodbye)
Pay attention



voice


say




(see note)


expect nothing
pressed together
heap

toned
know
(see note)


(see note)
head cold
Unless
you are [too] downhearted; (see note)
slap
ruin
whelp

(t-note)
wishes; proceed
cease
song; (see note)

done
time
May good things befall your snout
sped
forth; hurry
stay
makes; moon; (see note); (t-note)
seen

promise

(t-note)
guess


babe

verily

And if; high; (see note)
creature
by God

saint

required
(t-note)




Look over there
in a rush; (see note)
star
blaze
path

first
know; hair
stock; (see note)
befits; certainly; (see note)

(see note)






fairest creature



play
spruce box; (see note)

tiny baby
merit


infant
[King] David’s seed
faith; top


receive

give





pretty child
bow
joy
ordain

bottle
proverb
jest
gourd
exactly two quarts

is almighty


name

(see note)
forever




pace


fair

repeat
Wherever
shall
may


high
together
game
praise; lamb
(see note)


 

Go To 9. The Shepherds (2)