Play 33, Harrowing of Hell (1)

PLAY 33, HARROWING OF HELL (1): FOOTNOTE

Line 24, s.d.: Lift up your gates, you princes, and be lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall enter in (compare Vulgate Psalm 23:7)

PLAY 33, HARROWING OF HELL (1): EXPLANATORY NOTES


Abbreviations: PP: Passion Play, ed. Meredith (1990); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991).

This play is written in tail-rhymed octaves.

1, s.n. ANIMA CHRISTI “Soul of Christ." Note that while Jesus is in hell, he is Anima Christi. At the Resurrection, beginning line 1434, the speaker’s name becomes “Jhesus" once again.

1 ff. As with the split Last Supper scenes (27.141–571), the twin Harrowing of Hell scenes suggest simultaneity. While Anima Christi is clearing out hell, Jesus’ body is buried and Pilate’s guard stands watch over the sepulcher. Meredith and Spector cite the source of this scene as the Gospel of Nicodemus (PP, pp. 212– 13n993ff.; S 2:516).

24, s.d. Vulgate Psalm 23:7, part of the collect for Palm Sunday, loosely translated in lines 25–28.

25 Ondothe youre gatys. The undo the door trope common in romances (see The Squire of Low Degree).

25 ff. Meredith and Spector cite Northern Passion as a major source for this section (PP, p. 214n1101–02; S 2:520).

PLAY 33, HARROWING OF HELL (1): TEXTUAL NOTES

Abbreviations: See Explanatory Notes, above

18 certayn. MS: e erased over y.

24, s.d. MS: in the left margin is written Nota anima latronis (“Note: soul of thief.") in the hand of a reviser for a later performance (S 2:520; PP, pp. 213n1016sd, 252–53). Red versus mark appears before Latin lines.

After 48 MS: no break between plays.
 
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Play 33, Harrowing of Hell (1)

by: Douglas Sugano (Editor)
from: The N-Town Plays  2007





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ANIMA CHRISTI Now all mankende in herte be glad
With all merthis that may be had,
For mannys sowle that was bested
In the logge of helle.
Now shal I ryse to lyve agayn
From peyn to pleys of paradyse pleyn!
Therfore, man, in hert be fayn:
In merthe now shalt thu dwelle.

I am the sowle of Cryst Jhesu,
The which is Kynge of all vertu!
My body is ded — the Jewys it slew —
That hangyth yitt on the rode,
Rent and torn, all blody red.
For mannys sake my body is deed;
For mannys helpe my body is bred,
And sowle drynk my bodyes blode.

Thow my body be now sclayn,
The thrydde day — this is certayn —
I shal reyse my body agayn
To lyve as I yow say.
Now wole I go streyth to helle
And feche from the fendys felle
All my frendys that therin dwelle
To blysse that lestyth ay.
mankind; heart; (see note)
mirth
man’s soul; placed
lodge

pain; joys; clear
heart; glad
mirth




yet; cross
Ripped
man’s sake; dead
man’s help; bread
souls; body’s

Though; slain
third; (t-note)

live
will; straight
fetch; fierce fiends
friends
bliss; lasts forever
 
 
[The sowle goth to helle gatys (gates) and seyth: “Attolite portas, principes vestras, et eleuamini porte eternales, et introibit Rex Glorie.” 1
(see note); (t-note)
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Ondothe youre gatys of sorwatorie!
On mannys sowle I have memorie.
Here comyth now, the Kynge of Glorye
These gatys for to breke!
Ye develys that arn here withinne
Helle gatys, ye shal unpynne!
I shal delyvere mannys kynne
From wo I wole hem wreke.

BELYALL Alas! Alas! Out and harrow!
Onto thi byddynge must we bow
That thu art God now, do we know!
Of thee had we grett dowte;
Agens thee may nothynge stonde!
Allthynge obeyth to thyn honde,
Bothe hevyn and helle, watyr and londe!
Allthynge must to thee lowte!

ANIMA CHRISTI Agens me, it wore but wast
To holdyn or to stondyn fast.
Helle logge may not last
Agens the Kynge of Glorye!
Thi derke dore, down I throwe!
My fayr frendys, now wele I knowe:
I shal hem brynge reknyd be rowe
Out of here purcatorye.
Undo; gates; pride (surquidry); (see note)
man’s soul; a claim

gates; break
devils; are
unbolt
mankind
woe I will deliver them

(cries of distress)
bidding

great doubt
Against; stand
Everything; hand

Everything; bow

Against; a waste
stand
lodge
Against

friends
them; row by row
their purgatory; (t-note)


Go To Play 34, Burial; Guarding of the Sepulcher