Croxton Play of the Sacrament
CROXTON PLAY OF THE SACRAMENT: FOOTNOTES
1 The list of dramatis personae occurs as a colophon in the manuscript.
2 Masters, if it pleases you to hear the argument of this play
3 And afterward they took that blessed bread so wholesome
4 Where power is beyond the ability of the mind to tell
5 Now Christ, who is our Creator, may He protect us from shame
6 May He preserve us who move upon the earth with happiness
7 For if there were a country to buy now, I would not hesitate
8 Among the Chaldeans and the Catalans, known is my coming
9 In Lombardy and in Luxembourg, there is my pleasure to be found
10 Priest (i.e., Isoder) No man shall delay or trouble you at this time
11 For you are distinguished and well-known in the amount of your wealth
12 Who was your maker and holds you dear
13 Lines 137–38: But Peter Paul, my clerk (priest), I pray you go fully / Throughout all Heraclea so that you do not hold back
14 Now, almighty Muhammad, distinguished is your majesty
15 Therefore you ought to pay attention to me carefully
16 Lines 219–20: As soon as it might be taken out of their hands / I would agree to help make it sorrowful
17 I am able to buy and sell with him immediately
18 To sell to you that dear one [God]
19 But I believe He paid for that dearly (i.e., with the Crucifixion)
20 They behaved as men drunk from piments (sweetened and spiced wines) or vernage (a strong, sweet Italian wine)
21 But I would have this bread put to a test
22 As I recall, I shall make known to you a good trick
23 This is skillfully planned, thus to stir up this trouble
24 Lines 617-18: The swelling of the penis and men suffering from hernia he will see / All those that have the catarrh (cold), the head-cold, or the phthisis (tuberculosis)
25 Lines 717–18: O wonderful Jews attend and see / If there be any sorrow like to my sorrow
26 You are the protector of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
27 With our tears let us baptize our conscience
28 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed
29 From this sorrowful appearance Thou will turn back (i.e., into the Host)
30 Lines 866-67: Be strong in war, and fight with the ancient serpent, / And receive the eternal kingdom, etc.
31 We submit ourselves to your reasonable authority
32 And by the spiritual authority that belongs to my rank
CROXTON PLAY OF THE SACRAMENT: EXPLANATORY NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS: Davis: Davis, ed., Non-Cycle Plays and Fragments; ME: Middle English; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MS: Dublin, Trinity College MS F.4.20; MSH: Salatko Petryszcze, ed., Le Mistere de la Saincte Hostie, trans. Curtis R. H. Jirsa and John T. Sebastian, with the assistance of Alice Colby-Hall. OED: Oxford English Dictionary; s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name.
1–80 Now the Father . . . with a mery stevyn! The first eighty lines of the text constitute the play’s “banns,” a proclamation delivered several days in advance of the actual performance by two vexillatores, or banner-bearers. The banns served as the medieval equivalent of the present-day film trailer. First and foremost, the vexillatores announce the “entent” of their “mater” (line 6): to reenact miracles done by the Holy Sacrament in Heraclea in Aragon. The statement that these events are “representyd now in yower syght” (line 10) suggests that this proclamation might have been accompanied by a dumb show in which the main action of the play was mimed but not fully to the play’s conclusion. In this regard, the banns serve as a teaser: a prospective audience is invited to witness the climax at the actual performance. The banns also announce the time and location of the impending performance (line 74: “At Croxston on Monday yt shall be sen”). Similar banns accompany the dramatic scripts of the Castle of Perseverance, the N-Town plays, and the Chester plays, for which two sets of banns, one pre- and one post-Reformation, survive.
9 Sovereyns. The standard gloss on sovereyns is “lords,” a term of respect that does not necessarily carry class or status implications. See MED, s.v. soverain (n. 1d). Similar addresses can be found in the morality play Mankind and in the surviving epilogue of the so-called Reynes extracts. For a discussion of these and other terms for addressing audiences of medieval English drama, see Marshall, “‘O Ye Souerens þat Sytt and Ye Brothern þat Stonde Ryght Wppe.’”
11 Aragon. Davis notes that a Host-miracle play was performed in Rome in 1473 in honor of Leonore of Aragon and conjectures that the author of the Play of the Sacrament may have known of it and had it in mind when selecting the location of his play (p. lxxiii). See line 56, where 1 Vexillator refers to knowledge of a Host-miracle in Rome. Lampert (Gender and Jewish Difference from Paul to Shakespeare) pp. 109–11, discusses the importance of the play’s setting in Aragon given the thorny question of religious identity in Spain in the aftermath of several large-scale forced conversions of Jews as well as England’s extensive trading contacts with Spain in the fifteenth century.
12 Eraclea. “Heraclea,” the imaginary town in which the play is set, suggests some association with Hercules. Hercules’ tenth labor, the retrieval of the cattle of Geryon, took him to a place called Erytheia, which was later associated with what is now southern Spain. In the course of completing this task, Hercules established his so-called Pillars, the promontories of Gibraltar and Ceuta which flank the Strait of Gibraltar. Medieval Christian historiographers further developed the mythical associations between Hercules and the Iberian Peninsula by writing various accounts of the foundation of important cities by Hercules. The compilers of the Primera crónica general de España (First General Chronicle of Spain) during the thirteenth-century reign of the Castilian king Alfonso X (Alfonso the Wise) record, for example, the founding of Seville by Hercules (with the aid of Atlas, who in the legend is well versed in astrology). See Robert B. Tate, “Mythology in Spanish Historiography of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,” Hispanic Review 22 (1954), 1–18. The playwright’s association of an Heraclea with Aragon may ultimately derive from a similar legend concerning Barcelona. According to the thirteenth-century archbishop of Toledo, Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, after defeating Geryon, tlineHercules traveled about Spain, where new cities sprang up in his wake. Rodrigo recounts that having moored eight of his nine boats in Galicia, Hercules set out on the ninth along the coast and established another new city called “Barchinona,” so named for that ninth ship, the barca nona. Barchinona in time would become Barcelona. See Rodericus Ximenius de Rada, Historia de Rebus Hispaniae sive Historia Gothica, ed. Juan Fernández Valverde (Turnhout: Brepols, 1987), p. 17.
19 Surrey. Syria (“Surrey”) denotes less the actual place — the playwright’s direct experience of the Near East was almost certainly nonexistent — than an exotic and distinctly anti-Christian otherworld against which Christendom might define itself. The Syrian Jews of the play therefore worship Muhammad in a conflation common during the Middle Ages in which the geographical and theological boundaries between Christianity’s enemies were easily blurred. See Chemers, “Anti-Semitism, Surrogacy, and the Invocation of Mohammed”; Delaney, “Chaucer’s Prioress, the Jews, and the Muslims”; Kruger, “Bodies of Jews”; and Cuffel, Gendering Disgust.
26 Because hys profer was of so lityll valewe. In the play proper, Aristorius initially refuses Jonathas’ offer not, as here in the banns, because the price is too low but rather because he fears offending God. See lines 287–90.
37 grevid. ME greven has a wide semantic range encompassing the infliction of both physical and figurative injury. See MED s.v. greven. In this line grevid could mean “injured,” “harassed,” or “offended,” since the actions of Jonathas and his company result not only in actual physical injury to the Host, and consequently to the body of Christ, but also in blasphemy.
38 new passyoun. See note to line 732.
54 And by myght and power govyn to the prestys mowthe. The emphasis here is on the priest’s instrumentality in the sacramental life of the church. The Jews’ complaint echoes the “Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards,” a syllabus of objections to orthodox doctrine presented by the Lollards, a sect of reformers inspired by the teachings of the Oxford theologian John Wyclif, to Parliament and preserved in a later orthodox refutation by Roger Dymok. The "Conclusions" encapsulate several important criticisms of institutional priesthood that were voiced repeatedly throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including the charge that priests were not necessary for the confession of sins (see line 52, where the process of the Jews’ conversion is described by the banns as taking the form of an examination of conscience before the bishop). The ninth conclusion claims that “a feynid [feigned] power of absoliciun [absolution, i.e., of sins] enhaunsith [increases] prestis pride, and gevith hem [them] opertunité of privi [special] calling othir than we wele now say.” For the “Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards,” see Hudson, ed., Selections from English Wycliffite Writings, pp. 24–29 (p. 27). The playwright here reasserts orthodox teaching about the divine mandate given to priests to perform the sacraments. For the argument that the Croxton play was penned as a refutation of Lollard teaching, see Cutts, “Croxton Play: An Anti-Lollard Piece,” although recent critics have questioned the play’s concerns about Lollardy, for which see the Introduction above. See also lines 393–408, which imply Jonathas’ similar doubt about the role of the priest in effecting the consecration of the bread and wine of the Eucharist through mere speech, a point likewise taken up in the fourth of the Lollard Conclusions: “for thei wene [believe] that Godis bodi, that nevere schal out of hevene, be vertu [by power] of the prestis wordis schulde ben closid essenciali [essentially, i.e., in substance] in a litil bred that thei schewe [show] to the puple [people, i.e., during the elevation of the Host at the moment of consecration during the Mass]” (Hudson, p. 25).
55 elevyn. Only five Jews are converted in the play proper.
56 Rome. See note to line 11 above for the association of Host-miracles with both Aragon and Rome.
57 Thys marycle at Rome was presented, for sothe. This line, spoken by 2 Vexillator, repeats with minor modifications 1 Vexillator’s last line in the preceding stanza. The beginning of a dramatic speech with a variation of the ending of the previous speech is a mnemonic trick that features widely in late medieval English drama and is employed by the Croxton playwright elsewhere, as in lines 68–69.
58 the yere of our Lord a thowsand fowr hundder sixty and on. The year 1461 is taken as a terminus post quem for the original composition of the play, which is usually assumed to have been written down some time shortly thereafter. This date has never been seriously questioned, although if Davis is correct about the playwright’s knowledge of the performance of a Host-miracle in Rome before Leonore of Aragon in 1473 (see notes to lines 11 and 56 above), then the terminus post quem could be shifted to 1473. Glassman (Anti-Semitic Stereotypes without Jews, p. 24) inexplicably claims that the Play of the Sacrament was presented first in 1378. Nichols (“Croxton Play of the Sacrament") sees a possible allusion in the bishop’s exhortation to priests to keep their pyxes securely locked near the end of the play to an incident that took place in London in 1467, which might suggest the play’s composition some time after that year. See note to line 926 below.
64 That thei shuld nat lesse Hys hevenly lyght. The “heavenly light” is, of course, the eternal bliss of salvation. According to medieval theology, unconverted Jews were automatically damned on account of their nonbelief.
66 Unto youer gostly father shewe your synne. Here the vexillatores present the action of the play as an exemplum intended to encourage the regular practice of sacramental confession among the audience. Compare Everyman.
67 wanhope. “Wanhope,” or despair, was considered the greatest of sins by medieval theologians, for the refusal to believe in the possibility of salvation necessarily denied God’s power over sin. Chaucer’s Parson describes “wanhope” as “despeir of the mercy of God, that comth [comes] somtyme of to muche outrageous sorwe, and somtyme of to muche drede, ymaginynge that he hath doon so muche synne that it wol [will] nat availlen [avail] hym, though he wolde repenten hym and forsake synne. . . . Certes [certainly], aboven alle synnes thanne is this synne moost displesant to Crist, and moost adversarie” (Parson’s Tale, Canterbury Tales, X[I] 693, 697).
71 flesshe and blode. What is at issue for the Jews is the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, the belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are not merely symbolic of Christ’s body and blood but actually become His body and blood in substance. Transubstantiation was first defined at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 but not officially declared dogmatic until the Council of Trent in 1551. The playwright may here again be superimposing on the Jews the rejection of transubstantiation by the Lollards. See the note to line 54 above.
74 Croxston. Several Croxtons have been identified as possible referents for this line. Of them, the one near Thetford in southwestern Norfolk seems the most likely candidate for the play. See the Introduction above and the note to line 621 below.
77 trey and tene. A ME commonplace: “pain and suffering.” See MED, s.v. trei (n.2).
80 mynstrell blow up with a mery stevyn! This concluding line of the banns suggests that a musical performance followed the proclamation and the pantomime, if there was one. Compare Castle of Perseverance, ed. Klausner, line 156, “Trumpe up and lete us pace.”
80, s.d. Hereafter foloweth the Play of the Conversyon of Ser Jonathas the Jewe by Myracle of the Blyssed Sacrament. The manuscript here names the play, which emphasizes not only the Host-miracle but also the conversion of the Jews. Nevertheless, almost all scholars have instead preferred the editorial title of “The Croxton Play of the Sacrament.” The exception is Dox, who argues for the title given at this point in the manuscript ("Representation without Referent," “Medieval Drama as Documentation”).
81-124 Now Cryst . . . he ys nat able to abyde. Aristorius’ introductory speech, like Jonathas’ in lines 149–204 (see also the note to those lines below), is reminiscent of the boasting speeches of tyrants elsewhere in medieval drama. Aristorius’ claim, for instance, that he is known far and wide echoes Herod’s self-aggrandizing in the Towneley Magnus Herodes: “My name spryngys [springs] far and nere: / The doughtyest [boldest], men me call, / That ever ran with spere [spear], / A lord and kyng ryall” (16.157–60). See Towneley Plays, ed. Stevens and Cawley. The Coventry Shearmen and Taylors’ Herod similarly claims dominion over the entire world: “For I am evyn [even] he thatt [who] made bothe hevin and hell, / And of my myghte [mighty] powar holdith vp this world rownd” (p. 96, lines 438–39). See Coventry Corpus Christi Plays, ed. King and Davidson. The Christian protagonist of the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie is likewise a merchant but one who has enjoyed considerably less success than Aristorius and therefore finds herself having to pawn her personal effects, despite personal shame, merely to survive:
81 Now Cryst that ys our Creatour from shame He cure us. In light of Aristorius’ self-representation in the ensuing speech, this line seems ironic; neither shame nor God appear to be foremost on Aristorius’ mind.
The Woman It would be shameful for me to beg for
Bread with which to sustain myself
Because I was never a beggar.
I was instead a good merchant,
Merry and very happy,
Rich and in abundance all my life.
Yet I have done so much with my two hands
That I have come from more to less!
That’s how I am now, and I don’t know why.
But necessity knows no law! (MSH 18–27)
95 In Gene and in Jenyse and in Genewaye. “Jenyse” has not been satisfactorily identified. In this cataloging of far-flung ports and markets wherein Aristorius and his goods are famous, the playwright highlights his encyclopedic knowledge of geography by means of nearly alphabetical, alliterating lines. Aristorius’ listing echoes both the content and the organization of Book 15 of John Trevisa’s popular late fourteenth-century translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus’s De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the Properties of Things), one of the most important encyclopedias in England. Jonathas’ boasting about his acquisition of precious stones and rare spices in lines 157–88 and Colle’s conspicuous deployment of medical terms in the Brundich interlude likewise showcase the playwright’s learning in rhetorically virtuoso passages. See note 96 below for Trevisa’s commentary on “Saby.”
96 Saby. Saba, perhaps more familiar as Sheba on account of the famous queen who visits Solomon in 3 Kings 10, is located in present-day Yemen. Saba is associated in the story of Solomon and the queen of Sheba, as it is elsewhere in the Bible, with tremendous wealth not unlike that associated in the opening lines of the Play of the Sacrament with Aristorius and Jonathas. See, e.g., 3 Kings 10:1–2, 10:10: “And the queen of Saba, having heard of the fame of Solomon in the name of the Lord, came to try him with hard questions. And entering into Jerusalem with a great train, and riches, and camels that carried spices, and an immense quantity of gold, and precious stones, she came to king Solomon, and spoke to him all that she had in her heart. . . . And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices a very great store, and precious stones: there was brought no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Saba gave to king Solomon.” For additional biblical references to Saba as a land of spices, immense wealth, and trade, see Psalm 71:10, Isaias 60:6, Jeremias 6:20, and Ezechiel 27:22–23. See also the note to line 114 below. Trevisa, in his translation of Bartholomaeus (who follows Isidore of Seville and other authorities), tells us that “Sabea” is “a cuntrey in Arabia” nestled between the Persian and Arabian seas, Chaldea, and Ethiopia, and that the region produces frankincense and myrrh in abundance and may also have been the birthplace of the phoenix (On the Properties of Things, 2:802).
98 Braban. Brabant, Dordrecht (Dordrede in line 100), Gelderland (Gyldre in line 103), Holland (Holond in line 104), and Luxembourg (Lachborn in line 113) would have been familiar to fifteenth-century East Anglians on account of the steady commercial and intellectual trade between East Anglia and the Low Countries. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, p. 2) suggests that the Low Countries probably influenced the development of devotion in East Anglia. Granger (N-Town Play, pp. 150–63) explores the dramatic connections between the Low Countries and East Anglia.
102 Farre. Davis suggests the Faeroes, the small cluster of islands in the North Atlantic nestled between Britain, Iceland, and Norway and settled probably for the first time by Vikings from Norway in the early ninth century (p. 167).
111 Pondere. This place has not been identified.
114 Taryse. In one of the many surviving versions of his Travels, the fourteenth-century English knight John Mandeville describes Tharsia as a kingdom west of Cathay (China) from which hailed one of the Magi whose visit to the infant Jesus is recounted in Matthew 2. Mandeville identifies this region with “Turquesten,” present-day Turkestan. See The Buke of John Maundeuill, p. 125. In the Middle Ages Tharsia was associated with expensive, probably silken fabrics. The opulence of Arthur’s court in the opening scene of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is thus symbolized in the costly canopy made “of tars tapites innoghe,” of plenty of tapestries of tars (here the material so-named for the place), that envelops Guinevere (1.77). See Poems of the Pearl Manuscript, ed. Andrew and Waldron.
115 Oryon. This place has not been identified. Davis suggests Orléans as a possibility (p. 168).
119 as a lordys pere thus lyve I. Aristorius imagines himself as a member of the peerage, England’s hereditary nobility, his wealth equivalent to that of the realm’s great lords, even if by birth he is restricted from their company. See also line 429 below and compare line 24 of the banns to the N-Town plays, where Lucifer’s sin is to make himself his “Lordys pere,” a social as much as a theological transgression (N-Town Plays, ed. Sugano).
129–36 For ye be worthy . . . ageyn that wyll I seyn. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 70) observes that Aristorius fails to thank God, as he is encouraged to do by Sir Isoder, the presbyter, instead promising “never to say anything against God (a promise he equivocally keeps).”
140 Shelysdown. Probably Chalcedon in Asia Minor, site of an ecumenical council in 451. Davis suggests Chetidonia, a cape on the Aegean Sea (p. 168). Both places are in modern-day Turkey.
149 Machomet. See note to line 19. Jonathas here professes a mistaken (even by Islamic standards) devotion to the person of the prophet Muhammad in terms analogous to Christian worship of Jesus Christ. In the Digby Mary Magdalene, both Herod and the pagan King of Marseilles profess a belief in “Mahownd” or Muhammad as a god; the King’s priest makes offerings to Mahownd and acknowledges a kind of pagan anti-Trinity of Muhammad, Dragon, and Belial (Mary Magdalene 1244–45 in Late Medieval Religious Plays, ed. Baker, Murphy, and Hall). See also the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie, where the Jewish moneylender’s wife and children swear by Mahé (Muhammad) several times (e.g., lines 248, 318, 325, 364).
151 hyhe see. Jonathas maintains a conspicuously Christian view of the end of the world, in which Muhammad, like Christ, sits on a throne of judgment from which he saves and damns individual souls.
154 honer. Davis observes that the faulty rhyme here suggests that this line has been corrupted (p. 63).
158-72 presyous stonys . . . here ye fynd mown. The playwright may have derived his familiarity with this appreciable array of gems and precious stones from a medieval lapidary such as the one that forms part of Trevisa’s translation of Bartholomaeus. See note to line 95 above.
175 cannyngalle. In the Digby Mary Magdalene, the “King of Flesh,” who is sent by Satan to tempt Mary, is associated with spices like galonga (galingale), pepur long, and synamom (cinnamon). See Mary Magdalene lines 338–44 in Baker, Murphy, and Hall, ed. Late Medieval Religious Plays. Jonathas’ association with exotic spices here may serve, then, to emphasize not only his wealth and prosperity but also his role as a tempter. A similar juxtaposition of precious stones and exotic spices can be found in the brief ME poem The Land of Cokaygne, about a mythical paradise west of Spain where all manner of good things is found in abundance, including an abbey where a tree of spices (including “gingeuir,” “galingale,” and “maces”) grows and precious metals and stones (among them “saphir,” “carbuncle,” “smaragde,” “beril,” “onix,” “topasiune,” “ametist,” “crisolite,” and “calcedun”) abound. For The Land of Cokaygne, see Bennett and Smithers, eds., Early Middle English Verse and Prose. For the cultural value placed on spices in the Middle Ages, see Freedman, Out of the East.
181 greynis. Grains of paradise. Freedman (Out of the East, p. 12) writes: “Among the new and fashionable spices of the medieval period was what the French called ‘grains of paradise,’ known more prosaically as malagueta pepper. Like long pepper, this spice is not in fact related to black pepper. It is sharp and peppery, dark red, and grows in West Africa. It was first mentioned in Europe in the thirteenth century, and the designation ‘grains of paradise’ seems to be an early example of a commercial marketing and branding campaign. Grains of paradise enjoyed a tremendous vogue in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.”
183 suger. In the fifteenth century, sugar was still exotic. Trevisa notes that zugurum or sucara was produced from canes growing around ponds and lakes near the Nile. See On the Properties of Things, 2:1090. See also Freedman, Out of the East, pp. 12, 216–20.
184 Long peper. Freedman, Out of the East, p. 12: “Its dried fruit is extremely pungent, black, and rather large, the size of dry catfood or kibble.”
191 Malchus. In John 18:10, Malchus is the name given to the high priest’s servant whose ear Simon Peter strikes off following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. This biblical Malchus makes an appearance in the Towneley “Conspiracy and Capture,” where he also swears by Muhammad (Towneley Plays, line 626). It is perhaps not surprising, then, to find the name associated with one of the Host’s Jewish persecutors here.
195 tende me tyll. Jonathas echoes the title tyrant of the early fragmentary play called Dux Moraud, who, after boasting of his wealth and fame, demands that his audience “tende me tylle” (line 20, in Davis, pp. 106–13).
196 For I am chefe merchaunte of Jewes. Notwithstanding the play’s anti-Semitism, Jonathas’s presentation as a successful merchant-capitalist is romanticized to a much greater degree than the portrait of his counterpart, Jacob Mousse, in the fifteenth-century Mistere de la Saincte Hostie. In the French play, a poor Christian woman pawns her surcoat for thirty sous to Jacob, whom the woman immediately vilifies and whose wickedness as a nonbelieving Jew is inextricable from his profession as a moneylender:
In the Middle Ages, Christians were prohibited from lending money at interest (usury) by the church, but Jews were not similarly bound and thus were found throughout Europe engaged in moneylending. But Jacob is noticeably less sanguine than Jonathas about his business prospects, as he laments the shortage of Christian customers because of the Easter holiday at the play’s opening:
The Woman I will go without stopping
Straight to the Rue des Jardins
To speak with one of those devils,
False Jews and stinking usurers,
Full of sin and pennies. (MSH 11–15)
200 cake. The “cake” is the bread of the Host which, when consecrated, becomes the flesh of Christ.
The Jew For I loan to everyone
At interest against good collateral
Because I know no other source of income.
It’s my life; it’s my labor.
Won’t anyone come today
to borrow money? (MSH 32-37)
202 the myght of hys word. A reference to the Words of Institution with which a priest during the Eucharist effects the consecration of the sacramental bread and wine. See also note to line 54 above. The words are based on Jesus’ sermon at the Last Supper and are paraphrased in part by Jonathas in lines 397–404.
214 That was never He that on Calvery was kyld. Masphat acknowledges that Jesus of Nazareth was, indeed, put to death on Calvary as recounted in the Gospels. What he refuses to accept is that the substance of this same historical Jesus inheres in the consecrated bread of the Eucharist.
228, s.d. And Jonatas goo don of his stage. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 68) identifies the Croxton play as one of a type he calls “simple place-and-scaffold plays,” in which two or three individual structures could have served to demarcate a playing area: one each for Jonathas’ house, Aristorius’ house, and the bishop’s house (or an existing church in situ may have been used). See the Introduction (pp. 17–22) for the particularities of staging the Croxton Play of the Sacrament.
237 A, Peter Pocole, good daye and wele imett! Jonathas’ familiarity with Peter Paul by sight and name implies the extent of his previous acquaintance and dealings with Aristorius.
265 lordis pere. See note to line 119.
265, s.d. Here shall the Jewe merchaunt and his men come to the Cristen / merchaunte. Scherb (Staging Faith, pp. 71–72) notes that Jonathas leads a Jewish procession here that anticipates the procession of the miraculous Host to the church by the bishop and the Jews in a kind of typological prefigurement of the play’s conclusion. See also the note to line 844 below.
271 I pray yow come up and sit bi me. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 72) remarks that Jonathas’ acceptance of Aristorius’ invitation to sit beside him visually renders the two as equals in the eyes of the audience not only professionally but also perhaps morally.
287–90 Nay . . . to stond bownd. Compare the Woman’s initial revulsion at Jacob’s proposition in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie:
291–92 the entent . . . God allmyght. Compare Jacob’s similar interest in “testing” the Host in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie:
The Woman You ask a very difficult thing of me!
God help me, should I sell Him
Like Judas? Alas, how sinful!
By God, I’d certainly be damned
If I sold the revered and holy Host,
Which is the body of Jesus Christ,
For a bit of profit!
God, what a horrible thing! (MSH 211–18)
302 eresye. Perhaps simply a failure to believe in and recognize the sacrality of the Host, a position associated with the Lollards. But see also Knowledge’s complaint about sinful priests in Everyman and those who buy and sell the body of Christ:
The Jew If you agree to bring it [i.e., the Host] to me here
Intact, so that I can test
Whether it’s true that the Christians
Hold it to be a god, then by all I hold
In my faith you will have the coat
Without money, without fuss. (MSH 202–07)
See Everyman and Its Dutch Original, Elckerlijc, ed. Davidson, Walsh, and Broos. In the N-Town “Last Supper,” James the Lesser registers his disbelief at Jesus’ revelation that one of their company will betray him: “A, Lord, who is that wyll chaffare [trade] you for monay? / For he that sellyth his Lord — to [too] grett is the trespace” (27.239–40). The Apostle Simon echoes James, decrying the still anonymous Judas as an example of a wicked merchant:
If pryestes be good it is so surely,
But whan Jesu henge on the Crosse with great smarte,
There he gave out of his blessyd herte
The same Sacrament in great tourment.
He solde them not to us, that Lorde omnipotent;
Therefore Saynt Peter the apostle doth saye
That Jesus curse hathe all they
Which God theyr Savyour do bye or sell,
Or they for ony money do take or tell.
any; count out
Shortly after this scene, Judas reveals his plan to betray Jesus as a matter of selling his master for money (27.269–76). See N-Town Plays, ed. Sugano.
To bad a marchawnt that traytour, he is,
And for that monye, he may mornyng make!
Alas, what cawsyth hym to selle the Kyng of Blys?
For his fals wynnynge [earning], the devyl hym shal take.
(27.245–48) Too evil a merchant
313 yowr askyng toolde pleyn. Of course, Aristorius has explicitly stated in his last lines that he would not sell the Host even for a hundred pounds. Jonathas’ response here suggests that the actor playing Aristorius might have been expected to deliver those lines with a noticeable lack of conviction. In lines 27–28 of the banns, 2 Vexillator announces that Aristorius will refuse to procure the requested merchandise unless he is offered one hundred pounds. The text of the play proper presents a less certain Aristorius whose resistance is gradually eroded as a perceptive Jonathas applies increasing amounts of financial pressure.
316 dokettys. A ducat was a coin circulated throughout Europe worth, according to Trevisa’s translation of Hyden’s Rolls (1387), “a worthy half an Englisshe noble” and in Fabyans Chronicle (1494) four shillings three pence or more. See OED ducat n.1a.
332 Machomyght. See notes to lines 19 and 149.
340–42 a drawte . . . lyght bred. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 75) observes that a “feast that consists solely of bread and wine may well have been perceived as a visual parody of the Last Supper, and chalice-like cups could easily have been used in order to emphasize the similarity.”
343 fesycyon. Perhaps an implicit reference to the tradition of Christus medicus or Christ as the physician who heals the spiritually ill. See Scherb, Staging Faith, p. 75, and “Earthly and Divine Physicians” and also the N-Town “Entry into Jerusalem,” in which Peter, preaching the necessity of confession, promises that “of all these maladys, ye may have gostly [spiritual] cure / For the hevynly leche [physician] is comyng now, for to vicyte [visit]” (N-Town Plays, ed. Sugano, 26.414–15).
371 For that mony wyll amend my fare. Here Aristorius reveals his motivation in stealing the Host and selling it to the Jews: covetousness, a vice railed against in other East Anglian plays, including the Digby Mary Magdalene and The Castle of Perseverance.
374–75 To mete with Jonathas . . . he commytht in certayn. In line 331, Aristorius promises to hand over the purloined Host the day after his initial meeting with Jonathas. Line 374 suggests that Aristorius is anxious to be rid of the ill-gotten goods, but whether Jonathas’ sudden appearance sometime during or before line 375 is a reflection of that anxiety, an indication that the passage of time in the play has been compressed, or a reflection of the playwright’s inconsistency is unclear.
383–84 Now in thys clothe . . . shall thee see. In using the personal pronoun thee twice in these two lines, Jonathas has already begun to treat the Host as more than an object.
384, s.d. the tabyll. See note 228, s.d. The tabyll to which Jonathas repairs is presumably located on his scaffold or stage. The following scene presents a parodic re-enactment of the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the centerpiece of the Mass which follows the Liturgy of the Word and culminates in the consecration of the Host and Communion. In keeping with the Eucharistic symbolism and iconography of the ensuing scene, the table is presumably immediately recognizable as an altar.
385–468 Now . . . or yt be long. Compare the following lines from the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie, where the Jewish moneylender, after bidding farewell to his Christian accomplice, similarly justifies his “testing” of the Host to his family while decrying the ruse perpetrated against Jews by Christians who claim the Host to be the body of Christ:
387 Crysten temple. While the playwright’s apparent lack of specific knowledge of Judaism is typical of late medieval English attitudes generally, it is perhaps noteworthy that here he has Jonathas refer to the Christian church as a temple, although the playwright’s choice is also guided by the rhyme scheme.
The Jew Goodbye, for now we must find out
If the God in whom Christians believe —
And because of whom they abuse us so much! —
Has strength, power, or might.
Arrange yourselves around that coffer and behold
How Christians are deceived
By believing in such a wafer,
Claiming that it has blood and life
And that it is truly their God.
The Wife They truly attest to it.
I do not know who puts them up to this,
But there’s no better time to find out
The Jew That’s completely true,
And therefore I will test it
With this lancet you see here,
In contempt of you [i.e., the Host, whom Jacob identifies with Christ]
And of all those whom you created,
You, whom we’re told came down
And took human flesh within a virgin. (MSH 343–62)
391 Sprede a clothe on the tabyll that ye shall ther fynd. The Liturgy of the Eucharist commenced with the Offertory, during which the altar and the gifts (the bread and wine) were prepared by the celebrating priest. During the preparation of the altar a piece of cloth called a “corporal” was placed on the altar. The various vessels used during the consecration of the bread and wine were then placed atop this corporal.
395 They say that this ys Jhesu. This parody of the Eucharist necessarily omits the actual consecration of the bread and wine, which could only be performed by a priest. This is compensated for by the fact that Aristorius has obtained for Jonathas an already consecrated Host.
398 Shere Thursday. Shrove Thursday, or Holy Thursday. In the liturgical calendar, this is the Thursday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates the historical day on which Jesus partook in the Last Supper with his disciples before his betrayal by Judas. This final meal shared by Christ with his followers is the origin of the Eucharist and thus the Mass.
399–404 He brake the brede . . . “Comedite corpus meum.” These lines paraphrase the part of the Canon of the Mass, including the Words of Institution, that accompanies the consecration of the bread and wine: “Qui, pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas, et elevatis oculis in caelum ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes, hoc est enim corpus meum, quod pro vobis tradetur” [“On the day before He suffered, he took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and having raised His eyes to heaven to you, God, His Almighty Father, giving thanks to You, He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: ‘Take and eat of this, all of you, for this is my body, which will be given up for you.’”]. This part of the Canon derives from Jesus’ actions in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22–24, Luke 22:19–20) and their restatement in 1 Corinthians 11:24–25 with the further instruction that the taking and eating of the bread and drinking of the wine should be done in commemoration of Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper. The phrase “hoc est enim corpus meum” has a storied past: Luther famously carved the words “hoc est corpus meum” into a table at the Marburg Colloquy in October of 1529 in defiance of the Swiss Reformation leader Ulrich Zwingli, who rejected the notion that Christ was more than symbolically present in bread and wine (Luther maintained a belief in what has since been called by some consubstantiation, in which Christ’s body and blood are substantially present in the bread and wine, which nevertheless simultaneously retain their own substances). The phrase was alleged in the seventeenth century to be the source of the phrase “hocus pocus” then current among jugglers. See the OED, s.v. hocus-pocus.
405–08 And thys powre . . . all Hys progenytors. In 1 Corinthians 11:24–25, Jesus is reported to have commanded his disciples to “take” and “eat” in “commemoration of me.” The disciples gathered at the Last Supper were the initial recipients of instruction to commemorate the Last Supper; this authority to celebrate the Eucharist was then transmitted to their successors, that is, ordained priests.
412 Ave. The first word spoken by the Archangel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation, reported in Luke 1:28, the basis of the prayer Ave Maria, or “Hail Mary.” According to a medieval commonplace, Gabriel’s “Ave” reverses “Eva,” or “Eve”; that is, Mary’s consenting to bear Jesus undoes Eve’s consent to the serpent and the commission of the first sin.
417 They saye that Jhesu to be owr kyng. Some variation on the inscription “This is the King of the Jews” is reported to have been affixed to the Crucifix in each of the Gospels. See Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19–22.
422 To Thomas and to Mary Mawdelen. Christ’s appearances following the Resurrection to the apostle Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”) and Mary Magdalene occur respectively in John 20:26–29 and in Matthew 28:1–10, Luke 24:1–11, and especially Mark 16:1–11 and John 20:1–18.
423 He styed by Hys own powre. According to the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Christ ascended into heaven forty days after the Resurrection. This event is celebrated in the Feast of the Ascension.
425–28 Yea, and also . . . of pyments or vernage. Masphat here recalls Pentecost, described in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in the form of flame and granted to them the gift of tongues. In line 428 Masphat echoes the apostles’ detractors of Acts 2:13: “But others mocking said: ‘These men are full of new wine.’”
429 a Lord of Parage. See the note to line 119 above.
430 On Hys Fatherys ryght hond He Hym sett. See Mark 16:19.
431 Syble. Any one of a number of ancient prophetesses associated with oracular pronouncements; here a figure for supreme wisdom.
432 Alexander. Alexander the Great, fourth-century B.C. Macedonian king and military leader whose conquests extended to most of the world known to the Greeks.
434 Judgement. The Final Judgment at the end of time. See Matthew 25:31–46 and Apocalypse 20:11–12.
435 owr dredfull Judge. According to tradition, Christ’s appearance at the Judgment would be terrifying. See also John Milton’s On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity:
438-40 Because that Phylyppe sayd . . . “Judecare vivos et mortuos.” For Christ as the judge of the living and the dead (vivos et mortuos), see 1 Peter 4:5 and 2 Timothy 4:1 and also the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. The significance of the reference to Philip as glossator is not immediately obvious, but see Acts 8 on the ministry of Philip, and especially verses 26–39, which relate Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. The eunuch is depicted in his chariot returning from Jerusalem and reading Isaias 53:7–8: “he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation because he is cut off out of the land of the living?” The church understood the passage as prophesying the coming of Christ. Philip asks the eunuch if he understands the significance of the passage. Acts 8:34–35: “And the eunuch answering Philip said: ‘I beseech thee, of whom does the prophet speak this? of himself, or of some other man?’ Then Philip, opening his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus.” Shortly after, Philip baptizes the eunuch. Following Rabanus Maurus, the ninth-century theologian and commentator, the Glossa ordinaria, the standard gloss on the Bible at the time the playwright was inewriting the Play of the Sacrament, interprets verse 35 this way: “Mystice, os Ecclesiae Philippus aperuit, ut ex hoc Gentibus is praedicetur quem prius nesciebant” [“Mystically speaking, Philip opened the mouth of the church, so that from this [i.e., the mouth] that of which they were previously ignorant was preached to the Gentiles”]. From Malchus’ perspective, Philip’s “lytyll glosse” was thus the starting point for the spread of doctrinal misinformation concerning the Messiah. See also Nichols, “Lollard Language,” p. 23n4, who states that the section of the Creed dealing with Christ’s judgment of the living and the dead was traditionally associated with Philip.
The aged Earth aghast
With terror of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
When at the world’s last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne. (lines 160–64)
John Milton, ed. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 8.
443-44 He that in Bosra . . . staynyd were Hys clothys. See Isaias 63:1: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength?” Bozrah was the ancient capital of Edom, a kingdom in what is now southern Israel and southwestern Jordan. Esau, son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob, is given the name Edom, or “red,” in Genesis 25:29–30: “And Jacob boiled pottage, to whom Esau, coming faint out of the field, said: ‘Give me of this red pottage, for I am exceeding faint.’ For which reason his name was called Edom.” The nation of Edom is named for Esau. Numbers 20 recounts the Edomites’ refusal to allow the Israelites to pass through their land freely during the Exodus. An abiding hostility between Israel and Edom is taken for granted throughout the Hebrew Bible. Prophesies of divine vengeance to be visited upon the Edomites can be found not only here in Isaias but also in Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Abdias. In an ironic reversal, Jonathas seems unaware that his actions will merit the judgment reserved in the Prophets for the nation of Edom. Sr. Nicholas Maltman (“Meaning and Art,” p. 153 and note 19) notes the appearance of this passage from Isaias in the liturgy for Holy Wednesday. Kruger (“Bodies of Jews,” p. 311) discusses the Croxton play’s allusion to the prophecy of Christ as the one who will come from Bozrah. The N-Town shepherds interpret the appearance of the angel as meaning that the “prophecye of Boosdras is spedly sped [speedily done]” (N-Town Plays, ed. Sugano, 16.74 and p. 386n74.). See also the Chester cycle, where the act of Christ’s Ascension prompts an angelic spectator to wonder: “est iste qui venit de Edom, tinctis vestibus de Bosra? [is this the one who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra?]” (20.104c in Chester Mystery Cycle, ed. Lumiansky and Mills). See also Kruger (“Bodies of Jews,” p. 311) who describes this allusion to Isaias as “a bridge between the Jews’ skeptical review of doctrine and the expression of their other, more malicious, intentions for the host.”
456 with grett repreve. Here and elsewhere in the speeches that precede the Jews’ physical assault on the Host, one is left with the sense that Jonathas and the others do not question the unjustness and cruelty of Jesus’ death but only the doctrine of transubstantiation itself, or, as Jonathas puts it, “whether this [the Host] be He that in Bosra of us had awe.”
458 woundys fyve. The traditional five wounds of the crucified Christ: one in each of the hands and each of the feet from the nails and one in the side from the centurion’s spear. Throughout the following scene, the various wounds inflicted on the Host, here by the five torturers, symbolize and echo key moments from the Passion. See Bevington, ed., Medieval Drama, pp. 754–55; Maltman, “Meaning and Art," pp. 153-60.
469-80 Have at yt! . . . In the myddys yt shal be sene! The rhetoric of the battlefield which accompanies the rather pathetic action of attacking a piece of bread could have been intended to render the scene comical, albeit disturbingly so. See Davenport, Fifteenth-Century English Drama, p. 75, who applies the nonmedieval label “comedy” to the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, which “sounds in outline like a devout miracle-play, but . . . is, for much of the time, farcical.” But see also Homan, “Devotional Themes,” who argues that the playwright’s representation of the Jews and depiction of their assault on the Host engage seriously with late medieval devotional and meditative practices centered on the sublimely tortured body of Christ. Compare the aggression of Jonathas and his cohorts with the immediate sense of awe and attraction that grips the children of the Jewish moneylender in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie:
480, s.d. Here the Ost must blede. Compare with the analogous scene in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie:
The Daughter Oh Mother, it [i.e., the Host] is so white and tender!
Let me hold it for a little while.
The Son And me! Let me hold it!
By Muhammad, it’s very beautiful!
It’s as white as a lamb!
Ah! Hey! Show it to me, Mother!
The Wife Peace! Lower your voices for your father.
You will be beaten if he hears you.
Leave that there, set it aside,
Your father will blame me.
The Daughter By Muhammad, there is nothing
More beautiful. Look, brother:
Its color is more perfectly clear
The Son Ah! Yes! You speak the truth.
There is nothing more beautiful to see in all the world! (MSH 315–30)
The cloth merchant Philippe de Vigneulles attended a performance of a French Host-miracle play in Metz in 1513. He left behind him an account of the “secret” techniques for coaxing blood from the Host prop. He records that when the Jew placed the Host on a table and pierced it with a knife, “by means of a secret [secret] which was performed, a great abundance of blood issued forth and leapt up from the aforementioned Host, just as if it were a child who pissed, and the Jew was sullied and bloodied and played his role very well” (Gedenkbuch des Metzer Bürgers Philippe von Vigneulles, ed. Michelant, p. 244). Philippe further notes that the Jew, “not happy about this, threw the aforementioned Host into the fire, and through some device [engien], it raised itself from the fire and attached itself to the flue of the chimney, and the traitor pierced it again with a dagger and through another device and secret [engien et secret] it again emitted blood abundantly.” The means by which the French play and the Play of the Sacrament accomplished these spectacular feats are not clear, but Philippe’s account at least suggests that the Croxton play’s stage directions are not merely fanciful. See also Enders, Death by Drama, p. 124; Grantley, “Producing Miracles.”
The Wife Ha, it’s bleeding! What blasphemy!
Ha! By Muhammad, it’s alive!
The Daughter (kneeling) Ha, sweet Father, I beg you:
Don’t dismember it!
The Son (crying) Alas, it’s bleeding! Alas! Alas!
My father, for God’s sake, stop it!
Alas, it is so beautiful and sweet.
Give it to me: I’ll protect it!
The Jew (very startled) Peace, or I will beat you!
Rascal, don’t speak!
Peace — be calm — no more babbling!
This time I’ll scourge you [i.e., the Host]
With this whip, striking
Until the pure blood flows
From your sides and ribs
Just as Jesus was [scourged]
In the past, believe it well.
The Daughter Alas, my sweet father, I see
Blood flowing from all sides!
For God’s sake, don’t kill it.
Your face is too cruel!
The Jew ’m going in back to fetch
My large knife so that I can dismember
The flesh. I will make many pieces out of it!
One, two, three, four, five. . . . Great God,
It seems to be reuniting itself!
It is whole again, like before!
Now I’m furious.
I’m enraged. I don’t know what to say.
I’ll make you endure another martyrdom
If I can! (MSH 365–93)
485–86 A fyre, a fyre, and that in hast! / Anoon a cawdron full of oyle! The boiling of the Host is typical of desecration narratives, although the liquid is usually water rather than oil. See Rubin, Gentile Tales, p. 72.
488 three howrys. Perhaps paralleling the three days between Jesus’ death on Good Friday and Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
506–11 Hold prestly on thys pleyn . . . With strong strokys fast. Jonathas is no longer a perpetrator but rather the victim of the Crucifixion-parody that the play enacts as his fellow conspirators set about nailing his hand to a post.
524, s.d. Here shall the lechys man come into the place. Some scholars have identified the following scene, featuring the quack doctor Brundich (“brown-ditch,” perhaps a sewer trope) and his servant Colle as an interpolation. Craig (English Religious Drama of the Middle Ages, pp. 326–27) claims as much based on the play’s shift in meter at this moment in the script, although the alteration is appropriate to the change in tone and consistent with the habits of contemporary playwrights. Grantley echoes Craig’s suspicions about the origins of this scene, which he then calls “a rather redundant comic episode” that “contributes little to the development of the narrative” (“Saints’ Plays,” pp. 284, 286), while Coldewey argues that the episode is “almost certainly interpolated, as it is not mentioned in the banns” (Early English Drama, pp. 274–75). The insolent servant in the employ of a corrupt master has a place not only elsewhere in drama (e.g., Garcio in the Towneley Mactacio Abel or Watkyn in the Digby Killing of the Children) but also, and perhaps most famously, in the Canterbury Tales in the figure of the Canon’s Yeoman. This interloper is also familiar from the comedies of the Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence. The place is the playing space between, and distinct from, the three “houses” of Aristorius, Jonathas, and the bishop. Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 77) suggests that the doctor and boy enter from among the audience, a view shared by Jones, who conjectures that what has happened to Jonathas’ hand is widely known because the doctor has been, with the audience, watching all along (“Theatrical History in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament,” pp. 236–37).
525 Aha, here ys a fayer felawshyppe. Colle’s entry into the platea suggests that the fayer felawshyppe he refers to is the audience, not the Jews. Colle speaks directly to the audience, thus blurring the boundary between actor and spectator.
533 Braban. Brabant. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, p. 37) argues that Brundich’s Flemish origin is not coincidental. The Flemings were major partners, and occasional competitors, with the English in the wool and woolen cloth trade during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and especially in East Anglia. The portrayal of Brundich as a professional bungler and swindler, Gibson maintains, reflects the playwright’s cultural bias against these foreign rivals. Indeed, Gibson believes that the play’s anti-Flemish attitude is “both more real and more repellent” than its characterization of the Jews, absent from England since their expulsion at the end of the thirteenth century. See also the note to line 620 below.
536 That ever sawe uryne. The viewing of a flask of urine becomes a commonplace signature for “doctor,” and is often ridiculed in medieval literature and art. See MED urine (noun, 1b) for sixteen references to urine as a diagnostic medium. In the drawings of Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims in the Ellesmere manuscript, the Physician examines a urine flask held on high even as he rides his horse; in the thirteenth–century misericords of St. Mary’s Church in Beverely, East Riding of Yorkshire, a hunter kills a fox (a false friar) while an ape (a quack doctor) examines its “pius” urine in a flask. In the Gesta Romanorum tale “The Ring, the Brooch, and the Cloth,” Jonathas poses as doctor before his false leman Felicite, who is dying of leprosy, “and whenne he hadde i-seyne hir uryne” diagnoses her moral illness, whereupon she dies of anger (Salisbury, Trials and Joys, p. 174, line 152).
566–71 The description of the drunken Master Brundich of Braban, with “a cut berd and a flatte noose” (line 569), threadbare gown, and torn hose, is a travesty of avaricious stereotypes. Compare Piers Plowman B.5.188–99.
580 (And some lyes among!) Delivered as an aside.
586 Wyth scamoly and with oxennell. Scammony, a purgative gum resin, and oxymel, a syrup of vinegar and honey. Brundich and Colle seem to have a sexual affiliation with their female patients where their remedies never give “anoyment” (line 583). The drink with scammony and other herbs perhaps serves as an aphrodisiac. See Don Constantine’s De Coitu, mentioned in Chaucer’s Merchant’s Tale (IV[(E)] 1810-11). N.b., Paul Delany, "Constantinus Africanus' De Coitu," p. 65, on recipes using scammony and other tasty spices to stimulate and sustain sexual desire.
590–96 Betuyn Dovyr and Calyce the ryght wey / Dwellth non so cunnyng. Doverand Calais were the major English and French ports, respectively, that connected the two countries. The “ryght wey” between them is the English Channel. Colle is thus making another sexual joke at Brundich’s expense when he claims that among all those dwelling in the “channel” Brundich is the most “cunyng” (line 555), with his “connynge” “nyh spent” on “wydowes, maydese, and wyfe” (lines 595–96), emphasizing the French pun on “con.”
601 Here ys a grete congregacyon. Brundich’s remarks here might be ironically addressed to the five Jews, but it seems more likely that during this comic interlude Brundich is directly engaging the audience with his lewd antics. Compare this scene to the entrance of the devil Titivillus in Mankind, whose appearance can only be guaranteed by generous monetary gifts from audience members (lines 475ff., ed. Ashley and NeCastro).
612–18 Who hat the canker . . . or the tyseke. Colle’s deployment, albeit to parodic ends, of his encyclopedic knowledge of physical ailments and Brundich’s of medicines in lines 586–87 above recall Aristorius' and Jonathas’ flamboyant recitations of place-names, spices, and precious stones earlier in the play. The playwright might have obtained his medical knowledge from recent ME translations of Latin texts in circulation in England in the fifteenth century. See, e.g., Healing and Society in Medieval England, ed. Getz. This translation of Gilbert’s Compendium medicine includes entries, among others, on topics such as “canker” (which can be translated by Modern English “cancer,” but which for Gilbertus most commonly identifies with pustules on various parts of the body), colic (the passio collica, an ailment of the colon), worms, toothache — in short, many of the ailments rehearsed by Colle.
613 The tercyan, the quartan. Tertian fever recurs every other day; quartan fever recurs every third day.
614 boldyro. Davis (Non-Cycle Plays and Fragments, p. 137) glosses boldyro as “some bodily organ,” Bevington (Medieval Drama, p. 776) as “evidently some part of the body, perhaps the penis.”
620 colkote. A coal shed, but see Gibson, Theater of Devotion, p. 37 and 187n83, where she argues that colkote is an error for “tolcote” and should be glossed as “toll shed.” She notes the existence of a tollhouse at the North Gate in Bury St. Edmunds as well as St. Saviour’s Hospital on Northgate Street. Brundich’s familiarity with the local tollhouse thus reflects the playwright’s disapproval of the stereotypical greed associated with Flemish merchants in England. Brundich’s dwelling in a storage shed that houses coal is consistent with his earlier portrayal by Colle in lines 529–32 and 543 as incapable of managing his finances to the point that he must sell his hood in order to pay his debts (for sexual favors?) to barmaids in the buttery. See also the note to line 533 above. “Coal shed” suits well his smutty, demonic behavior.
621 Babwell Myll. With “Croxston” in line 74, one of two identifiable East Anglian place names in the play. There was a Babwell near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk. A Franciscan priory existed at Babwell from the middle of the thirteenth century; the grounds are now the site of the Priory Hotel, operated by Best Western. The construction of the mill at Babwell is the occasion for an anecdote about the shortcomings of the twelfth-century abbot, Samson, of the Benedictine abbey at Bury St. Edmunds, recorded by the abbey’s chronicler, Jocelin of Brakelond:
There is another stain of evil-doing which the abbot will wash away with the tears of contrition, if God wills, so that a single bad deed may not mar all the good. He has so raised the level of the fish-pond at Babwell, for the new mill, that there is not one man, rich or poor, who has land next to the river between the town gate and the east gate, who has not lost his garden and orchards as a result of the flooding. The cellarer’s pasture, on the other bank, has been ruined, and the neighbours’ arable land is spoiled. The cellarer’s meadow has been destroyed, the infirmarer’s orchard is submerged, and all the neighbours complain about it. But when the cellarer tackled him [Samson] in chapter [i.e., a general meeting of the monks] about the damage, the abbot replied, with a flash of anger, that he was not going to sacrifice his fish-pond for the sake of our meadow.See Jocelin of Brakelond, Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, p. 116. I am grateful to Johanna Kramer for this reference.
624 Mary. A mild oath.
631 the gate ys hyre. Colle and Brundich move here from the platea, where they have presumably been playing directly to the audience, toward Jonathas’ “house,” the site of their ensuing interaction with the Jews.
642 Syr, the hurt of yowr hand ys knowen full ryfe. In fact, it is not clear how Colle becomes acquainted with Jonathas’ predicament in the first place, since the desecration and its aftermath have transpired in the private space of the Jews’ dwelling, but Colle’s close association with the audience up to this point suggests that he is one of them and therefore shares in their knowledge.
659 in a clothe ye yt cure. Jesus’ body is wrapped in a shroud by Joseph of Arimathea (along with Nicodemus in John) following His deposition from the Cross and in preparation for His burial in the tomb, here symbolized by the cauldron. See Matthew 27:59–60, Mark 15:46, Luke 23:53, and John 19:40–42.
669–72 And I shall . . . make yt ryght thynne. Masphat’s ministrations over the cauldron presumably provided cover for the actor’s triggering the means by which stage blood would then surge forth from the vessel, as signaled by the direction following line 672.
683 ovyn. The oven symbolizes hell, and the Host’s emergence unscathed from it symbolizes the apocryphal Harrowing, Jesus’ sundering of hell’s gates and freeing of the patriarchs and prophets whose salvation could not be effected without the sacrifice of the Crucifixion. The church maintained that the Harrowing occurred on Holy Saturday (the Sabbath), the time between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The oven’s climactic position in the torture sequence also recalls the “Jewish Boy” tales discussed by Rubin (Gentile Tales, pp. 7–39) as a narrative precursor to the Host-desecration story. Such tales recounted the miracle that occurred when a Jewish boy emerged unscathed from the oven into which he had been thrown by his father as punishment for having participated in the Eucharist. In the various versions of this tale which circulated throughout medieval Europe, the Virgin Mary shields the boy from the flames into which the father is then often cast in retribution for his lack of faith, while the boy and his remaining family convert to Christianity. A similar salvation seems in store for Jonathas and his companions. The Harrowing is dramatically re-created in all four of the major English cycles of biblical drama (York, Towneley, Chester, and N-Town). A similar stage direction in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie indicates that the Jew “throws it [i.e., the Host] into the fire, but it doesn’t wish to remain” (MSH 421 s.d.).
704 And stoppe Hym there, thow He be loth. Jason has begun to refer to the Host as a person rather than an object. Jasdon does the same in line 712.
712, s.d. Here the owyn must ryve asunder and blede owt at the cranys / and an image appere owt, with woundys bledyng. Again, Philippe de Vigneulles’ account of a performance of a French Host-miracle play proves instructive:
And then, as if mad, he [the Jew] took the Host and hurled it into a cauldron of boiling water and it raised itself into the air and ascended in a cloud and became a small child while ascending on high and it did all this through devices and secrets [par engiens et secrets].See Gedenkbuch des Metzer Bürgers Philippe von Vigneulles, ed. Michelant, p. 244. While the technical means by which the oven erupted and the image appeared from it remain obscure, Philippe’s comments on his experience of the theater suggest that late medieval performers were certainly capable of accentuating scenes of devotional sublimity with spectacular pyrotechnics. For medieval theatrical “special effects” (engiens et secrets), and their impact on audiences willing to believe in the miraculous, see Enders, Death by Drama, pp. 156–68.
717–18 O mirabiles Judei, attendite et videte / Si est dolor sicut dolor meus. See Lamentations 1:12. Maltman (“Meaning and Art,” pp. 154–55) observes that the more immediate context of these lines for the play’s original audience would likely have been the Holy Saturday liturgy. She also remarks that Jesus’ subsequent “complaint” to the Jews echoes the liturgy of the Adoration of the Cross. Variations on this theme appear in Middle English Passion narratives, lyrics, and complaints. See, e.g., The Northern Passion, lines 1680–81 in Codex Ashmole 61, ed. Shuffelton, pp. 232–74.
720–38 Why ar ye . . . of myn enherytaunce? In His use here of anaphora (the rhetorical repetition of words or phrases at the beginnings of successive lines or clauses), Jesus finally replies to the rationalist and empirical challenges to transubstantiation voiced by the Jews earlier in the play through a series of questions of His own. The answers to Jesus’ questions are self-evident, which is to say that there are no answers. Implicit in the questions themselves is the Jews’ guilt, which renders the logic of their previous denial irrelevant. There is no good reason why the Jews should torture the one who died to redeem them. In response to the wounded and bleeding child standing before them, the Jews can only admit that their violent behavior was unjustified. The repetition serves to emphasize the undeniability of their guilt and the monstrosity of their crimes. Jonathas, in turn, can only respond with his own rhetrical question in line 741: “Tu es protector vite mee; a quo trepidabo?” [You are the protector of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?]
732 newe tormentry. The playwright’s insistence that the Jews have subjected Christ to new tortures recurs throughout the Play of the Sacrament in a series of rhetorical gestures that collapse the geographic and temporal distance between this “new” crucifixion and the first-century event that serves as its reference point. The idea is introduced in the banns and returns many times in the final quarter of the script; see lines 37–38, 45–46, 802–03, 815, 933. Jonathas and his companions are stand-ins for those Jews responsible for the punishment and execution of Jesus. Their actions in the play repeatedly recall the Gospel narratives, and this recontextualizing of their assault on the Host within the broader trajectory of salvation history serves to universalize the action despite the appearance everywhere in the play of devotional and mercantile details particular to life in fifteenth-century East Anglian towns. The influence of contemporary meditative practices of the kind recommended for the laity by the Carthusian prior Nicholas Love in his English translation of the Meditations on the Life of Christ (misattributed throughout the Middle Ages to St. Bonaventure) can be felt here: Love invites his readers not only to meditate specifically on events from the life of Christ but also to imagine themselves participating in those events as they unfold. See also the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie:
741 Tu es protector vite mee; a quo trepidabo? See Psalm 26:1.
The Jew I remember well that long ago You [i.e., the Host] were crucified by our ancestors
For your false deeds and wrongful errors.
In remembrance of them,
Know that you will be [crucified] again . . . . (MSH 406–10)
749 Lacrimis nostris conscienciam nostram baptizemus. The source of these lines has not been identified.
753 Ne gravis sompnus irruat. From the Compline hymn for the first Sunday in Lent, Christe, qui lux es et dies:
Breviarium ad Usum Insignis Ecclesie Sarum, ed. Procter and Wordsworth, 1:dlxxiii. Maltman (“Meaning and Art,” p. 156) remarks on the appropriateness of the hymn to the play: the emergence from darkness into light emphasized in the former parallels the conversion of the Jews to Christianity in the latter.
Christe, qui lux es et dies,
Noctis tenebras detegis,
Lucisque lumen crederis,
Lumen beatum predicans.
Precamur, sancte Domine,
Defende nos in hac nocte;
Sit nobis in te requies,
Quietam noctem tribue.
Ne gravis somnus irruat,
Nec hostis nos surripiat,
caro illi consentiens
Nos tibi reos statuat.
Oculi somnum capiant,
Cor ad te semper vigilet,
Dextera tua protegat
Famulos qui te diligunt.
Defensor noster, aspice,
Guberna tuos famulos
Quos sanguine mercatus es.
Memento nostri, Domine,
In gravi isto corpore:
Qui es defensor animæ,
Adesto nobis, Domine. Christ, you who are the light and day,
You uncover the shadows of night,
You are believed to be the light of light,
Proclaiming the blessed light.
We ask, holy Lord,
Protect us in that night;
Let our rest be in you,
Grant us a peaceful night.
May grievous sleep not seize us,
Nor the enemy snatch us,
Nor the flesh plotting with him
Cause us to stand guilty before you.
When eyes are seized by sleep,
Let the heart always keep watch for you,
Let your right hand protect
The servants who love you.
Our Protector, look,
Hold back those lying in wait,
Guide your servants
Whom you redeemed with blood.
Remember us, Lord,
In this burdensome body:
You who are the defender of the soul,
Be near us, Lord.
757 miserere mei, Deus. See Psalm 50:3, appropriately the fourth of the group known as the Penitential Psalms.
761 Asparges me, Domine, ysopo et mundabor. Psalm 50:9, more of the fourth Penitential Psalm. Again, according to Maltman ("Meaning and Art," p. 156), the more immediate context for the Croxton play’s earliest audiences may have been the liturgy, in this case an antiphon sung at Mass every Sunday except during the Easter season as the priest sprinkles the congregation with holy water:
765 Ite et ostendite vos sacerdotibus meis. Compare Luke 17:14.
Asperges me, Domine,
hyssopo, et mundabor:
et super nivem dealbabor.
Miserere mei, Deus,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
[Sprinkle me, Lord,
With hyssop, and I shall be cleansed:
You shall wash me,
And I shall be made whiter than snow.
Have mercy on me, God,
According to your great mercy. (Psalm 50:9, 3)]
769 Et tunc non avertam a vobis faciem meam. While Jesus’ promise does not reproduce any scriptural text precisely, it nevertheless echoes a number of passages, including Psalm 142:7, the seventh Penitential Psalm: “non avertas faciem tuam a me et similis ero descendentibus in lacum” [“turn not away Thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit”]. See also 2 Paralipomenon 30:9 and Jeremias 3:12.
778 osanna. The shout of praise with which Jesus is greeted upon entering Jerusalem in the Gospels. See, e.g., Matthew 21:9.
780 Lyon of Juda. For the Lion of Judah, see Genesis 49:9 and Apocalypse 5:5.
797, s.d. Here shall the master Jew goo to the byshopp, and hys men knele styll. This stage direction suggests movement of the action toward the last of the play’s three scaffolds, that representing the church, unless an actual church could be incorporated into the playing area. Tydeman (English Medieval Theatre, p. 59) and Scherb (Staging Faith, p. 68) suggest the possibility of the play’s having been performed before the church of All Saints’ Croxton. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, p. 35) hypothesizes that the play might originally have been performed in Bury St. Edmunds, where St. James faced the market square.
804 A Chyld apperyng with wondys blody. In a reflection on the wonders of Eucharistic miracles in his instruction for meditation on the Last Supper, Nicholas Love takes pains to warn against mistaking Christ’s dimensions within the bread for His true size upon the Cross, and in so doing, notes that the Son occasionally manifests Himself as a child within the Host:
For what tyme [On those occasions] þat oure lorde Jesus appereþ in þat blessede sacrament to strenþynge of byleue or to confort of his chosen derlynges [darlings] auþer [either] in likenes of a litel childe, as we reden þat he dide to seynt Edward kynge & confessour [Edward the Confessor, d. 1066], or elles in a quantite of flesh all blodye as it is writen in þe lif of seynt Gregour [Gregory I, “the Great,” pope 590–604] & in othere places, soþe [true] it is þat þat bodily likenes seene in þat quantité acordeþ not with þe verrey bodily quantité & shappe of oure lorde þat henge on þe crosse, & þat is soþely in þat sacrament hidde fro þe bodily siht [sight]. (Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life, p. 153)In a similar vein, Love recounts an apparition of Christ as a child during the elevation of the Host before St. Hugh, bishop of Lincoln, in the English treatise De Sacramento (Concerning the Sacrament) that accompanies the Mirror in many of the extant manuscripts and serves as its epilogue:
And as to oure purpose: what tyme it was come to the sacringe [consecration], as the bishope helde up goddus [God’s] body in forme of brede, there aperede to the siht of the forseid clerke, bytwix þe preestes holy handes oure lord God Jesus bodily in likenes of a passyng faire litel childe. (Love, Mirror of the Blessed Life, p. 230)Jesus’ appearance to Jonathas in the form of a child is not mentioned until now, but see the following passages from the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie in which the Host’s appearance to the Jewish family in the form of a child is also implied:
808 all my pepull. It is not entirely clear who all the bishop’s people might be. Presumably his people do not yet count among their number Jonathas and company, who have not yet converted. The bishop could refer to various non-speaking attendants whose presence would befit his rank but which would also seem gratuitous in a play designed so that “Nine may play yt at ease,” as indicated in a note which concludes the manuscript. The bishop might also be gesturing toward the audience, who will soon become active participants in the play’s culminating action, the formation of a Corpus Christi procession. Such an acknowledgment of the audience would also serve as an additional, albeit subtle, rebuke of the Jews, whose minority status would be further emphasized. But since the audience has already beheld the “swymfull syght,” this possibility also seems unsatisfactory. The subsequent address in line 810 of “all ye peple that here are” seems somewhat gratuitously to be directed to the five Jews.
The Son (crying) Stop, sweet Father! Ha! Alas!
Do you wish to kill such a child?
See the blood flowing there!
Never has such a pitiful thing been seen! (MSH 432–35)
The Daughter Alas! Alas! What a crime!
I see the water all bloody
Where the body of the noble and worthy God
Plays just like an infant! (MSH 473–76)
812 On yowr feet for to goo bare. In acknowledgment of the divine presence. See Exodus 3:5, where the voice of God calls to Moses from the burning bush and instructs him: “put off the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” For a contemporary visual analogue, see the Nativity by the fifteenth-century Flemish painter Petrus Christus. In this painting, St. Joseph is depicted wearing the clothing of a fifteenth-century Fleming but without his wooden clogs, which appear in the lower right corner of the painting, in acknowledgment, according to Erwin Panofsky, of the sacred ground on which Joseph stands barefooted (Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting, 1:203). For an argument against Panofsky’s interpretation of the clogs, see Hall, Arnolfini Betrothal, pp. 106–12.
816 miserere mei. See note to line 757 above.
837 with solempne processyon. The actors here form a procession resembling those that commonly accompanied the celebration of the summertime Feast of Corpus Christi, which was introduced into the universal church by Pope Urban IV in 1264 through the promulgation of the bull Transiturus. The feast occurs on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which is the Sunday following the feast of Pentecost, which itself follows fifty days after Easter Sunday. In many European parishes the Corpus Christi procession became a focal point of civic and ecclesiastical celebration and devotion that quickly overshadowed strictly liturgical worship centered on the body (and blood) of Christ. Medieval processions enabled communities to celebrate important sacred and secular occasions in ways that nevertheless emphasized social distinctions between groups within those communities. For the social and symbolic significance of Corpus Christi celebrations see Phythian-Adams, “Ceremony and the Citizen,” and James, “Ritual, Drama and Social Body.” While the specific form varied from parish to parish, the procession typically entailed conveying, often by means of an elaborate monstrance (a vessel which displays the Host) or tabernacle, the consecrated bread out of the church and into the surrounding village or town, perhaps only traveling around the exterior of the church itself but sometimes being carried throughout or even around the perimeter of the village. The Corpus Christi was invariably escorted by clergy, and other ecclesiastical as well as civic dignitaries including guild members were regular participants. The procession might also be accompanied by candles, bell-ringing, singing, the scattering of flowers along the route, and other demonstrations of reverence. The procession in the play returns the Host to the church from which it was stolen, much as annual Corpus Christi processions brought the Host out of doors and then in again. For the development of Corpus Christi processions, see Rubin, Corpus Christi, pp. 243–71. It is not unreasonable to suspect that the Play of the Sacrament, with its emphasis on Eucharistic orthodoxy and devotion, could at some time have been staged as part of a local Corpus Christi celebration.
840 O sacrum convivium. Editions of the Play of the Sacrament prior to Davis’ erroneously read “O sacrum Dominum.” The text here calls for the singing of an antiphon that features in the Office of Corpus Christi, the liturgy developed to celebrate the new feast in 1264. Authorship of the office has traditionally been ascribed to St. Thomas Aquinas, an attribution which has been subjected to some suspicion but which receives persuasive if circumstantial support in Rubin, Corpus Christi, pp. 185–88. The text of the antiphon reads:
See Maltman, “Meaning and Art,” pp. 150–51, who also states that O sacrum convivium also appears in a number of contemporary “processionales,” or collections of texts and chants used in liturgical processions, in conjunction with the Corpus Christi procession. See the note to line 837 above for the Corpus Christi procession and the suggestion that the Croxton play may have been intended for staging on that feast day.
O sacrum convivium in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis ejus, mens impletur gratia,
et futuræ gloriæ nobis pignus datur, Alleluya.
[O holy banquet in which Christ is consumed:
the memory of His Passion is recalled, the mind is filled with grace,
and the promise of future glory is given to us, Alleluia.]
841 Lett us syng all with grett swetnesse. As with line 808, it is not clear to whom the bishop refers. It is possible that the playwright imagined the audience joining in the singing of O sacrum convivium, as they seem to be invited to do in the play’s concluding communal singing of the Te Deum laudamus. Maltman (“Meaning and Art,” p. 158) suggests that since antiphonaries were sometimes used as school texts, some audience members might have been able to sing along to O sacrum convivium or else that boys from the local choir may have been called on to add their voices to those of the actors. Rastall (Heaven Singing, pp. 35–36) observes that “sweetness” when used to describe singing in the fifteenth century was a technical musical term indicating that the singing should be “satisfactory musically and intellectually” (p. 36).
844 The bysshope commyth processyon with a gret meny of Jewys. Corpus Christi processions frequently and publicly emphasized distinctions in rank among members of the ecclesiastical and civic community in what over time became increasingly political displays of rank and prestige. A Corpus Christi procession comprised almost entirely of Jews, then, would have seemed to fifteenth-century audiences accustomed to such ideological demonstrations startling if not subversive, hence Isoder’s assumption that such a procession must herald some truly miraculous event. Also see the note to 265, s.d.
854 For covytyse of good. Aristorius declares his primary sin, covetousness, which is depicted as chief among the Seven Deadly Sins in East Anglian drama. It is, for instance, Avaritia (“Covetousness”) who introduces Humanum Genus (“Mankind”) to the other six sins in The Castle of Perseverance. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, pp. 27–29 and 67–106) has argued that East Anglian mercantilism and commerce occasioned much anxiety among lay Christians seeking to reconcile Christ’s commandment to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself with the very notion of profit itself. This tension is explored with specific reference to the Digby Mary Magdalene in Coletti, “Paupertas est donum Dei.” See also Milla B. Riggio, “Allegory of Feudal Acquisition,” who offers the earliest exploration of the social preoccupations of East Anglian allegorical drama as a consequence of the region’s particular forms of economic development. I am grateful to Victor I. Scherb for this reference. Pride, rather than covetousness, motivates the Woman in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie. She agrees to deliver the Host to the Jewish moneylender in order to redeem her pawned coat so that she might appear well-dressed in front of her family and neighbors on Easter day:
857 heretyke. Aristorius here reveals his fear of being mistaken for a Lollard. One of the distinguishing tenets of Lollardy was its staunch opposition to the evolving doctrine of transubstantiation. The fourth of the so-called “Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards” describes the Eucharist as “the feynid miracle of the sacrament of bred” that “inducith alle men but fewe to ydolatrie” (see Hudson, ed., Selections from English Wycliffite Writings, p. 25). Aristorius acknowledges his covetousness, and in doing so affirms his belief in the sacrament of the altar. He recognizes himself as a Christian, albeit a weak one; his faith, he hopes, remains unimpeachable. After the 1401 promulgation of the statute De heretico comburendo (“On burning the heretic”), the legal punishment for heresy was death, hence perhaps Aristorius’ concern that his transgression be properly understood by the local ecclesiastical authority. See also line 901.
The Woman Alas, today is the day
When I should be clothed
As elegantly as my neighbors,
My parents, and my cousins,
And I’m as nude as a glass!
By my soul, I will go mad
And hate the hour that I was born,
When it was destined
That I should travel through town
One day penniless,
Without my surcoat or decent clothing! (MSH 115–25)
866–67 Estote fortes in bello, et pugnate cum antico serpente, / Et accipite regnum eternum, et cetera. These lines come from the antiphon for second nocturn for Matins for the Feast of All Saints. See Breviarium ad Usum Insignis Ecclesiae Sarum, ed. Procter and Wordsworth, 3:967. Maltman, “Meaning and Art,” p. 159, comments that the quotation is apt in reminding Christian audiences that they participate in a great contest between God and evil. Within the context of the Play of the Sacrament, the lines serve to initiate the bishop’s subsequent verse homily on the theme of these lines.
873 the vertues sevyn. The traditional opposites to, or “remedies” for, their corresponding Deadly Sins. The following correspondences between Virtues and Sins are based on the pairings in The Castle of Perseverance: Humility (Pride), Patience (Wrath), Charity (Envy), Abstinence (Gluttony), Chastity (Lechery), Industry (Sloth), and Generosity (Covetousness).
883 the fend callyd Levyathan. Leviathan, the sea monster of the Hebrew Bible. See especially Isaias 27:1, where Leviathan is identified twice as a serpent to be conquered by God.
898–99 Say what ye wyll . . . yf ye have wroght eny inconvenyens. The bishop invites Aristorius to make a formal confession of his sins.
906 There to handyll the Holy Sacryfyce. In the Middle Ages the handling of a consecrated Host was a privilege reserved to the clergy alone.
915 nevermore for to bye nor sell. Aristorius’ own conversion is signaled by the penance the bishop imposes on him: this character, whose identity has been fully tied to his profession as a merchant, is barred from participation in future commercial activity.
924 creaturys. Davis notes that Manly suggests vicarys or prechorys, since the advice that follows applies only to the clergy. See also line 406 in the text (p. 46).
926 pyxys. Nichols (“Croxton Play of the Sacrament,” p. 120) cites a London incident of 1467 in which a number of pyxes were stolen from a church for the value of the metal that they contained. She also observes that the play’s silence about a locked pyx in the scene of the Host’s actual abduction seems inconsistent with the playwright’s general attention to detail elsewhere. She therefore argues that “[i]t is hard not to read this special pleading as a reflection of the 1467 thefts” (p.132n18) and reads the reference to pyxys here “as a hasty addition to an otherwise carefully crafted play.” Nichols speculates that the accounts of the incident could easily have penetrated East Anglia by way of the close ties between London and the abbey at Bury St. Edmunds and that the composition of the play can be narrowed to some time shortly after 1467 (p. 132n18).
930 generall absolucion. Jonathas asks the bishop to absolve all of the Jews of their sins without them first confessing individually. Unlike Jonathas, Jacob Mousse never admits his error in the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie. When asked why he continues to deny the truth of the Host despite having admitted that he witnessed its miraculous power, Jacob simply attributes the miracle to diabolical forces: “I hold it all to be complete fantasy. / The devil has restored this bread” (MSH 1214–15). Jacob is finally burned for his unbelief.
957 In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Gost. Part of the formula employed by a priest performing a baptism, derived from Matthew 28:19. The formula is completed in line 959 with the phrase “I crysten yow all,” although it is interesting to note that the playwright substitutes crysten for ME baptize. By varying the formula slightly, the bishop avoids any imputation that what he has just performed is a valid baptism. The formula in English is recorded in John Gaytryge’s translation of the instruction for parish priests written by William Thoresby, archbishop of York, in 1357:
And to this sacrement falles foure thinges, If it sal [shall] rightly be taken als [as] halikirk [Holy Church] techis: Ane [One] is right saying and shap of the wordes That him augh [ought] for to sai, that gyffes [gives] this sacrement That er [are] thise: I baptize the [thee] in the name of the Fadir and the Son, and the Hali Gast.See The Lay Folks’ Catechism, ed. Simmons and Nolloth, p. 62. Thoresby’s other three requirements are that only water be used, that the baptizer be of sound mind and well intentioned, and that the person about to be baptized be, to the best of his or her knowledge, unbaptized. The baptismal rite requires a threefold ablution, or cleansing with water, each ablution corresponding with the utterance of the name of one of the Persons of the Trinity. The bishop presumably baptizes the Jews by aspersion, that is, by sprinkling the heads of the Jews with water, rather than by affusion, with the water poured over their heads, or immersion. For the often fine line dividing dramatic from liturgical enactments of the sacraments, see Granger, N-Town Play, pp. 22–30. For medieval theater’s ability to blur the boundary between spectacle and miracle generally and to engender belief through pretense, see Enders, Death by Drama.
964 Now wyll we walke by contré and cost. The Jews’ first act as newly-minted Christians would seem to be embarkation on a pilgrimage, another practice condemned by the Lollards.
973 wyckyd lyfe. Lepow (Enacting the Sacrament, p. 31) suggests an anti-Lollard pun: Wyclif / wyckyd lyfe. See also line 965.
988 God omnypotent evermore looke ye serve. If the Jews and Aristorius actually exit the playing area following lines 971 and 979, respectively, then the bishop would address the audience directly here.
1007 Te Deum laudamus! A popular metrical hymn of praise and thanksgiving employed by the church on numerous occasions. Liturgically it serves as the conclusion to Matins for most feasts and most Sundays in the church calendar, but the Te Deum can accompany other celebratory occasions as well:
Its frequent appearance at the end of the liturgy assured its similar function in much early paraliturgical drama, including the Visitatio sepulchri (Visit to the Sepulchre) plays from St. Lambrecht and Fleury, the Fleury Ordo ad repræsentandum Herodem (The Service for Representing Herod), the Beauvais Danielis ludus (The Play of Daniel), and the Fleury [Ordo] ad repræsentandum conversionem beati Pauli apostoli ([The Service] for Representing the Conversion of the Blessed Apostle Paul), all of which are edited by Bevington in Medieval Drama. Since much medieval drama in the vernacular continued to be influenced by and dependent on the liturgy, it is not surprising to find the dtw-1 Te Deum at the conclusion of, among others, the thirteenth-century poet Rutebeuf’s Miracle de Théophile (Miracle of Theophilus) and the anonymous fourteenth-century Jour du Jugement in France, the German Ludus de beata Katerina (The Play of St. Katherine) probably written for performance in Erfurt in the province of Thuringia in the mid-fourteenth century, and, of course the Croxton play in England, as well as The Castle of Perseverance, the Digby Mary Magdalene, and the Towneley Iudicium (Judgment). English translations of the French and German materials ftlinemay be found in Medieval French Plays, trans. Axton and Stevens (for Rutebeuf); Antichrist and Judgment Day, trans. Emmerson and Hult; and Wright, trans., Medieval German Drama, respectively. In the Mistere de la Saincte Hostie, a priest calls for the sounding of bells and the chanting of the Te Deum three times upon the return of the miraculous host to the Church of Saint-Jean.
Te Deum laudamus, te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes angeli, tibi caeli et universae potestates,
Tibi cherubim et seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis,
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium,
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu, Rex gloriae, Christe,
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu, ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic haereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum.
[We praise you, God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord.
All the earth worships you, the everlasting Father.
To you all the angels, to you the heavens and the powers of the universe,
To you the cherubim and the seraphim proclaim with unending voice:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts.
Full are the heavens and the earth of the majesty of your glory.
It is you that the glorious chorus of the Apostles,
You that the praiseworthy rank of the Prophets,
You that the shining multitude of the Martyrs praise.
It is you that Holy Church acknowledges throughout the world,
Father of infinite majesty,
Your venerable, true, and only Son,
And the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete [Comforter].
You, Christ the King of glory,
You are the eternal Son of the Father,
You, undertaking to free mankind, did not shrink from the Virgin’s womb.
You, having conquered the sting of death, opened the realms of heaven to believers.
You sit at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
You are believed to be the judge who will come.
You, therefore, we pray: help your servants, whom you redeemed with your precious blood.
Count them among your saints in eternal glory.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
And rule over them, and raise them up into eternity.
We bless you day after day.
And we praise your name forever and ever.
Deign, Lord, to protect us from sin this day.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your mercy be upon us, Lord, just as we hoped in you.
In you, Lord, I hoped; let me not be confounded eternally.]
after 1007 Nine may play yt at ease. The initials “R. C.” appear below this line in the manuscript. Gibson (Theater of Devotion, p. 35) suggests that they could be those of one Robert Cooke, vicar of the Suffolk village of Haughley, whose sixteenth-century will includes a bequest of playbooks to his surviving brother, but Atkin (“Playbooks and Printed Drama,” p. 197) persuasively demonstrates that the handwritten initials are nearly identical to the professional mark of the printer Robert Copland, known to have produced some twenty books between 1514 and 1548. Atkin (p. 201) also notes that lists of dramatis personae were uncommon in medieval playbooks and even in early printed playbooks from before 1530 and concludes that the “instruction at the end of the Croxton Play might therefore represent a scribal attempt to fashion the play along the lines of the contemporary printed playbooks that were being marketed to professional players” (p. 202).
CROXTON PLAY OF THE SACRAMENT: TEXTUAL NOTES
ABBREVIATIONS: see Explanatory Notes
1, s.n. 1 VEXILLATOR. MS: primus vexillator.
3 all. MS: inserted above the line by Scribe A.
4 brynge. MS: bryne.
7 wrowght. MS: ro written above two cancelled letters ( re?).
8 blyssed. MS: blbyssed, “with [the] second b blotted,” according to Davis, p. 58.
9, s.n. 2 VEXILLATOR. MS: secundus.
9 Sovereyns. MS: Svereyns.
10 ys. So Davis. MS omits.
representyd. MS: re presentyd.
16 fer. MS: inserted above the line by Scribe A.
17 hym. So Davis. MS: hyn.
20 The wyche hade gret plenté. MS:
21 freyned. So Davis. MS: freynend.
23 Twenti pownd. MS: xxti li.
27 hundder pownd. MS: c li. Compare line 288 where the manuscript spells the number out.
30 bey. MS: bye. The scribes of Trinity F.4.20 occasionally employ alternate forms of words, as with bye here, that nevertheless violate rhyme patterns. Following Davis, I emend the forms to preserve the rhyme. See below, lines 102, 208 (where MS praye appears to be an error for preve), 311, 315, 505, 670, 675, 694, 820, 825, 860, 907, 934, 960, 967, and 968.
31 they. MS: the.
wolde. So Davis. MS: woldr.
38 new. So Davis. MS: nell.
39 Hym. Scribe A stops here. Scribe B begins with many
. 42 boyle. So Davis. MS: boylde.
46 ovyn. So Davis. MS: ob ouyn.
55 convertyd. So Davis. MS: counteryd.
iwys. MS: I wyll wys (wyll is only partially cancelled).
56 þe occurs between Rome and this.
58 our. So Davis. MS: your.
a thowsand fowr hundder sixty and on. MS: ml c c c c .c. lxj. The fifth c is expuncted.
59 woth. So Davis. MS: with.
61 Loo, thus. MS:
63 gan. So Davis. MS: gayn.
65 Thefor. MS: t cancelled before.
77 from. So Davis. MS: fron.
trey. So Davis. MS: treyn.
78 To send us Hys hyhe joyes of hevyne. MS: to send vs hys
80a Explicit. MS: appears in the right margin.
81, s.n. ARISTORIUS. MS: Aristorius mercator. The form of the stage name varies across the manuscript. It is spelled as Aristius at 334 and 338 and Arystorius at 850 and 972.
82 He. So Davis. MS: be.
83 endelesse. So Davis. MS: enelesse.
84 Hys. So Davis. MS: thys.
86 whoso. MS: woso.
96 Surrey. So Davis. MS: Surgery.
97 moch. MS: I cancelled before.
99 In Calabre and in Coleyn ther rynge I full ryght. MS: In calabre & in
100 clyffys. So Davis. MS: chyffys.
101 abundawnse. So Davis. MS: abundawse.
102 flowerys. So Davis. MS: flower.
104 Holond. MS: Jherico (from line 105) cancelled and Holond inserted above by Scribe B.
moch. MS: among. The scribe has mistakenly copied among from line 105.
106 Among. So Davis. MS: Amog.
109 be. MS: ben with final n cancelled.
117 may. MS: my may.
120 wayteth. So Davis. MS: waytheth.
125, s.n. Presbyter. The form of the stage name varies across the manuscript. It is spelled as Presbiter at 229, Presbitre at 336 and 348, and Presbiter at 858, 888, and 980.
125 shall you tary. MS: shall tary you tary.
trowble. So Davis. MS: towble.
127 connyng. So Davis. MS: comnyng.
133 ys. MS: inserted above the line by Scribe B.
147 onkowth. So Davis. MS: onknowth.
148 or of Saby. MS: of or of Saby.
or of Shelysdown. So Davis. MS omits or.
148, s.d. bost. So Davis. MS: best.
149 Jonathas. MS: Jhonat tas.
150 Whose. So Davis. MS: Whoses.
158 Gold. So Davis. MS: Godd.
159 abunddaunce. So Davis. MS: abuddaunce.
160 As. So Davis. MS: A.
165 to dresse. MS:
167 achatys. So Davis. MS: machatys.
172 And. So Davis. MS: A.
179 rys. Davis conjectures that the y has been superimposed over an original e.
181 greynis. So Davis. MS: grenyis.
185 and. So Davis. MS: a.
188 of. MS: followed by .ey with abbreviation for er inserted above. The word has not been cancelled.
Scribe B stops at the end of the line. Scribe A resumes with the beginning of line 189.
189 ys my name. MS: ys my
194 Eraclea. So Davis. MS: graclea.
200 they. MS: the.
201 And all they seye how the prest dothe yt bynd. MS:
203 conceyte. MS: four letters (cnon?) cancelled before.
they. MS: þe.
208 in a preve. So Davis. MS:
211 swer. So Davis. MS: sever.
212 theron. So Davis. MS: the on.
213 ys false. MS omits. Davis follows Manly’s addition of ys false to complete the sense of the line and to preserve the rhyme, although there is no indication that anything is missing.
217 Malchus. The form of the stage name varies across the manuscript. It is spelled as Malcus at 493 and Malchas at 516, 673, 697, and 715.
228, s.d. onto. So Davis. MS: ont.
Arystori. So Davis. MS: Acrystori.
229 may. MS: amay.
no. So Davis. MS omits.
230 Yt ys fer. MS: an illegible word has been cancelled before ys, which is inserted above the line by Scribe B.
231 forsothe. An abbreviation for er sits above forsothe.
238 thy. So Davis. MS: they.
239 Long. So Davis. MS: Lon.
240 I. MS: a letter a cancelled before.
245 bargenes. So Davis. MS: bargened.
rych. So Davis. MS: ryh.
249 mot. MS: moste with ste cancelled and t added above by Scribe B.
253 This tal ryght wele he me told. MS: written in the right margin alongside lines 251–52 next to the rhyme bracket.
told. So Davis. MS: first tell, then e altered to o.
257 Plenté of clothe of golde. MS: written in the right margin between lines 255 and 256 next to the rhyme bracket.
Plenté. So Davis. MS: Penté.
262 more. So Davis. MS: mre.
269 am. So Davis. MS: an.
270 myn. A possible abbreviation sits above the y, potentially making the word mynn.
271 sit bi me. MS:
276 bartre. MS:
277 that. So Davis. MS omits.
278 Prevely in this stownd. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 277 next to the rhyme bracket. The nd of stownd is written above the word because the scribe ran out of space.
279 sure. MS: several letters cancelled before.
280 dystren. So Davis. MS: dystrre.
282 twenti pownd. MS: xxti li.
284 maner. So Davis. MS: man.
ye. MS: inserted above the line by Scribe A.
286 thys. MS:
anoon. MS: one or two letters cancelled before anoon. yow. MS:
287, s.n. ARISTORIUS. MS omits. There is no speech tag, but a horizontal line clearly indicates that lines 287–90 belong to Aristorius.
290 conscyence. So Davis. MS: conscyene.
291 entent. MS:
297 dere. So Davis. MS: bere.
302 eresye. So Davis. MS: tresye.
308 payment. MS:
309 Forty pownd. MS: xl. li.
311 ageyn. MS: agen.
312 wold. MS: wld.
hundder. MS: .C.
313 yowr. So Davis. MS: wr.
314 yt. MS yt with superscripted t cancelled and t inserted after y on the line.
315 hundder pownd. MS: .C. li.
lasse. So Davis. MS: lesse.
325 ys. So Davis. MS: hys.
326 Scribe A stops at the end of the line. Scribe C begins with line 327.
327 Hys sopere for to eate. MS: written in the right margin alongside lines 325–26.
331 To kepe yowr toungys ye nott lett. MS: written in the margin between lines 329–30.
350 gone. MS: goonne.
352 rest. Davis changes rest to nyght in order to preserve the rhyme with line 354, where the final y of almyghty has been erased, resulting in the current reading.
358 must. MS:
372 As thynkyth me. MS: written in the right margin alongside lines 370–71.
376 Me thynkyth I hym see. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 375.
383 covere. MS:
385, s.n. JONATHAS. MS: The scribe repeats the speech tag following the stage direction although there is no change of speaker.
393, s.n. JONATHAS. MS: The scribe places the redundant speech tag — there is no change of speaker — in the margin left of the stage direction.
401 to. MS:
403 clere. MS:
432 worlde. MS: worde.
441 ther. So Davis. MS: or.
452 yf. So Davis. MS: ys.
475 augur. So Davis. MS: augus.
480, s.d. Here the Ost must blede. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 480.
484 Scribe C stops at the end of the line. Scribe A resumes with line 485.
488 for. So Davis. MS: fo.
489 Yea. MS ye
491 art is written above the line.
496 Manly with all yowre mygthe. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 495.
499 Yt. MS: yt
wrake. The r is added above the line.
504 renne. So Davis. MS: reme.
505 ageyne. So Davis. MS: agene.
508 seye. So Davis. MS: sye.
509 on. The o appears to be inserted above the line.
511 strong. So Davis. MS:
512, s.n. MASPHAT. MS: Malspas.
515b, s.d. hang. So Davis. MS: sang.
516 thys. MS: thy
518 woo me is. A letter appears to be cancelled between woo and me is.
521 gon. Davis, p. 74, observes that n is “smudged and uncertain.”
525 COLLE. The form of the stage name varies across the manuscript. It is spelled as Coll at 578, 608, 624, 627, 631, 642, and 646.
526 shapyn. So Davis. MS: shpyn.
528 I tell yow in counsel. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 527.
531 syttyth. So Davis. MS: sytthyt.
535 phesycyan. So Davis. MS: phesyan.
536 That ever sawe uryne. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 535.
539 judgyment. So Davis. MS: judyyment.
540 As he that hathe noon eyn. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 539.
544 That ys a good tokenyng. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 543.
546 sum thyng. Inserted above the line by Scribe C.
547 dysarvyde. So Davis. MS:
548 God send never wurse tydyng. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 547.
550 wot. So Davis. MS: wotr.
sure. MS: A caret superimposed over the second letter (a?) points to the u inserted above the word.
552 Here hyr tell no tale. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 551.
556 he. MS:
That he hat in good ale. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 555.
557 But. So Davis. MS: By.
ayleth. So Davis. MS: dyleth.
560 God gunte me my boon. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 559.
562 can hym. So Davis. MS: cam I.
564 In fayth yt shall be don. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 563.
564, s.d. proclamacion. MS: prohclamacion.
568 med. MS: the d in med is written above the e because the scribe has run out of room on the page after attaching line 568 to line 567.
569 cut. So Davis. MS: tut.
572 To the pylleré ye hym led. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 573.
573, s.n. BRUNDYCHE. MS: Master Brundyche. Hereafter Brundich’s speeches are signaled with MB in the left margin.
576 Ye tared hens so long. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 575.
580 And some lyes among. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 579.
581 pacyent. So Davis. MS: payent.
583 anoyment. So Davis. MS: anoyntment.
586 oxennell. So Davis. MS: ox ennell.
588 A horizontal line incorrectly indicating a change in speaker at line 589 has been cancelled.
589 now. Inserted above the line.
592 In my judgyment. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 591.
593 prattyffe. So Davis. MS: prattffe.
594–98 Following line 594, the scribe has inserted and then cancelled lines 597–98: wer ys my bowgett with drynke profetabyll / here master master ware how ye tugge.
595 wyfe. So Davis. MS: wyse.
597 my. So Davis. MS omits but includes in the cancelled version of this line appearing after line 594.
bowgett. So Davis. MS: bowgtt.
598 ye. So Davis. MS: þt and e added.
tugg. MS: tugg
599 shrugge. Davis, p. 76, notes that a “[f]inal loop may be intended for –ys” to preserve the rhyme tugges in line 598 prior to correction.
605 pausacyon. So Davis. MS:
606 mak. MS:
607 wolde. So Davis. MS: wlde.
607, s.d. Hic interim proclamacionem faciet. This stage direction appears in the margin alongside lines 608–09.
611 yowr. So Davis. MS: yow.
613 quartan. So Davis. MS: quartaid.
brynnyng. So Davis. MS: brynnyg.
614 gryndyng. So Davis. MS: gryndyg with r inserted above the line.
615 and the myegrym. MS:
617 colt-evyll. So Davis. MS: Coltugll.
618 have. So Davis. MS omits.
619 were. So Davis. MS: wre.
sek. Inserted between carets above the line because the scribe apparently reached the edge of the page.
621 understondyng. So Davis. MS: undstondyn.
622 Now. Inserted by Scribe C.
623 phesyscian. MS: phesyscioun.
625 And ye wyll understond. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 624. The lines are separated by a slash.
627 I2. So Davis. MS omits.
629 Hath lost hys ryght hond. MS: written in the right margin alongside line 628.
633 mot. MS: This line appears in the left margin and is divided between wele and mot. Following wele at the end of the first line, two or three letters have been cancelled.
636 yowr. So Davis. MS: yow.
dysese. So Davis. MS: dyse.
637 hermes. So Davis. MS: hermet.
643 master. So Davis. MS: maste.
savyd. Inserted above the line by Scribe C.
644 be. Inserted above the line.
Scribe A stops at the end of this line. Scribe C resumes with line 645 and continues until the end.
647 be profytable. MS:
650, s.n. JONATHAS. MS omits, although the presence of a horizontal line in the MS suggests a change of speaker.
652 that. MS: Tironian and cancelled before þt.
670 brynne. So Davis. MS: brenne.
675 rin. So Davis. MS: run.
683 Ys. So Davis. MS: The scribe mistakenly copies Ys at the beginning of line 682.
689 wrowght. So Davis. MS: wrowgh.
694 fere. So Davis. MS: fyre.
695, s.d.Here thei kyndyll the fyre. Stage direction appears in the margin alongside lines 694–95.
696 done yt. MS:
702 clothe. MS:
714 bledyth. So Davis. MS: bedyth.
718 sicut. So Davis. MS: similis.
721 I. So Davis. MS omits.
777, s.d. the cawdron. MS: a word has been cancelled between the two words, perhaps a repeated the.
folwyth. So Davis. MS: fowyth.
806, s.n. EPISCOPUS. The abbreviation of this stage name varies across the manuscript. It appears as Eps generally, but as Epus at 896, 912, and 988.
808 pepull. So Davis. MS: pepnll.
815 passyon. MS:
820 gert. So Davis. MS: grett.
824 unryghtfull. So Davis. MS: unryghfull.
825 hede. MS and Davis: hed.
825, s.d. image. So Davis. MS: imge.
832 our. So Davis. MS: or.
833 shewyst. MS: swe shewyst.
837 solempne. So Davis. MS: solepne.
840 sacrum. So Davis. MS: scacrum.
convivium. Davis, p. 84, notes that conuiuium had previously been misread as Dominum. The two is are dotted in the manuscript, so the word cannot be Dominum, but there also seems to be a minim missing between the o and the first i in conuiuium.
841, s.d. menyth. MS: h is not visible in the facsimile and appears to have been cropped.
842, s.n. PRESBYTER. MS omits.
852 I. So Davis. MS omits.
853 MS: A horizontal line incorrectly indicating a change in speaker at line 853 has been cancelled.
854 For. MS:
This line begins with several words that have been struck out. MS: As A c.
860 pytt. So Davis. MS: putt.
865 a menys. So Davis. MS: a menyn.
865, s.d. ost on. So Davis. MS: of non.
866 cum. So Davis. MS: co.
874 forgotyn. So Davis. MS: fogotyn. The second o is superimposed over an incorrect y.
879 tene. MS: written below
886 From. MS: Form.
892 to. MS:
899 Agaynst. So Davis. MS: Agaynt.
904 presumpcion. So Davis. MS: presmpcion.
907 fere. So Davis. MS: fyre.
922 inpresunment. MS: inpresument.
924 creaturys. Davis, p. 86, notes that “Manly suggests vicarys or prechorys, comparing 406.”
926 lockyd. MS:
930, s.d. Here the Juys must knele al down. The stage direction appears in the right margin alongside lines 930–31.
934 wounde. So Davis. MS: wondys.
935 The stage name Jason occurs at the end of the folio (354r) but reappears at the top of the next folio (354v) alongside the rest of Jason’s lines.
938 wounde. MS:
947 bad take us. MS: us take us with bad inserted above the cancelled us.
960, s.n. JONATHAS.MS: Ser Jonathas.
960 knaw. So Davis. MS: know.
967 Never. So Davis. MS: Neverer.
befor. So Davis. MS: befer.
968 leave. So Davis. MS: leae.
mare. So Davis. MS: more.
974 the. MS:
998 God. MS: Inserted above the line by the scribe.
1007, s.d. 1461. MS: m lcccc.lxi.
whom be honowr. MS: be inserted between and slightly above whom and honowr in the colophon.
after 1007 NAMYS. So Davis. MS: nanys.
NUMBERE. So Davis. MS: nmbere.
Christianus. MS: Xpanus.
Presbyter. MS omits.
primus. MS: jmus.
secundus. MS: ijus.
tertius. MS: iijus.
quartus. MS: iiijus.
quintus. MS: vtus.
|[Thus endyth the Play of the Blyssyd Sacrament, whyche myracle was don in the forest of Aragon, in the famous cité Eraclea, the yere of owr Lord God 1461, to whom be honowr. Amen. (see note) (t-note)|
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