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1 Lines 5–8: Our dutiful service to Him [God] should be given, / Where He [who] was Lord of all and created all things from nothing, / On behalf of the sinful sinner in order to revive him / Sacrificed [set at nought] His own son for his [the sinner’s] redemption

2 It may be said and verified [that] mankind was dearly bought (ransomed)

3 Lines 11–13: He who has sinned grievously was purged of his original sin / By His [Christ’s] glorious suffering, that blessed purifier. / Oh worthy masters (audience members), I implore you to rectify your habits

4 That you may be able to participate in His reward

5 Lines 27–28: For your spiritual enemy (the devil) will make his boast, / If he can interrupt your good (spiritual) habits

6 Life-giving blood (precious river) poured out from the crucified Christ’s womb-like side

7 Wheat serves for bread, chaff for horses, and straw for fires (nonsense Latin)

8 Quickly, off with your clothes (i.e., priest’s vestments) if you wish to play

9 He who brought you here was [and you are] wasting his [and your] time [ironic]

10 By Jesus Christ who dearly (at a great cost) redeemed me

11 I disapprove of the vicious behavior; I beg you, excuse me

12 He (i.e., the body) that should be the subject now has the victory (i.e., over the soul)

13 So that he may see me end in sinful conduct

14 The life of man upon earth is a warfare, [and his days are like the days of a hireling] (Job 7:1)

15 Moderation is valuable. I do not forbid you to use ale or wine

16 The sooner the better, and may it be right away

17 Your soup shall be quite cold, sir; when will you dine

18 The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21)

19 Good son, don’t put yourself in their company (i.e. don’t hang around with them)

20 Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you will return. Similar to Job 34:15 and Genesis 3:19.

21With the holy, thou wilt be holy[; and with the innocent man thou wilt be innocent. And with the elect thou wilt be elect:] and with the perverse thou wilt be perverted” (Psalm 17:26–27)

22 Lines 325–26: “Behold how good and how pleasant it is,” said the Devil to the friars, “for brethren to dwell in unity” (Psalm 132:1)

23 Yet you will see that he is prudent (i.e., despite Mercy’s bad advice the crop will be good)

24 Lines 374–75: I.e., in a blasphemous way, he may bless his crop with his feces

25 I.e., I can’t perform the simplest function because of my injury

26 The Lord saveth not with sword and spear: [for it is his battle, and he will deliver you into our hands] (1 Kings 17:47)

27 For some of them, truly, were a bit too near (i.e., and paid the price)

28 Peace, sweet babes, you shall have an apple tomorrow (i.e., things will improve)

29 Please give me a plaster bandage (i.e., rather than an amputation)

30 There would be one (body) here and one (head) there

31 Not so! You who may not pay the one, pay the other

32 God bless you, master! Though you speak ill of us, you will not say no [to payment]

33 Therefore truly, master

34 I am the lord of lords. See Deuteronomy 10:17, Revelation 19:16.

35 Here is a handy company of men (i.e., Nought, New Guise, and Nowadays) to snatch them (i.e., the horses) at your gates

36 May the Devil requite thee! I am a penniless gentleman

37 Not to us, O Lord, not to us [but to thy name give glory] (Psalm 113:9)

38 Some here, some there, to see if you can get anything

39 In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now I will begin

40 Our Father who art in heaven (Matthew 6:9–15)

41 Lines 569–71: If you have a piece of [what you would like to pass off as] silver, perhaps it is pure brass (i.e., coins), / Take a little powder of Paris and sprinkle it over the [coin’s] face, / And at twilight the brass coin will pass as silver

42 I shall sleep to my belly’s content even if he were my brother (i.e., regardless of circumstance)

43 But I think he rides on the gallows, to learn how to dance (i.e., he quivers as he hangs)

44 As luck would have it, the noose broke in two: behold the proof

45 “Beware,” said the good wife when she smote off her husband’s head, “beware!”

46 [If] I can not get [some of that food,] I shall die

47 On the last day of February — the year passed fully away

48 Lo, here is a handsome form [of clothing] in which to leap about lively

49 And skip mass and matins, hours, and prime

50 The tears should trickle down my face, if it were not for your (the audience’s) reverence

51 Lines 742–44: Unnatural Mankind, wherever you are! For all this world was not able / To atone for your orginal sin, thralldom, and captivity [by the flesh], / Until God’s own well-beloved son was obedient and willing to suffer

52 Like the weather vane that turns with the wind, you too are changeable

53 In trusting you, I have only found betrayal

54 Lines 754–55: Law and nature, Christ and all justice / Condemn the ungrateful one; they lament that he would ever be born

55 Let Equity (Justice) be laid aside and Mercy prevail

56 Lines 760–61: Sensual living is to blame for what takes place nowadays, / As may be demonstrated by an understanding of this situation

57 With these cursed slaves [of the flesh], if I can do anything about it, he shall not [have to] endure long

58 Mercy shall never be frustrated by his (i.e., Mankind’s) bad habits

59 My most powerful father (i.e., Mercy), when you sup, drink/eat your fill

60 Beware how you shoot while I am moving my bowels

61 Hide it (i.e., the noose) in your coat; it should be done quickly

62 For the right hand of the Lord is changed; the wicked are overthrown and are no more. See Psalm 76:11 and Proverbs 12:7.

63 Have mercy on me, my God (Psalms 50:3, 55:3, and 56:2)

64 [As I live,] saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, [but that the wicked turn from his way, and live] (Ezechiel 33:11), providing he (the sinner) desires to be redeemed.

65 Go, and now sin no more (John 8:11)

66 But when you are gone (i.e., dead) you must calculate your reward up to the least fraction of a coin

67 If you delay until your death, you may by chance through your will lose (i.e., your chance for mercy)

68 Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)

69 Lines 867–70: Even if you could come to know all the virtue in the world, / Your merits would not bring you to heavenly bliss, / Nor to the least joy of heaven, by your own effort to ascend there. / With mercy you may [gain heavenly bliss]; I tell you no fable, scripture proves it

70 O Mercy, my sweet solace and sole source of comfort

71 Remember how ready I was to help you; from such [encounters] I was not reluctant

72 Surely, God may not deny you [the choice] to will freely, [or] not to will freely

73 Lines 901–02: The Lord keepeth thee from all evil [Psalm 120:7] / In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen


Abbreviations: CP: Castle of Perseverance; E: Eccles, Mankind in Macro Plays; L: Lester, Mankind in Three Late Medieval Morality Plays; MED: Middle English Dictionary; MM: Digby Mary Magdalene; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; OI: Occu­pation and Idlenes; S: Smart, “Some Notes on Mankind;” s.d.: stage direction; W: Wisdom.

1–5 The opening speech by Mercy is comparable to the openings of several other Middle English plays. See the initial benediction of Mercy to the Primus Vex­illator at the beginning of CP or to Occupation in OI. The gift of creation is a common theme in the openings of Lucidus and Dubius, CP, and OI. As Sikorska points out, the speech itself distances Mercy from “the dramatic action by virtue of its homi­letic content,” ultimately establishing him as a character who, as a messenger of God, functions as “a persona both inside and outside of the play” (“Mankind and the Question of Power Dynamics,” p. 204).

1 E divides the play into three scenes: the first running from the beginning to line 412, the second from 413 to 733, and the third from 734 to 914, the end of the play.

7–16 According to medieval soteriology, the original sin of Adam made all subsequent human beings prone to sin, and only Christ’s sacrifice on the cross enabled salva­tion. Salvation through Christ’s suffering is a common theme in much medieval drama; compare Doctrine in OI, lines 203–06, and the opening speeches of Char­ity in Youth, or of Pity and Contemplation in Hick Scorner. Such universal themes situate the action within the larger context of human exper­ience as it is shaped by the inevitability of death and the cycle of the sin and repentance, shift­ing the focus from the concerns or an­xieties of specific indi­viduals to those of humanity as a whole.

12 lavatorye. Compare CP: “Mercy schal be hys waschynge-well” (line 3145).

17–24 The opening presentation of Mercy’s worthiness mirrors the initial speeches of Wys­dom in W, Occupacion in OI, Charity in Youth, and Pity in Hick Scorner. Lynn­Dianne Beene notes how Mercy avoids referring to himself in the first person here by pluralizing pronouns to include God the Holy Trintiy, thus emphasizing “the deity rather than the speaker who re­presents the deity” (“Language Patterns in Mankind,” p. 25).

22 Owr Lady. The mother of Jesus, Mary, is commonly portrayed in literature and art as a mediator between the deity and humans as well as an advocate for the sinner on Judgment Day. Compare Hick Scorner “Record I take of Mary, that wept tears of blood” (line 10), and OI (lines 823–63).

24 defendawnte. Mercy as a protector for the soul adds to the conceit of the soul being defended in a court, especially in the court on Judgment Day.

25 Compare Mercy’s exhortation to avoid wickedness to Wisdom’s in W (lines 109–60), and Occupacion’s in OI (lines 368–96).

27 yowr gostly enmy. The enemy of your soul, i.e., the devil: a small example of the notion that medieval spirituality was often stated in terms of warfare. Compare Everyman “For I have a grete enemy that hath me in wayte” (line 334) and “Mun­dus et Infans” “Now Mary, Moder . . . saue you from our enemy” (lines 753–55).

29 O ye soverens that sytt and ye brothern that stonde ryght uppe. Those who sat were the employers and guests of the houses, and those who stood were the servants. Much has been made of the distinction between the two groups, as it gives us a context for the performance: the line makes clear that at least one of the potential venues of the play was in the private household or inn. L parallels Hamlet’s refer­ence to the “groundlings” in Hamlet III.ii.12 (p. 4).

32–38 The notion of Christ as the head and his followers, or the saints, as the body be­gins in Colossians 1:18 and 1 Corinthians 12:12–31. Lines 36–38 refer to the blood of Christ as the sacrament. The body was commonly used as a metaphor for society in which every class or profession had a distinct function. Michael J. Pres­ton sug­gests the worldly devils’ preoccupation with crudeness, as opposed to Mercy’s elevated rhetoric, and Mankind’s vacillation between the two, are best as examples of the variability of human behavior: “we may gaze below the waist (i.e., act like a lower-class person) or — to use the alternative paradigm — gaze accord­ing to our lower (baser) desires; at other times we may gaze above the waist, ideally above the shoulders” (“Re-Presentations of (Im)moral Behavior,” p. 229).

34 lykynnyde to a lambe. Christ is typically referred to as the lamb of God. See John 1:29: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

36 Wyth the precyose rever that runnyth from Hys wombe. L, following S, limits the mean­ing to the “blood of Christ as the sacrament,” but the sense goes beyond this. The direct reference is to John 19:34, the soldier thrusting his lance into the cru­cified Christ’s side. In medieval interpretation, what flows from Christ’s wound is the oil of mercy that originated in the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, then, later, pours forth from Christ’s side on the cross. The story is told in the Cursor Mundi, South English Legendary, and Legenda Aurea and explored in Esther Casier Quinn’s Quest of Seth for the Oil of Mercy and Charles Mills Gayley’s Plays of Our Forefathers. The image of the oil of mercy is linked with the line “your name is as oil poured out,” the second verse of the Song of Songs, the language of which forms the subtext of the re­demption of Mankind: see, for example, lines 811–12 and 871–72.

40 Of the mortall enmye, that vemynousse serpente. The devil, who in the shape of a ser­pent tempted Eve and Adam. Christ’s death remedies the death sentence that began with their fall from grace.

43 The corn shall be savyde, the chaffe shall be brente. The sources of the corn (grain) and chaff metaphor, especially in the context of the Last Judgment, are Matthew 3:12 and Luke 3:17. See also lines 50, 54–63, 180, and 185 below. Corn is the col­lective term for the grain of cereals such as wheat, spelt, rye, barley, rice, etc., but not maize, which was yet to be introduced from the New World. Ashley, on the meta­phorical significance of the paradigm, asserts: “corn and chaff stand not merely for the worthy man and the sinner, but for the kind of words to which each gives his allegiance . . . Mercy’s job is to persuade us of the crucial distinction between corn and chaff, while the Wordlings and Mischief devote their considerable wit to obliterating that distinction” (“Battle of Words,” p. 132). 45 calcacyon. “Preaching.” See MED “calken” (v.), citing the Paston letters 3.48 on a priest who “kalked and reported.” Mischief seems to be responding sarcastically to Mercy’s preaching with its calks on corn and chaff and “prem­edytacyons.” L and Bev­ington (Medieval Drama) suggest an emendation to “calc[ul]acion” but that emendation seems unnecessary. E picks up on the corn-and-chaff trope to suggest “threshing,” though this sense is not attributed in OED until 1656. But as a figure of rhetoric, the separation of chaff and grain has been a preaching trope for gen­erations as one metaphor is calked to another until Mischief objects through mockery.

47 Yowr wytt ys lytyll, yowr hede ys mekyll. Mischief suggests that because Mercy’s head is so filled with his own preaching, his wit is diminished. E and L note the expre­ssion “Mickle head, little wit,” recorded in Smith and Wilson, eds., Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs (p. 422); Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases, H226; and Tilley, Dictionary of the Proverbs in England, H245.

49 Mysse-masche. Cited in the OED as the earliest use of mish-mash. E and S attempt to explain the origins of this term and the other words in this sequence (e.g., “raffe”) as a pun on the noun raff (refuse). It is perhaps best to see them sim­ply as pro­vocative nonsense verse.

51 Raffe. Since “raff” meant “worthless material, trash, refuse” according to S (p. 57), “Raffe” was considered a lower class and com­ical name.

52 Onschett yowr lokke. “Purse” is not a sense for “lokke” cited in MED though it ack­nowledges the possibility of a container or strong box. S (p. 57) interprets the phrase to mean “to talk, to speak,” as in lines 128–29. E’s sug­gestion, “open your locked door and give a halfpenny,” may be too limiting, as the lock seems to be something other than a door — a treasure trove, perhaps. Given the effort of the company to collect money later this could be seen as an opening gesture in that direction, in which case the “lokke” would be something they have on their person, like a purse or wallet.

57 Corn servit bredibus, chaffe horsibus, straw fyrybusque. Mischief’s mock Latin, which means “Corn serves for bread, chaff for horses, and straw for fires,” parodies Mercy’s preaching. His mockery undermines the oversimplified either/or model that Mercy offers.

70 in the devyllys name. By using the name of the devil, Mischief swears the inversion of the typical oath, i.e., to God or a saint. See Woolf, English Myst­ery Plays, pp. 136–37.

71 Ande I wyll abyde. I.e., Mischief responds not to the wishes of God but to those of the devil. In his frequent use of first person pronouns, Mischief “eschews the imper­sonal reference which so marks Mercy’s speech and embraces the personal reference” (Beene, “Language Patterns in Mankind,” p. 26). This informal and more intimate style of discourse — imitated by New Guise, Nought, and Nowadays — is funda­mental to the successful seduction of Mankind as it produces a false sense of camaraderie and belonging.
71–72 Between these two lines a page containing approximately seventy lines is missing from the manuscript. In later lines, it is implied that Mercy had spoken about New Guise, Nought, and Nowadays (line 98). Beyond this, we can only speculate that the vices have intruded upon Mankind and are forcing him into games and dances against his will. Glynne Wickham conjectures that Nought is wearing a bearskin (English Moral Interludes, p. 5). Twycross notes that the minstrels present at the perform­ance are playing the “bransle” with which an evening of dancing was started, ac­cording to Thoinot Arbeau’s 1589 Orchesographie (“Theatricality,” p. 79).

73 ballys. E suggests that “ballys may be the same word as bales in M 807, ‘a rod or switch for flogging’ (MED baleis).” Or perhaps it suggests whipping tops (i.e., spinning Mercy around). There is, however, no indication of violence in this case; perhaps they playfully prod Mercy into the dance, or perhaps they force Mercy into a game akin to the tossing of Mak in the blanket in the Towneley Secunda Pastorum. S reads ballys as “bellows,” indicating the bag­pipe, in which case the line would mean “Blow until your bagpipe bursts,” or “Play until the dancer’s belly bursts.”

75 Sent Tanne. The cult of Saint Anne, the apocryphal mother of the Virgin Mary — and hence the grandmother of Jesus — flourished in the late fifteenth century (See Ashley and Sheingorn, Interpreting Cultural Symbols, p. 48). E cites The Cely Papers, “Sent Tannys mony” and “Sent Annys light” (pp. 186–87).

79 Therfor ever beware of thi reporte. L refers to this as an “uncharacteristically weak line,” but then speculates that reporte is a pun meaning both talk and “mu­sical sound.”

81 Have theratt then. Nought finally joins in, but the witty pace is soon too much for him.

83 Adam. This was a name given to an old man, as if Nought were as old as the Adam of Genesis. Compare Shakespeare’s Adam in As You Like It. Nought is made tired by all the vigorous activity.

85 Yys, mary, I prey yow, for I love not this revelynge. Sister Mary Philippa Coogan makes the case for Mercy speaking the line (Interpretation of the Moral Play, Mankind, p. 507.) Though the line is appropriate for Mercy, it is also fitting for Nought, who has been worn out by his attempts to get Mercy to dance.

88 play. Though the manuscript reads pray there is better reason to think that Mercy would need to take off his outer garments to play than there is for him to pray.

97 narow space. The play appears to be performed amidst crowded conditions.

98–100 Presumably the dancing has ended and the vices now wish to speak with Mercy. Mercy continues to resist their games. In reaction, they claim that Mercy has called them (perhaps in the missing lines) and taken them away from their sleeping and eating, i.e., their sloth and gluttony. L (pp. 66–70) cites Anderson’s Drama and Imagery in English Medieval Churches in noting that this sleeping and eating “may be meant to suggest the sins of sloth and gluttony.”

101 curtly. Nowadays is asking Mercy to keep his speech as brief as possible, as he would like to get back to his eating. This is the only citation of the word in MED.

102 Few wordys, few and well sett. Mercy defends himself, saying that he will keep his address to them brief, and the words well-crafted. L notes that this line is “said ironically,” as Mercy tends not to be brief.

103 the new jett. References to the new style or newfangledness are ubiquitous in later Middle English texts and usually carry an implication of wanton indulgence.

109 lyke. Compare the Towneley Noah play: “In fayth, and for youre long taryyng / Ye shal lik on the whyp” (lines 382–83).

110 He was well occupyede that browte yow brethern. L also reads this line as ironic, but, since we are not sure who brought the vices to this place, we can not be certain of Mercy’s tone.

124 Englysch Laten. English that is made to seem formal by its Latinate sound, usually by additional syllables added to the end of the words, e.g., “denomination,” “communication.”

125–26 There are no rhymes for brest or me. As the following stanzas rhyme aaabcccb, it seems that there has been some confusion or omission in the copying of this stanza.
125–30 Furnivall and Pollard (Macro Plays, p. 5) and others present lines 125–28 and 130 in the footnotes, thus chang­ing the line numbering.

126 Pravo te. New Guise begins a scene in which the vices both attempt to test Mercy’s dexterity with Latin and to demonstrate their own proficiency, or at least their own sense of fun, with Latin. The ideological implications of this humorous exchange emerge from the fact that Mercy uses Latin not simply to restate ideas already made in English — as is frequently the case in Piers Plowman, for example — but as significant cornerstones to his argument throughout the play. E cites Prauo in Ortus Vocabulorum (c. 1500), in which it is defined as “to shrewe.” The macronic verse, combining Latin and Eng­lish, is common in this play as well as other morality plays and early Tudor drama.

129–38 Manly cuts the whole stanza in his 1897 bowdlerized edition (Specimens of the Pre-Shakesperean Drama) as if to protect his more proper students from such foul language.

133 opyn yowr sachell wyth Laten wordys. Nowadays is setting Mercy to work to open up, in a sense, his “word-hoard” and set to work translating his couplet. Compare Free Will in Hick Scorner: “Nay, I have done, and you lade out Latin with scoops! But therewith can you clout me a pair of boots?” (lines 789–90).

134 clerycall. OED cites nothing for this word before 1592. See also line 579.

139 twenti lyse. Walker, Medieval Drama, p. 262, queries “20 li’s, i.e., £20.” Though this is reasonable from a pa­leographic point of view, the rhyme would be lost in the performance of the line.

143–46 This passage is clearly meant to be a lighthearted picture of the selling of indul­gences, a biblically-based practice that, though profitable for the Church, even­tually led to widespread abuse and criticism. Compare Chaucer’s Pardoner. “Pope Pokett” is likely a reference to Prior John Poket of Barnwell Priory, as Jambeck and Lee first suggested (“Pope Pokett”); for accurate dates, see Salzman, Victoria History of the County of Cambridge, pp. 234–49. The reference to a local notable along with many others in the play contributes to its satirical edge.

143 here ys a pardon bely-mett. Nought has likely presumed a piece of paper to show that he has a pardon. E defines this as “to the measure of the belly, full and satis­fying” and compares it to “bely-fyll” (line 639) and “fote-mett” (line 531).

152 blyssyde Mary. This should perhaps read “and blyssyde Mary,” the sense being: “May God and Blessed Mary admit you to the brotherhood of the demonic friars.” See also lines 325–26.

153 demonycall frayry. If Gail McMurray Gibson is correct in arguing that Mankind was written by a Benedictine monk at Bury St. Edmonds (Theater of Devotion), the phrase “demonycall frayry” may here be a pun on “Dom­incan friary.”

153–54 A line is likely missing between these two lines, as there is nothing to rhyme with eloquence in line 150.

154–55 Compare Mundus et Infans, “come wynde and rayne, / God let hym neuer come here agayne!” (lines 491–92).

160 jentyll Jaffrey. The name clearly is meant as a light-handed insult. S suggests the name implies “a slow, listless man, a procrastinator” (p. 293). L cites John Hey­wood’s Proverbs: “Nowe here is the doore, and there is the wey. And so (quoth he) farewell, gentill Geffrey.”

166 A best doth after hys naturall instytucyon. Mercy’s proof is that the vices are worse than beasts, since beasts act according to their own natural function while the vices go against nature in dishonoring Christ.

173, 177 L cites Matthew 12:36–37: “But I say onto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified; and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

180 But such as thei have sowyn, such shall thei repe. See Galatians 6:7: “Make no mistake about it; no one makes a fool of God! A man will reap only what he sows.”

182 The goode new gyse nowadays. Mercy distinguishes here the good from the bad type of new fashion. He offers no description, however, of the good version and refers only to the “vycyouse gyse” or the bad type.

195 Of a body and of a soull. The dual nature of the human as the soul and the body was a common theme in medieval poetry, drama, sermons, and art. For example, in W Lucifer advises Mind, Will, and Understanding on the two natures: “Gode lowyt a clene sowll and a mery” (line 494) and “Yeue to yowr body þat ys nede, / Ande euer be mery; let reuell rowte!” (lines 504–05).

200 Wher the goodewyff ys master, the goodeman may be sory. In religious literature, the hier­archical relations between the body and soul were often described in the gendered metaphor of husband and wife: the proper order put the soul and the husband in the dominant positions over the body and the wife; when the body or wife ruled, trouble followed. Medieval popular culture exploited the humor in such upside-down gender roles; the Wakefield Noah play dramatizes Uxor Noah’s obstreper­ous­ness, while Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales creates the irrepressible Wife of Bath to foreground the topic of marital maistrye in his narrative. E compares this line to the Scottish pro­verb, “It is a sour reek, where the good wife dings the good man” (Oxford Dictionary of English Pro­verbs, 1935 edition only, p. 228).

200–01 Because these lines appear in the margin, some early editors have omitted them or placed them in the footnotes. As this section is written in quatrains rhym­ing abab, these two lines are necessary to complete the quatrain.

204–05 As there is no rhyme for “dungehyll,” a line between these two lines has likely been omitted accidentally.

229 Compare MM, “Now ar ye becum Goddys own knygth” (line 1952).

234 chery tyme. According to the OED, “cherry-fair” (here “cherry-time”) was a symbol of the shortness of life and the fleeting nature of its pleasures. E compares Gower’s Confessio Amantis, “Al is bot a cherie feire” (Prologue, line 454) and “as it were a cherie feste” (6.891) which suggest the transitoriness of gaity.

237 Mesure ys tresure. A common proverb in later Middle English indicating that hap­piness lies in the mean. Most directly at this moment he means that mod­eration in drink is to be observed.

241 Yf a man have an hors and kepe hym not to hye. This recommendation not to treat or feed a horse too well has, as S (p. 294) suggests, a parallel in Rolle’s A Treatise of Ghostly Battle, in which Abstinence is the bridle to restrain the horse. Coogan, Interpretation of the Moral Play, Mankind, pp. 56–57, also cites Speculum Sacerdotale to the same effect.

248 peson. L notes that a peson is “a weighing instrument in the form of a staff with balls attached, whence a vulgar term for ‘penis’” (p. 16). Bevington (Medieval Dra­ma) and E suggest pease as a suitable gloss. Others have avoided the subject. To make the reading correct, L suggests that the line should read, “Ande another ther I pysse [wyth] my peson.” But “with” is not necessary. The idiom “piss my penis” is analgous to “shit my pants,” “piss my pants,” etc. We wouldn’t say shit on/in my pants. L’s “penis” makes better sense here than “pease.”

252 A goode horse shulde be gesunne. New Guise, disagreeing with Mercy, claims, on prac­tical grounds, that a good horse should be well fed. If Mercy kept the king’s horses, he suggests, the king would have few horses. “Gesunne” is one of the most difficult words in the play. L’s choice of geason means “scarce”; Furnivall and Pollard’s choice of gesumme derives from the Old Norse gørsemi, which means plentiful (Macro Plays, p. 10). But L’s reading as “scarce” makes the best sense.

262 Do Lytyll. E finds this used as a surname since 1204. See Reaney, Dictionary of Brit­ish Surnames, p. 104.

270 noblys. A gold coin, worth ten shillings.

271 Sent Qwyntyn. Third-century Christian martyr who was tortured, beheaded, and thrown into the River Somme. In all cases, when the vices swear by any holy figure, it is ironic. See also lines 487 and 614.

274 comyn tapster of Bury. S cites an order at Lynn in 1465 to expel “eny common Tap­ster . . . whiche is knowen for a misgoverned woman” (p. 294). A common tapster would typically be a woman who operated a simple or cheap tavern. Compare the tapster who is not saved in the Chester Harrowing of Hell for “deceavinge manye a creature” (line 291) by not giving customers the amount of ale they had purchased.

286–92 Se the grett pacyence of Job. One of several references to Job, the Old Testament figure whose patience was severely tested by God. The scripture quoted in line 292 is Job 1:21. See also lines 228, 287–93, and 319–21. See further Stock, “Thematic and Structural Unity of Mankind.”

287 trieth. L notes the OED: “To separate (metal) from the ore or dross by melt­ing; to refine, purify by fire.” Mankind, like Job, is to be tried like gold in the fire (Job 23:10).

301 Tytivillus. The fun-loving devil whose work it is to collect all the idle words, care­lessly-spoken prayers, and errors (especially those in Latin, spoken by priests); he stores them up in a huge satchel or wallet or writes them down on a scroll to use against the souls on Judgment Day. See Matthew 12:36: “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof on the Day of Judgment.” See Introduction, pp. 7–8.

303 ey. Emended from “eyn” for the exact rhyme with “wey” (line 301) and as parallel to line 876.

308 Do truly yowr labure and be never ydyll. The contention between labor and idleness is the main idea of OI, which is perhaps the closest analogue to Mankind.

319 remors. E insists that it would be pronounced without the r sound, as with mossel (morsel) in CP, line 1171.

321 Memento, homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris. The memorable text for Ash Wednesday services, derived from Job 34:15 “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall return into ashes” and Genesis 3:19 “dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.” The memento mori (be mindful of your death) theme is prominent throughout the rest of the play.

322 bagge of myn armys. Though some have puzzled over this line, it seems apparent that Mankind is referring to an image of the cross on his chest. Whether the sign of the cross is, as S suggests, inscribed on paper and hung around Mankind’s neck (p. 295) or shaped with a more permanent material is not clear. L notes that the “cross as badge of arms goes back to the Emperor Constantine’s vision of it, when he heard the words: ‘In this sign you shall conquer’” (p. 20). See also MM: “Here shall entyr þe thre Mariis arayyd as chast women, wyth sygnis of þe passyon pryntyd ypon þer brest” (line 992, s.d.).

325–26 Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum. From Psalm 132:1 (Authorized King James Version 133:1). Mischief is trying to turn Mankind’s argument against him and make Mankind feel like one of the friars, i.e., one of the order of the devils.

332 Crystemes songe. A “Christmas song” was a rowdy song that was part of seasonal revelry, according to S. E notes that “this is not ‘a carol’” since it is not in stanzas (p. 220). It only has four lines that are presented as a travesty on instruction by lining. See Richard Rastall (“Sounds of Hell,” pp. 120–31) on lining in psalmody. The leader/preacher sings the front line first which is then sung in a chorus by the congregation, here for a comic rather than pious effect since the words are obscene — a mouthful of turds, etc.

343 Holyke. This is clearly a profanation of the sanctus and the word holy, with scato­logical puns on hole-ly, hole-like, hole-lick, and hole-leak. E also suggests hole-leek may refer to a leek known as the holleke (p. 220).

348 wyth bredynge. Compare Nature, lines 525–30, “Let hym stand wyth a foule euyll . . . / Let hym stande on hys fete wyth bredyng.”

373–75 Nought’s scatological approach to farming is not unlike Mischief’s approach to the metaphor of corn and chaff, both speakers being quite literal in their ap­proaches. The notion that Mankind will “overblysse” his crops carries out the parody of the sacred that is prevalent throughout the play. E notes that accord­ing to the OED the earliest record of the use of “compasse” as “a mixture for fer­tilizing land” (i.e., compost) is 1587.

388 Marryde I was for colde, but now am I warme. Nought was cold, but the beating Man­kind has given him has warmed him up.

390 By cokkys body sakyrde. L notes that swearing by Christ’s body was akin to torturing him again. Compare Nature, i. 1174, “by cokkys precyouse body,” and Chaucer’s Pardoner’s Tale, Canterbury Tales VI(C) 472–76.

398–99 in spadibus. . . . hedybus. In response to Mankind’s biblical quotation, Nought uses nonsense Latin: hedibus (on the head) and spadibus (by the spade). In a sense, Nought is correct, as Mankind has been saved by his spade. Nought’s mock-Latin is part of a pseudo-academic motif that runs throughout this play and other comic morality plays such as W and OI and later humanist plays like Wit and Science.

426 ff. In this scene Mischief shows the sort of compassion that Mercy has not shown to this point. L doubts Mischief’s sincerity or the depth of his grief, a doubt well sub­stantiated by the text. E.g. Mischief’s “by him that me bought” in line 415 could refer to Satan or Titivillus more easily than Christ, given his perverse be­havior and abuse of scripture. Compare his perversion (travesty) of “suffer the little children to come unto me” in lines 425–28, which produces the yowling babies he tries to silence with an apple, which he will give them “tomorrow.” One wonders whether he has actually frightened (or perhaps just aggravated) some children in the audience.

435 Smart (“Mankind and the Mumming Plays”) and others have compared this part of the action to the mumming plays.

440 in nomine patris, choppe! Nought combines the notion of beginning a prayer with “in the name of the father” with amputating his arm. In a sense, this is another ex­ample of the parody of the sacred, as Nought fears that Mischief will perform an unnecessary amputation with as little premeditation as he would begin a prayer.

446 I hade a schreude recumbentibus but I fele no peyn. To avoid Mischief’s extreme rem­edies, New Guise and the others are pretending to be well.

449–50 Presumably they huddle to confer.

451 How, how, a mynstrell! They will use music to attract Titivillus, who will solve their problem.

452 Walsyngham wystyll. E and we follow S in concluding that the whistle was a souve­nir sold to pilgrims at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk.

453 flewte.The rhyme would presumably be “flowte,” but the playwright is not always insistent on exact rhymes, especially when he might be attempting a pun or another type of joke.

454 I com wyth my leggys under me. The first words uttered by Titivillus, thus beginning a new attempt to pervert Mankind. Titivillus, who foreshadows Shakespeare’s Puck, Petruchio, and perhaps Falstaff, is the “star” of the show for all of his trick­ery, wild dress, and humor.

456 si dedero. The expectation is something in return, especially when Titivillus is the giver. Compare CP line 879. See Dean, Medieval English Political Writings, “Ad­dresses of the Commons” (p. 164, note 23) for a satirical Latin song in coup­lets begin­ning “Si dedero, decus accipiam flatumque favoris,” with each couplet beginning “Si dedero.”

459 ff. The vices take up a collection in order to pay for Titivillus’ services. Most agree that this is in fact a collection for the players themselves. New Guise’s singling out the worshypfull soverence, i.e., those who can afford to pay, is worth noting. In this pecuniary context, use of the phrase “gostly to owr purpos” is certainly ironic. As Alan J. Fletcher notes (“Meaning,” p. 302), the phrase is a sermon formula that signals the preacher’s upcoming spiritual exegesis, asking the audience to be attentive to the spiritual truths which are found in the sermon. Used parodically here by New Guise, the phrase calls attention instead to the profane actions of the Worldlings.

460 yowr neclygence. A parody of “your reverence,” which is the common idiom for addressing another respectfully.

461 a hede that ys of grett omnipotens. The big head was typical of characters in folk plays. The word omnipotens also parallels him with God, as we see elsewhere in the play.

462 Kepe yowr tayll. Nowdays tells the others to keep a careful account of the money they are about to collect; since they will need to pay Titivillus for his services, the Vices take a collection.

464–65 Titivillus does not like groats or tuppence; he prefers (more valuable) red royals, a coin worth ten shillings (“red” is synonymous with “gold”), first produced in 1465.

467 goodeman of this house. According to L, this refers to either “the master of this house­hold” or “the host of this inn,” depending on the acting location. They go on to imply that he is cursing them under his breath (for asking for money), but will not refuse (for fear of being shown up in public).

471 I sey, New Gyse. E construes this as “I speak in the new fashion,” but it is clearly “I say [to you] New Guise [and] Nowadays: ‘Are you well-moneyed?’” He is asking them if they have collected enough money to pay Titivillus for his services.

475 Ego sum dominancium dominus. Deuteronomy 10:17; Revelation 19:16. As the title refers to God and not to a devil, the use of the title here is ironic. Pilate in the Towneley Processus Talentorum (Play of the Talents) also refers to himself as dominus dominorum (line 10).

479 I have no monay. New Guise and the other vices, having supposedly collected mon­ey to pay Titivillus, have hidden the money and now claim to have none.

482 felow. E makes the case that the word should be velan, as it would rhyme with jentyllman (line 483) and assonate with (or make an imperfect rhyme with) am (line 484).

487 Non nobis, domine, non nobis, by Sent Deny. Psalm 113:9 (Authorized King James Version 115:1). As usual, the passage is quoted in an inappropriate context. As Titivillus is an inverted version of the true “dominus,” the word “domine” is an appropriate address for a vice figure. Saint Denys, who became the patron saint of France, was bishop of Paris sent to convert Gaul in the Roman era. He was thrown to wild beasts, burnt at the stake, and then beheaded. His corpse is said to have risen from the dead and carried his severed head a great distance. In a sense, St. Denys would make a better patron for Nowadays, whose head was near­ly amputated by Mischief, than for Nought.

488 The Devll may daunce in my purse for ony peny. Traditional proverb found in a variety of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century authors, including Hoccleve, Skelton, and Nashe. See Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases, D191, and Tilley, Dictionary of the Proverbs in England, D233.

489 clen as a byrdys ars. Another traditional proverb. See Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases, B317, and Tilley, Dictionary of the Proverbs in England, B391.

497 the fyve vowellys. S suggests that “v. wellys” (pp. 297–98) is a term synonymous with the five wounds of Christ. E thinks that “Nowadays may be varying this for­mula to refer to his cries of pain, ‘A! e! i! o! u!’” The term might also be a malapropism.

498 sytyca. L notes the humor in this, as the sciatic nerve affects the leg and not the arm (p. 31).

505–15 All of the place-names and people listed by the vices here can be found in the East Midlands, with particular connections to the Cambridge area. See Introduction, p. 10. It is entirely possible, if the play were to be played in a variety of locations, that the players would use the names of those present in the audience to create the list in this section. If the names in the manuscript reflect that practice, then the audi­ence for this performance at least would have been an impressive one. E notes that the place-names are discussed by Brandl, Quellen des Weltlichen Dramas, p. xxvi; by Furnivall and Pollard, Macro Plays, pp. xi–xii and 19; and by S pp. 48–55 and 306–08. In Cam­bridgeshire are Sawston, Hauxton, and Trump­ington, a group of villages just south of Cambridge, and Fulbourn, Bottisham, and Swaffham, to the east of Cambridge in the direction of Bury (men­tioned in line 274). East Walton, Gayton, Massingham, and another Swaffham are in Norfolk, a few miles to the east of Lynn. Swaffham and Soham in Cambridge­shire are mentioned in Skelton’s “A Garlande or Chapelet of Laurell,” line 1416. S cited documents for Hunt­ingdons of Sawston in 1428, a John Thyrlowe of “Hawkeston” (also spelled “Haus­ton”) in 1450, John and William Pychard of Trumpington (1450–89), William Baker of East Walton (d. 1491), Alexander Wood of Fulbourn (justice of the peace 1471), William Allington of Bottisham (justice of the peace 1457, speaker of the Commons in 1472, knighted in 1478, d. 1479), and Hamonds of Swaffham in Cambridgeshire and Swaffham in Norfolk. A John Fydde lived in 1450 at Water­beach, near Cam­bridge. The rogues took care to avoid the two justices and “Hamonde of Soffeham,” probably, as Bruce Dickens suggests, the William Ham­ond whose brass dated 6 Feb. 1481/2 was once at Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambs (Dickens et al., Place-Names of Cumber­land). For the Huntingdon family see Tever­sham, History of the Village of Sawston, i. 52 L, 101–06. J. C. Wedgwood, History of Parlia­ment, i. 9, records that William Allington, M.P., was exiled with Edward IV in September 1470, and is said to have been the king’s standard-bearer at Barnet in April 1471 (p. 222).

512 a noli me tangere. John 20:17. The term is likely used here to note the character’s arrogance or that he is a person best to avoid or “spare.” In the OED the first use of the phrase recorded as a description of a person is circa 1635. S cites two other instances before this date, in Gower and Lydgate (pp. 50–51).

516 For drede of in manus tuas — qweke. Nought’s line works in a colloquial or oral fashion: for fear of being hung, i.e., like Christ on the Cross, whose last words were “in manus tuas” (Luke 23:46). In John 20:17, the reference is to the resur­rected body of Christ, which Mary Magdalene is not to touch. He says that he will avoid Alyngton and Ham­onde, perhaps because he has had legal troubles with them. The “qweke” is onomatopoetic, as in the sound of one’s neck breaking on the gallows.

520 neke-verse. A man might escape hanging for his first offence if he could read a Latin verse (thus proving he was a cleric), usually Psalm 50:3: “Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam; secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum dele iniquitatem meam.” For background on the practice of claiming benefit of clergy, see Gabel, Benefit of Clergy in England; also Firth, “Benefit of Clergy in the Time of Edward IV,” where Mankind is discussed. This is first instance of “neke-verse” cited in OED. Compare Hick Scorner: “For we be clerks all and can our neck-verse” (line 266).
cheke. Like qweke (line 516), this echoes the jolt of a hanging.

522 I blysse yow wyth my lyfte honde. The devil does everything in reverse of God, who blesses with the right hand, another parody of the sacred.

530 my nett. In his subtlety, the fiend is often portrayed ensnaring the idle with his net. See John Wyclif, Select English Works, 3.200, and Chaucer’s Second Nun’s Tale, Canterbury Tales VIII(G)8–13.

531 I hope to have hys fote-mett. Literally, Titivillus hopes to have the measure of Man­kind’s foot; in general, he hopes he can figure out how to bring Mankind to ruin.

537 wyth drawke and wyth durnell. These general terms for weeds that grow among grain are appropriate, as the subtext of this scene is the parable of the sower where weeds are sown along with the wheat, Matthew 13:24–30 and 36–43.

546 I shall sow my corn at wynter and lett Gode werke! L says that this “makes no sense since the setting already is winter, or very early spring” and opts for Bevington’s suggested emen­dation of “at vyntur,” meaning “at random” (p. 34). They have not allowed, how­ever, for the fact that Mankind is slowly being worn down; when he dis­covers that the ground is too hard to till (thanks to Titivillus’ board), Mankind decides that he can wait until winter to sow his seeds, probably of winter wheat. When winter comes, Mankind, who has quickly resigned himself to the fact that he will not get his crop planted, will “lett Gode werke.”

549a This stage direction is in the manuscript. Bevington places it after line 550 in his edition of the text (Medieval Drama, p. 923).

552 Thys place I assyng as for my kyrke. E notes that “the Lollards believed, according to the trial of William and Richard Sparke for heresy in 1457, that ‘a prayer made in a field or other unconsecrated place is just as efficacious as if it were made in a church’” (p. 223).

566 be Cryst. The oath here is formulaic, and, as Titivillus works against Christ, ironic.

569–71 Unpolished silver has a powderlike hue to it: this fact along with the poor light will allow one to pass off silver brass as silver. Titivillus is likely taking this oppor­tunity to show the audience one of his tricks or perhaps to take some coin or other valua­ble from one or more of them. Compare Skelton’s Magnificence “my fancy was out of owl-flight” (line 671).

570 powder of Parysch. S suggests that this was an arsenic compound (p. 300).

582 be on myle. I.e., by the length of time it would take to walk a mile.

593 The Devll ys dede. Traditional saying: “the job is finished” or “My work is nearly done.” Here Titivillus has nearly brought Mankind to sin or spiritual idleness.

607 Whope who. An untranslatable expression of someone waking with a start.
avows. Not clear if he means I avow or he (Titivillus) avows; the former is gram­matically incorrect, while the second is not possible, since Mankind does not even know that Titivillus had been there. The use of “avows” is likely to be col­loquial for “I swear.” See line 624.

611 smattrynge. Bevington (Medieval Drama, p. 925) glosses as “kissable?”; E, “?pretty.” MED suggests “dirty,” “foolish,” or, as adj., “?attractive.” “Kissable” seems in keeping with Mankind’s eager mood. Certainly his thoughts are earthy as he recoils from his thwar­ted piety.

613 overron. As it is soon clear that New Guise has been involved in a series of crimes, it is generally assumed that he has just outrun the law.
Gode gyff hym evyll grace. May God curse him, i.e., the man who was chasing New Guise.

614 Sent Patrykes Wey. New Guise, who enters with a noose around his neck, is indi­cating that he was near death when he saw St. Patrick’s Way, or St. Patrick’s Purgatory. St. Patrick’s Way indicated a specific pit through which skeptical potential converts might glimpse Purgatory. Those who glimpsed this Purgatory, both in the time of St. Patrick and later when it became a popular destination for pilgrims, were sup­posedly converted; New Guise’s morality, how­ever, remains unchanged by the ex­perience. E cites the Wright edition of St. Patrick’s Purgatory and the Krapp edition of The Legend of St. Patrick’s Purgatory.

616 ecce signum. Presumably, he is holding the noose (the sign) in his hands as he piously would have us “behold the proof.” The Latin phrase parodies Christ’s showing of His wounds to the disciples as evidence of His resurrection and be­comes a favorite comic trope in Renaissance drama. Compare Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus 3.2.2 (Robin); Shakespeare’s I Henry IV 2.4.187 (Falstaff), and Taming of the Shrew 1.3.227 (Sonder). See Rainer Pineas on the vice figure’s self-condemna­tion in Man­kind (“English Morality Play,” pp. 162–65).

617 a nere rune. First instance in OED of the noun run.

618 Beware. A bit of dark humor, as her warning to her husband comes at the same moment that she takes off his head. As we learn in line 644, Mischief has been dallying with the woman, who was also the wife of the jailer.

619 Mischief ys a convicte. Mischief is a convict, i.e., imprisoned rather than hanged, because he was able to recite the “neck verse.” See also line 520n.

621 he wyll hange such a lyghly man. According to the MED, “lyghly” (“handsome/ trustworthy/honest, excellent”) is a rare word in Middle English. Com­pare W: “Me semyt myselff most lyghly ay” (line 554), and MM: “So it is most lylly for to be!” (line 1265).

628 Sent Audrys holy bende. New Guise, who is wearing a broken noose around his neck, tells the credulous Mankind that he wears the saint’s emblem to help cure his ring­worm. Silk lace neckbands were purchased at the shrine of St. Audrey in Ely Ca­thedral and worn by women in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance to commem­orate the revered saint who died of a tumor on her neck, a tumor which she considered appropriate payment for her own vanity of wearing beautiful neck­laces in her youth. Later referred to as tawdry lace.

630 runnynge ryngeworme. New Guise uses the noose marks to make a visual pun on his “lytyll dyshes.”

632 I have laburryde all this nyght; wen shall we go dyn. This seems to be an ironic version of Luke 5:5, when Christ calls his disciples and Simon answers “Master, we have been hard at it all night long and have caught nothing.”

633 A chyrche her besyde shall pay for ale, brede, and wyn. Nowadays has robbed a church: he has stolen either church properties, including perhaps the Euch­arist and sacra­mental wine, or cash and other items that will afford him enough money for ale, bread, and wine.

638 Here cummyth a man of armys. A joke that he has the remnants of shackles on his arms, playing perhaps on the fact that a man of arms placed them there. Com­pare Youth’s line “thou diddest enough there / For to be made knight of the collar” in Youth (lines 269–70).

641 scoryde a peyr of fetters. A double meaning for scoryde: to scour or wear clean, i.e., through his efforts to escape, and scored, i.e., to win by stealing, though this use is not recorded until much later.

647 I brought awey wyth me both dysch and dublere. Mischief’s theft of food items from the jailer, combined with Nowadays’ stolen items from a church, will serve to par­ody the Last Supper, or at least the sacrament of Eucharist, as the vices sit down to eat. See Pineas, “English Morality Play,” pp. 159–64.

649 the new chesance. The “new chesance” comes through corruption and deceit. Com­pare the N-Town “Jerusalem Conspiracy”: “And yf mony lakke, this is the newe chevesauns” (line 103). Chaucer’s Merchant in the Canterbury Tales (Prologue I[A] 282) keeps up his prosperous appearance through ostentatious “chevyssaunce,” or monetary dealings.

661 Why stonde ye so styll? Either Mankind has become frozen in his despair or, as L suggests, the line is spoken sarcastically about Mankind, who is “trembling like a leaf.”

664 sett a corte. Rather than simply registering Mankind as one of his own, Mischief holds court to decide if he is worthy. The following scene, usually referred to as “the court of Mischief” or “the court of misrule,” is another case of the parody of the sacred in which the normal order of things, including court proceedings, is turned upside down. This scene both parallels the Last Judgment scenes in the cycle plays and anticipates the Boar’s Head Tavern trial scene in Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV, II.iv., in which Prince Hal (not unlike Mankind in many ways) is put on trial by his would-be father Falstaff.

667 Oyyt! Oyyt! Oyet! Macro Plays, ed. Bevington, p. 289: O y yt, Oy õyt, Oyet. Though the spellings are seemingly unusual here, there seems to be no consistency in other texts. An imperfect pronunciation would be ap­propriate and perhaps comic here.

668 sen. The playwright uses a shortened form of send to rhyme with women and men. E notes that “tenants were bound either to attend the manor court or to send ex­cuses (‘essoins’)” (p. 225).

671 syde gown. This scene includes an ongoing visual gag in which Mankind’s stately garment is step-by-step reduced to a ridiculous remnant of its original self. New Guise’s attempt to tailor a “fresch jakett” (line 676) turns out to be, according to Nowadays, “not be worth a ferthynge” (line 695). Nought says he will “mende yt” and returns with a “joly jakett” (line 718), which is cause for much laughter. It is also an image of topical interest: S cites a 1463 statute that prohibited any man from wearing a “gown, jacket, or coat, unless it be of such length that the same may cover his privy members and buttocks” (pp. 304–05).

687–93 Carici tenta generalis. . . Anno regni regitalis / Edwardi nullateni. This is a parody of the opening lines of a court session or court record. Edward the Nothing is likely an allusion to the fact that, after Edward IV’s deposition in 1470, there is a short period in which England had no monarch.
687 Carici tenta generalis. It should read “Curia tenta generalis” (The general court having been held). Mischief’s Latin is weak.

691 On yestern day in Feverere — the yere passyth fully. Mischief considers March 1 to be the first day of the year.

692 Tulli. Common name for Marcus Tullius Cicero in the Middle Ages. If the refer­ence is to Nought, it is an ironic one, since Cicero, not Nought, was the paradigm of models and Latin rhetoric.

705–06 “I wyll,” sey ye. I wyll, ser. Though this is, in general, a court scene, it may also be a parody of baptism or other sacraments, with Mankind making vows to carry out the articles of his new faith. See also line 718n.

712 matins, owres, and prime. Three of the seven canonical hours or offices he would be expected to attend under Mercy’s direction. The seven offices were, from morning to evening: matins, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline.

714 da pacem. Ironically, the dagger, which Mischief gives the unusual nickname of “Give Peace,” would put his victims to rest.

718 Mankind’s donning of the “joly jakett” is not unlike the catechumen’s vesting of the baptismal gown. Compare Ydelnes’ taking of the “clothe of clennes” in OI (line 812). See also lines 705–06n.

719 jake of fence. As the jesters keep shortening Mankind’s coat they are both robbing him and effeminizing him. See MED “jakke” n.(2)c jacke of fence, “a short tunic worn by women.”

720 Hay, doog, hay! New Guise encourages Mankind for his new fashion, perhaps as a hunter would stir up his dogs.

724 I beschrew the last shall com to hys hom. As in modern children’s games, the one who comes in last is cursed. Compare Hick Scorner, “Beshrew him for me that is last out of this place!” (line 545).

729 Stow, statt, stow! E (p. 225) glosses as “Ho, woman, ho!” and compares N-Town’s “Woman Taken in Adultery,” 24.125: “Stow [stop] that harlot,” and 145: “Come forth thu stotte [slut].” The vices are beginning to engage in a sort of children’s game here in which they confound Mercy. Soon it turns to football. “Stow” is perhaps a call to hounds; “statt” may be a word referring to a woman, though this is not clear from the context.

732 ostlere, hostlere! Lende us a football. The fact that they are asking the innkeeper for a football has led most readers to believe that Mankind was meant to be per­formed at Shrovetide, the three days preceding Ash Wednesday, which was a time of carnival and games.

742 Man onkynde. A pun on the name Mankind.

743 To dyscharge thin orygynall offence. Mercy is drawing a distinction between what the world, along with its vices, can do to relieve humans of original sin, i.e., nothing, and what “Godys own welbelovyde son” has done. The theme of original sin is important in W as well, e.g., lines 103–32.

750 In trust ys treson. A common proverb in the later Middle Ages. See Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases, T492.

753–55 The versifier is unidentified, but S (p. 302) quotes similar verses in Latin and English in Gower, Confessio Amantis, 5.vii (3:142): “cvncta creatura, deus et qui cuncta creaiut, / Dampnant ingrati dicta que facta viri” [Every creature, God, and all that he created, condemn the words and deeds of an ungratful man]. S goes on to note Gower’s amplication of the idea in Confessio Amantis 5.4917–22 (3:143): “The bokes speken of this vice, / And telle hou God of His justice, / Be weie of kinde and ek nature / And every lifissh creature, / The lawe also, who that it kan, / Thei dampnen an unkinde man.” E compares to Lydgate, Minor Poems, ii. 583, “Lawe and nature pleynyn on folke vnkynde” (p. 226). See Galloway, “Making of a Social Ethic in Late-Medieval England.”

759 Equyté to be leyde onparty and Mercy to prevayll. Mercy echoes the position of Mercy and Justice in the familiar debate of the Four Daughters of God that is given prom­inence in N-Town’s “Parliament of Heaven,” lines 53–188; CP lines 3129–3560; and nondramatic texts such as Cursor Mundi, lines 9517–52; Grosse­teste’s Chateau d’Amour; The Court of Sapience; and Langland’s Piers Plowman B.18.

771 ubi es? L notes that “Mercy’s distressed search for Mankind recalls the para­ble of the good shepherd who searches for the lost sheep until it is found (Luke 15:3–7)” (p. 48).

773 sowpe out yowr messe. Mercy is repeating the phrase “ubi es” (“where are you”), so it begins to sound like “supie.” Mischief’s reply is that if Mercy wishes to use such terms, he should do so moderately (in measure).

776–77 The pun of seeking and sighing is typical of the language of the Worldlings in the play.

780–81 a cape corpus . . . non est inventus. Nowadays is telling Mercy that if he would like to see Mankind he must have a capias, or writ of arrest; if he does not have a capias the sheriff will reply that Mankind is not found.

782 My bolte ys schett. Nowadays has finished his defecatory labors. There is perhaps here an appropriate pun on schett. Compare “A fool’s bolt is soon shot” (Smith and Wilson, Oxford Dictionary of English Proverbs, p. 216).

786 My fote ys fowly overschett. Nought has noted in four successive assertions that there has been an “accident,” but it is not clear who (other than his bowels) has caused the accident.

787 Cum forth, Nought, behynde. Mischief tells the three vices to come forward, but, realizing that Nought’s foot does not smell pleasant, directs him to stand back. There may be a further pun on “behynde” as well.

790 A flyes weyng. Compare the Towneley Buffeting Play (Colophizacio): “he settys not a fle wyng / bi sir cesar full euen” (lines 137–38).

796 Sent Gabryellys modyr save the clothes of thi schon. This is high praise for New Guise’s plan to drive Mankind to despair by telling him that Mercy has been hanged for stealing a mare: for devising such a plan Saint Gabriel’s own mother should pre­serve the fabric of his beshitten shoes.

802 Wyth a tre also that I have gett. I.e., they have prepared a makeshift gallows.

804 Do as I do; this ys thi new gyse. New Guise shows Mankind how to use the noose, the latest thing in quick executions, prompting Mercy finally to support his words with action as he reenters with a whip and begins to chase Mischief.

807 bales. According to Mark Chambers, the bale(y)s is best understood as a specific type of whip used as a tool of penitence in either a sacrificial or a disciplinary method (“Weapons of Conversion,” pp. 1–2). Compare to MM lines 735–39.

808 Qweke, qweke, qweke! Choking sounds. See line 520n.

809 Saint David’s day was celebrated liturgically on March 1.

812 vytall spryt. According to medieval physiology, the three spirits which controlled the processes of life were the natural (located in the liver), the vital (in the heart), and the animal (in the brain) (L, p. 51).

813–14 Mankind is embarrassed for Mercy to see him in his present state, so “bestyally dysposyde.”

817–18 Compare with W: “Fili, prebe michi cor tuum. / I aske not ellys of all þi substance. / Thy clene hert, þi meke obeysance, / Yeue me þat and I am contente” (lines 79–82).

826 hec est mutacio dextre Excelsi; vertit impios et non sunt. Psalm 76:11 (Authorized King James Version 77:10) and Proverbs 12:7. Note that it is not quite either one: Psalm 76:11 “And I said, Now have I begun: this is the change of the right hand of the most High” and Proverbs 12:7 “Turn the wicked, and they shall not be: but the house of the just shall stand firm.”

830 Miserere mei. The opening of Psalms 50, 55, 56 (Authorized King James Version 51, 56, 57). This is the “neke-verse” noted in line 520.

834 Nolo mortem peccatoris, inquit. Abbreviated from Ezechiel 33:11, which actually reads: “Nolo mortem impii, sed ut con­vertatur impius a via sua, et vivat.”

839–42 Mercy explains that at the Last Judgment Justice, Equity, and Truth will all try to condemn Mankind, but Mercy will win the debate and save Mankind’s soul. Three of the four daughters of God (Justice, Truth, and Mercy) are named; Peace is the fourth. See Psalm 84:11 (Authorized King James Version 85:10): “Mercy and truth have met each other; justice and peace have kissed.” See line 759n. The fact that in Mankind Truth and Mercy are male is troubling to L (p. 53). The same gender con­flation is present in the figure of Wisdom in W.

845 Synne not in hope of mercy. Compare Ecclesiasticus 5:6: “And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins.”

846 To truste overmoche in a prince yt ys not expedient. Compare Psalm 145:2 (Author­ized King James Version 146:3): “Put not your trust in princes.”

862 usque ad minimum quadrantem. Compare Matthew 5:26, “Amen dico tibi non exies inde donec reddas novissimum quadrantem”: “Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing.” “The language echoes Matthew 5:26, and the theme recalls the struggle of Everyman to clear his book of ac­counts” (L, p. 54).

863 Aske mercy and have. Compare Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you” and N-Town’s “Woman Taken in Adultery”: “Haske thu mercy and thu shalt have” (line 24).

866 Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile, ecce nunc dies salutis. 2 Corinthians 6:2: “For he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation.” L also cites Isaiah 49:8. Coogan notes that this is the epistle reading on the first Sunday of Lent (Interpretation of the Moral Play, Mankind, p. 11). E notes that it is also included in Matins on Ash Wednesday.

868 Late medieval theological orthodoxy emphasized that one cannot earn heaven by virtuous deeds; salvation is a gift of a merciful God. However, pastoral teaching em­phasized the need to repent of one’s sins well before death and facing judg­ment, since mercy will not be available at that time.

883–88 thre adversaryis. The notion of the three enemies of mankind — the World, the Flesh, and the Devil — is ubiquitous in late Middle English literature. Compare OI: “Euery man hath enmyes thre, / þe Deuel, þe World, and his owen Flessh” (lines 374–75) and W: “Ye haue thre enmyes; of hem be ware: / The Worlde, þe Flesche, and þe Fende” (lines 293–94).

884 the Flesch and the Fell. While flesh refers more to the meat, the fell refers to the skin itself.

912 per suam misericordiam. “Through his mercy”: a phrase often found in prayers and commentaries but never as a complete phrase in the Bible. The phrase “secundum suam misericordiam” is found in Titus 5:2, 1 Peter 1:3, and Ecclesiasticus 50:24.

913 pleyferys. E notes that “Henry Bradley, in Furnivall, p. 188a, pointed out that this should be pleyferys and compared ‘aequales angelis’ in Luke xx. 36. Compare Peter Idley’s Instruc­tions to His Son, p. 542, ‘In heuene who shal be my playefeeris’” (p. 227).


Abbreviations: B: Bevington, Medieval Drama; B2: Macro Plays, ed. Bevington; C: Colde­wey; E: Eccles; F: Farmer; FP: Furn­ivall and Pollard; L: Lester; M: Manly; MS: Washington, Folger Shake­speare Library 5031; s.d.: stage direction; WA: Walker.

F and L are modernized editions of the text and are only included in the following notes when there is significant variation in the readings or when they offer a noteworthy point of com­parison. B and C are partially modernized editions; variations are noted here when they are more than simple modernizations or when they offer a noteworthy point of comparison.

3 dysobedyenc. So E. M, FP, C: dysobedyenc[e]. WA: dysobedyence. B: disobedienc[e].

7 hade. M: emends to late from lade. F, C: have.

9 Yt. FP: þat. M, F: That.

21 The. MS: To þe.

22 medyacyon. So M, E, WA, C. MS, FP: medytacyon. B: mediacion.
habundante. M: emends to this from hadundance. B: habunda[u]nte. F: abundant.

23 neclygence. M: ne[g]lygence.

26 be. WA omits.

27 avaunte. So B, E, C, WA. MS: a vaunce. M, FP: a-vaunte. F, L: avaunt.

31 Beholde. MS: Be holde. M, FP: Be-holde.
yowr. MS: w yowr. M: yower. FP: yowur.

32 Se. C: se[e].

33 certyfye. So M, FP, E, C, WA. MS: crertyfye. B: certifye. F, L: certify.

before 35 In the top margin of this folio a line has been scratched out and is close to illegible. According to B2, it may read: A And yf ther be any man or womans.

37 londe. M: lande.

40 vemynousse. MS: the sse is blurred. M: [the] venymouse. C: venymousse. B: venimousse.

42 ther. So C. MS: þe. E, FP: þer. F, L: there. B: the[r]. WA: þe[r]. M: ther.
streyt. So C. MS, F, FP: strerat, FP queries strait or strict. M: emends to streat from sterat. B, L: strait.

45 calcacyon. So FP, WA, C. M: calc[ul]acyon. F: calculation. B: calc[ul]acion.

48 prey. So E, WA. FP: prey [yow]. F: pray [you]. L: pray you. B: prey [you].

49 Mysse-masche, dryff-draff. So WA, C. MS: dryff draff mysse mache. F: Driff, draff! mish, mash! M, FP: Dryff-draff, mysse-masche. L: Mish-mash, driff draff. B: Missse-masche, driff-draff.

52 Onschett. MS, B, FP: On-schett. M: On-shett.

55 feryde. M: emends to fyryde from feryrde. F, L: fired.

60 reliqua. M: reliquid. FP, F: reliqu[i]d.

61 provente. M, FP, F: produce.

62 forcolde. MS: for colde. M, FP, F, B: for-colde.

64 Avoyde. MS: A voyde. M, FP: A-voyde.

66 nor. MS: the no is blotted. M: emends to this from for.

67 may. MS: the y is blotted.

68 on. MS: the on is blotted.

70 not. MS: this word is added above go.
devyllys name. MS: deuyllys man name. WA: Devllys name. B: dev[i]llys name.

71 abyde. MS: a byde. M: a-byde.

71a MERCY. The speaker's part is added at the bottom of folio 122v; a leaf of the Manuscript is apparently missing after this.

72 NEW GYSE. MS: though no name is recorded here, New Guise is likely speaking. FP, F, E, B, L, C, WA all concur. M: Mercy.

73 ballys. M: emends to bowys from bollys. F: bales. L: baleys.

74 neke. M: emends to this from reke.

75 no. M: emends to this from us.

76 Leppe. M: emends to this from Leffe. F, L: Leap.
about. MS: a bout. M, FP: a-bout.
wyght. F: white.

77 wyll. F, L: while. B: w[h]ill. C: w[h]yll.

78 schew. M, F, L: show. FP: schow.


beware. MS, WA, C: be ware. FP: be-ware.

80 beschrew. MS: be schrew. M, FP: be-shrew.
Her. B: Her[e].

81 theratt. MS, FP: þer att. WA: þeratt. M: ther at.
then. MS, E, WA: þen. FP: þem, queries þen. M, F: them. B, L, C: then.

81, s.d. daunce. So M, FP, E, C. MS: daunc. B, WA: daunc[e]. F, L: dance.

82 reull. M, FP: reuell. B: rev[e]ll. C: revll. L: revel.

83 goode. MS: gode, with the additional o added above the rest of the word.

84 thi. MS, E, WA: þi. M: thin.

86 Cum. M: Euer.

88 Anon. MS: A non. M, FP: A-non.
play. So E, B, C, WA. MS, M, FP, F, L: pray.

90 daunce. M: emends to this from dauunce.

92 avaunce. MS: a vaunce. M, FP: a-vaunce.

96 tracyed. MS, B: tracyde.
to fell. So M, suggests fylde fell. MS: fylde fell. FP: fylde fell. B, C: to[o] fell.

97 tell yt ys. So E, WA. M, FP: tell [yow] yt ys. F, B: tell [you] it is. L: tell, it is. C: tell yow [it] ys.

99 hade. M: haue õe. FP: had õe. F: have ye. B: hade [ye]. L: have.

100 And. So E, L, C. MS: A. M, FP, WA, F, B: A[nd].
cuppe. So M, E, B, C, WA. MS: cuppe redy. F, L: cup. FP: retains redy.

106 synfull. So E, WA, C. MS, FP: sympull. M: synnfull. F: simple. B: simpull.

107 not. M, F, B: no[ugh]t. L: nought.
ageyn. MS: a geyn. FP: a-geyn.
nowadays. MS: now a days. M, FP, F: Now-a-days.

108 schrewys. So E, C. MS: schewys. M, FP, WA, B: sch[r]ewys. F: sh[r]ews. L: shrews.

109 lyke. MS: k lyke.
boffett. MS, FP, WA, C, B: bofett. F, L: buffet.

110 brethern. M: hether. F: hither. B, C, L: brether.

111 togethere. MS: to gethere. M, FP: to-gether.

113 Lo. M: So.

115 NOWADAYS. MS: this is not written as a speech tag.
NOUGHT. MS: this is not written as a speech tag.

117 betray. MS: be tray. M, FP: be-tray.
men. MS: A man men.

118 Betray. MS: Be tray. M, FP: Be-tray.

122 by. MS: and my, by added above line. M, FP: & my. F, L: and my.

123 favour. MS, E: fauour. M: emends to fors from fans. FP: faus. F: force.

125–26 MS: lines copied incorrectly as neither has a corresponding rhyme.
125–28 MS: lines added to the right of the text. M and FP place these lines in a footnote so line numbers are different from those of this edition from this point on. F does not include these lines.

126 onto. MS: on to. FP: on-to. L: unto.

127 stale. M: stall. L: stole.

128 B attributes this line to Nowa[days].

129 NOWADAYS. MS: Now A added in the left margin.
worschyppull. M: worschypfull. FP: worschypp[f]ull. B: worshipp[f]ull.

130 The line itself appears in the right margin above 125 in MS; this edition follows E and B in the line ordering. M, FP, F consider it a note and omit.

133 Laten. M: Lat[en].

135 Rachell. M: Rackell. F: Rachel.

140 thee. C: the[e]. MS, E: þe. M: the. FP: þee. WA: þe[e].

141 that. M: emends to this from late. MS, E, FP, WA: þat.

142 Osculare fundamentum. MS: written in the right margin.

143 bely-mett. MS: bely mett. M: emends to bely mett from bely melt. F: by limit.

145 sockett. MS, E, M, FP, WA, C, B: sokett.

147 ydyll. M: emends to this from yeyll.

149 hens. M: emends to this from haue.

151 MS: In the name of God amen is written in the right margin next to this line in a different hand.

153–54 MS: as there is no line to rhyme with eloquence (line 150), it appears that a line is missing between these lines (M, E agree).

154 NOWADAYS. MS: nowad, with novadeis written in the right margin. Also true of lines 336, 338, 340, 342, 442, 462, 473, 483, 640, 683, 694, and 795.
Cum. M: Euer.

155 ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

159 her. C: her[e].

161, s.d. simul. M omits. FP: silentio.
Cantent. MS: this is written in another hand. M, FP omit. F: sil.

167 behavour. MS: be hauour. M, FP: be-hauour.

169 her. M, B: [t]her. F, L: their.

171 Beware. MS, M, FP, WA, C: Be ware.

172 befor. MS: be for. M, FP: be-for.

173 ydyll. M: emends to this from yeyll.
we. M: ws.

174 ease. M: ca[u]se.
thei. MS, E, FP, WA: þei. M: the[i].

177 onto. MS: on to. M, FP: on-to. F, L: unto.

178 begyn. MS: be gyn. M, FP: be-gyn.
sore. M, FP: sor.

185 that. MS, E, FP, WA: þat both times. M: emends from yt both times.

186 cley. M: emends to gler from cler, queries cley.

189 onto. MS: on to. M, FP: on-to. F, L: unto.

192 pervercyonatt. M: pervertonnat. FP, B: pervercionatt.

193 them. MS, E, WA: þem. FP: þes. F: these. M: thes.

196 them. MS, E, WA: þem. M, F: the. FP: þe.

197 subjecte. So E, B, C, WA. MS: subiecte. M: emends to soiette from seietle. FP: s[u]biecte. F: s[u]bject.

200 goodewyff. MS: goode wyff. M, B: goode-wyff.
goodeman. MS: goode man. M: goode-man.

201 remembrance. M: remembrence.
201–02 MS: these lines are added in the right margin with the end of line 201 written above the rest of the line.M, FP, and F consider them notes and omit. E places them here. B, L, C, and WA follow E.

202–03 MS: as there is no line to rhyme with dungehyll (line 204), it appears that a line is missing between these lines.
202 O thou. MS: O þu. M: & in. FP: O In. B: O th[o]u.

203 Alasse. MS: A lasse. FP: A-lasse.

204 dungehyll. MS: dunge hyll. FP: dunge-hyll.

206 trodyn. MS: Dred trodyn.

207 asay. MS: a say. M, F, L: assay. FP: a-say.

210 wysdam. M: wysdaum.

216 synfull. So E, C, WA. MS, FP: sympull. M: synnfull.

220 To. MS: I To.

221 O. C omits
vertu. MS: this is added above ye are. M: vertue.

224 hat. M, B, C: hat[h]. F, L: hath.

225 wordys. M: workes. FP: workis. F: works.

227 betwyx. MS: be twyx.

228 milicia. So FP, E. MS: nnilicia. B, L: militia.

230 ageyn. MS: a geyn. FP: a-geyn.
yowr. FP: yowur. M: yower.

231 Yf. M, F: If.

232 yow. F: you[r].

237–38 MS: these are recorded as one line that extends into the right margin.

240 anon. MS: a non. M, FP: a-non.

248 another. MS: a noþer. M: a-nother. FP: a-noþer. WA: anoþer.
pysse. M: emends to this from pyose.

249 to-banne. MS: to banne. M: to-sane, queries to-lam. FP, F: to-samne.

251 palfrey-man. M: palfrey-man, queries mare. E, WA, C: palfreyman.

252 horse. M: horses.
gesunne. So E, C. MS, FP, F, WA: gesumme. B: gesunne. M: emends to geson from gesumma. L: geason.

255 Hym. MS: Us hym.

257 son. FP: sone. F, L: soon. B: son[e]. C: so[o]n.

261 anon. MS: a non. M: a-non.

264 MS: Novad is written in the right margin, though Nowadays’ part began at line 261.
Mo then. MS, E, FP, WA: Mo þen. M: Me thynk.

265 leve. M emends to leue from leuer. F: liever.

266 When. M: To [t]hem. FP: to hem. F: To them.

268 Because. MS: Be cause. M, FP: Be-cause.

269 forcolde. MS: for colde. M, FP, F, B: for-colde.

271 Qwyntyn. M: Gis certeyn. FP: Qisyntyn.

272 was. M: wos.

274 sethen. M: emends to seche from sechen.
the. MS, E, WA: þe. FP: õe.
after 274 MS: in the bottom margin what appears to read yris ynfull is erased and the word John is written in the lower right corner in a different hand.

275 And. So E, L, C, WA. MS: A. M, FP, F: I. B: A[nd].
evyn wery. So C. MS: wery wery. M, FP: ewyn wery wery. F, L: even very weary. B: evyn very wery. WA: ewyn wery.

276 ageyn. MS: a geyn.
to-morn. So E, B, C, WA. MS: to morrow. L: tomorn. M: emends to to-morne from to morow. FP: to-morow. F: to-morrow.

278 anon. MS: a non. FP: a-non.
make. M, FP: made.
avaunte. M emends to this from avaunce. MS: a vaunute.

280 unkynde. MS: o wnkynde.

281–85 MS: John is written three times in the right margin next to these lines in a different hand.

282 bowte. FP: sowte. B: bow[gh]te.

286 in. So M, F, E, B, L, C. MS, FP: &. WA: [in].

288 triede. M: lede.

289 fragylyté. M: fraylyte. B: fragilité.

290 MS: ita factum est is written in a different hand in the right margin next to this line. M, FP, F: sit. B2 suggests this is meant to replace the ita above placuit in line 292.

292 WA counts this line as two lines.
placuit. MS: the letters ita are included above placuit but cancelled.

294 Beware. MS, WA, C: Be ware. M, FP: Be-ware.

296 yowr. MS, FP: þer. M: emends to yower from Ther.
all the. So C. MS, FP: all þer. F, L: all their. E, WA: all þe. M, B: all ther.
menys. FP: emends to this from nnenys.

297 intromytt not yowrsylff. MS: scribe alters this from intyrmyse yowr sylff not. F: intermise yourself not.

298 this. So C. MS: þi. FP, WA: þi[s]. E: þis. F, B, M: thi[s].

300 kepe. M: emends to this from kefe.

301 Beware. MS, WA, C: Be ware. M, FP: Be-ware.
for. So M, F, E, L, C. MS: fo. FP, B, WA: fo[r].
no. MS: emends to this from us.

303 befor. MS: be for. M, FP: be-for.
ey. So M, E, B, C, WA. MS, FP: eyn. F: eyne.

305 Yf. M: Yff.

307 schelde. So C, E. MS: schede. M, FP, B, WA: sche[l]de. F: shie[l]d.
fon. M: emends to this from son.

309 thes. M: yower, suggests yow. B: thes[e].
worschyppull. M: worschypfull. FP, C: worschypp[f]ull. B: worschipp[f]ull.

312 worschyppfull. M: worschypfull. B: worschippfull.
after 312 MS: a now illegible line has been smudged out in the bottom margin.

314 Thankynge. M: emends to Thankyd.
be. FP: be [to]. C: be to.
commynge. M, FP, C: connynge. F, L: cunning. B: comminge.
kam. So MS, WA, B. F, L: can. C: kan. M, FP: emend to kan from kam.

316 promycyon. F: promotion.

319 remors. MS, E, WA: remos. M, FP, B, C: remo[r]s. F: remo[r]se.

320 superstycyus. M: superstycyous. B: superstici[o]us.

321 in cinerem. M: [in] cinere[m].

323 goode. MS: god goode. FP: Gode.
MS: in the left margin next to this line the word John appears in a different hand.

325 quam. M: emends to this from quiam.
jocundum. M: emends to iocundum from Iocundie.

326 unum. M: uno.
MS: in the left margin next to this line the word John appears in a different hand.

327 I her. M: Ther.
hym. MS: hym hym.

328 erth. MS: erth erth.

329 ydullnes. M: emends to ydullnes from yeullnes.

330 yt hys. M: emends to hys from þat hys.

336–442 M omits these lines.
336 NOWADAYS. MS: nowad; also true in lines 338, 340, and 342.
wyth a colle. MS: scribe indicates the repetition in this line with a flourish.

338 NEW GYSE. MS: newgys; also true in line 790.
He that schytyth wyth hys hoyll. MS: scribe indicates the repetition in this line with a flourish.

339 wype hys ars clen. MS: scribe indicates the repetition in this line with a flourish.

341 yt shall be sen. MS: scribe indicates the repetition in this line with a flourish.

342 breche. MS: hys breche.
breche yt shall be sen. MS: cetera (second occurence).

344 spade. M: emends to this from space.

346 this. So B, L, C, M. MS: þs. E, FP, WA: þis. F: is.
MS: in the left margin next to this line a J appears in a different hand.

after 350 MS: in the bottom left corner of the folio John is written in a different hand. What appears to have been another John is smudged out in the center of the bottom margin.

351 lat. M: emends to late from eat. B, C: lat[e].

356 Alasse. MS: A lasse. FP: A-lasse.

358 alonne. MS: a lonne. M, FP: a-lonne.

371 Yyt. C, L: Yet. MS, E, M, FP, WA: Õyt.
polytyke. MS: k polytyke.

373 Yf. MS: h yf.

374 Ande. M: emends to this from Arde.
compasse. M: emends to compost. FP, B: compass[t]e. WA: comppasse. F: compos[t].

379 wolde. M: wolle.

381 NEW GYSE. MS: New g or. Also true in lines 429, 441, 466, 479, 719, 775, and 808.
jewellys. MS: Iewellys. M: iewelles. FP: Jewelles.

385 shuld. MS, FP: xull. F: shall. M: emends to xulde from xall.

386 to. According to E, the t is changed from another letter.

Before 388 MS: illegible writing in a different hand has been smudged out in the top and left margins.

392 thanke. MS: ta thanke.

393 Blyssyde. M: B[l]yssyde.

394 the subsyde. MS, E, WA: þe subsyde. M: emends to this spade from By the fesyde. FP: þe syde, suggests ayde. F: aid. B: the subsidé.

395 Thre. M: emends to this from iij. MS, FP: iij.

397 hasta. So M, FP, F, E, B, L, C. MS: hastu. WA: hast[a].
Dominus. M: emends to this from ons with a line above it, i.e., mons.

402 nere. M: rere.

404 Ande. MS: and Ande. M: And.
agayn. MS: a gayn. FP: a-gayn.

405 convycte. M: emends to this from convytte.
them. MS, E, FP, WA: þem. MS: þ written below the line, em above two vertical lines, which are cancelled.

407 resyst. M: re[s]yst.

409 worschyppull. M: emends to worschypfull. FP, C: worschypp[f]ull. B: worschipp[f]ull.

411 fett. M emends to this from sett. L: fetch.

414 Alasse. MS: A lasse. M: A-lasse. M: Alasse.
I am wers. So C. MS, E: I wers. M, FP, B, WA: I [am] wers. F: I [am] worse. L: I am wrose.
then. MS, E, FP: þen. M: the[n].

416 ondon. MS: on don. M, FP: on-don.

420 ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

422 New Gyse, Nowadays. MS: neugyse, nowad. M: New Gyse, Now-a-days. B: New-G[u]ise, Nowad[ays, and].
hath. FP, F, B: hath [he]. L, C: he hath.
to-beton. So E, WA, C. MS: to beton. M, B: to-betyn. FP: to-beten.

before 426 MS: Honorabyll & well be lovyd frende I hertely Recummend me on to yow is written in the top margin in a different hand.
426 Alac, Alac! MS: A lac A lac. M, FP: A-lac! a-lac! B: Alac[k], alac[k]!

429 NEW GYSE. MS: Newg.
Alasse. MS: A lasse. M: A-lasse.

430 Alake! MS: a lake. M: A-lake. B: Ala[c]ke.

441 New Gyse. MS: Newg.

442 Cristys. MS: crastys. M: emends to Cristes from Craftes. FP: Cristis.
crose. M: suggests cross or curse.
awey. MS: a wey. M, FP: a-wey.

443 Ther wer on and on. So E. MS, FP: Ther wher on & on. M: Ther wer on anon. F: There! we’re on anon. B: Ther, wher, on and on? L: There! Where? On and on! C: Ther wer on[e] and on[e]! WA: Ther? Where on? and on?

446 recumbentibus. M: emends to this from recumtenibus.

451 out. M, B, C: ou[gh]t. F, L: aught.

452 in. F: on.

453 apase. MS: a pase. M, FP: a-pase.
flewte. M: queries flowte. F, B: flowte.

456 si dedero. M: emends to this from Tidedere. F: si didero.

457 Ye. MS, WA, FP: õo. F: So! L: Yea. M, E: Õe.
wey. MS: þi wey.
onto. MS: on to. M, FP: on-to. F, L: unto.

458 ther. MS, E, FP, WA: þer. M: emends to ther from thei.

461 that ys of. So C. MS: þat of. E: þat ys. F, B: that [is] of. WA, FP: þat [is] of. M: that of.

Kepe. MS: p kepe.

463 worschyppull. M: emends to worschypfull. FP, C: worschypp[f]ull. B: worschipp[f]ull.

464 or. So FP. M: emends to this from of. MS, E, B, L, C, WA : of. F: nor.
to. B, C: t[w]o. M, FP: to-pens. L: tuppence.

470 alyke. MS: a lyke. M, FP: a-lyke.

471 NOUGHT. So M. MS: Nough. FP, B: NOUGH[T].

474 beware. MS, E, FP, C: be ware. M: be-ware.

475 dominancium. F, B, L: dominantium. M: emends to dominantium from duancum.

477 hem. So E. MS, M, FP: hym. F: him.

480 to. MS, M, FP: ii. C: t[w]o. B: two.

481 was. M: wos.

482 thi. MS: þis þi. E, FP, WA: þi.

483 have thee qwytt. MS: have quyll. M, FP: haue [the] qwyll. F: have [thee]! While. E: haue the qwytt. B: [the] qwitt. WA: have the[e] qwy[tt]. L: have the whit! C: have the qwytt!

487 Non. So L, E, C, WA. MS: No. M, FP, B, F: No[n].

490 MS: scribe repeated the line to the right and then cancelled it.

491 ys. MS: a t appears in a lighter ink before ys.

493 yt. FP: þat [yt]. F: that. M: that [yt]. B: [that] it.

497 fyve vowellys. So E, C, WA. MS, FP: .v. vowellys. B: five vowellys. M: v voli ellys, queries vij or xx devellys. F: five vowels.

498 the sytyca. MS, E, FP, WA: þe sytyca. M: tye sytica, queries the syatica. L: the sciatica. B: the si[a]tica.

500 hat. M, B, F: hat[h].
informyde. FP, B: informyde [me]. F: informed [me]. L: informed me.

501 make. FP: made.
a vow. FP, M: a-vow. E, WA: avow.

503 William Fyde. So E, C. MS: w ffyde. M: emends to w[ith yow] Fyde from Iake w . . . Fyde. FP, WA, B: W[illiam] Fyde. F, L: W[illiam] Fide.

505 Sauston. FP, F: Sanston. M: emends to Sanston from sansten.

506 Wylliam. M: Wyllam. B: William.
Hauston. So MS, E, B. M, FP, F: Hanston. L: Hauxton.

509 Waltom. M, F, B, L: Walton.

511 Fullburn. MS: h fullburn. F, L: Fulbourn.

before 512 MS: yy is written in the left margin before this line.
512 ys a. MS: written above va.

516–17 These lines are reversed in the manuscript, but are restored in this edition, following F, E, B, L, C, and WA for sense and rhyme. M and FP do not alter the manusript order.

518 be. M: emends to se. F: see.
ware wethere. So E, B, WA, C. MS: ware & wethere. M, FP: ware & wether. F: where and whither. L: ware whither.

520 con. So E, F, B, L, C, WA. MS: com. M, FP: emend to con from com.
that. MS: þat is squeezed between verse and we.
cheke. M: emends to this from choke.

522 lyfte. MS: ryght lyfte.
befall. MS: be fall. M, FP: be-fall.

523 agayn. MS: a gayn. M, FP: a-geyn.

524 And. So E, L, C. MS: A. M: A[nde]. FP, WA, F, B: A[nd].
avantage. MS: a vantage. M, FP: a-vantage.

525 tary. MS: be tary.

526 asyde. MS: a syde. M, FP: a-syde.

527 be hys gyde. M: [be] hys syde. WA: by hys gyde. B: be his g[u]ide.

529 invysybull. MS: in vysybull.
jett. M: rett.

530 Ande. So E, M, FP, WA, C, B. MS: A. F, L: And.
befor. MS: be for. M, FP: be-for.

531 fote-mett. M: fote wett. FP: fote mett.

533 be. M: emends to this from he.
hyde. B: hid[d]e.

534 onredyly. MS: on redyly. FP: ouer redyly, suggests on redyly. M: emends to on-redyly from ouer redyly.

535 assayde. M: a-wayde, queries assayde.

537 drawke. M: draw. FP, F, L: drawk.

538 sow. M: emends to this from sew.

540 wane. MS: wane cum. Accoring to E, this is in a later hand.

543 Qwyll I overdylew yt. MS: Qwyll I ouer dylew yt. M: I wyll ron dylewer, that. B: Qw[h]ill I over-dylve it.

544 Filii. M: emends to this from filius.
begyn. M, FP: be-gyn.

545 unlusty. MS: wn lusty. FP: wn-lusty.

546 at wynter. F, FP: at wyntur. B: at vyntur. L: at a venture. C: at aventur.

547 Alasse. MS: A lasse. M, FP: A-lasse.

555 MS: below the speech marker of Titivillus, nev g is written apparently assigning the speech to New Guise. This also occurs in Titivillus’ next two speeches starting at lines 565 and 589.

556 ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

557 Qwyst. So FP. M: I-wyst. F: Whist. B: Qw[h]ist!

561 into. MS: in to. M: in-to.
thi. MS, E, WA: þi. FP: þi[s]. L, C: the. M, F, B: thi[s].
ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

562 MS: the scribe first wrote and then cancelled line 564: My bedys xall be here for who sum euer wyll ellys.

564 bedys. M: emends to bedes from ledes. FP: bedis.
ellys. So E, B, WA, C. MS, M, FP: cumme, but ellys, which rhymes with compellys in line 560, was written before line 562.

dyde. M: emends to this from eyde.

566 He. MS: B he.

567 Iwysse. MS, WA: I wysse. M, FP: I-wysse.

570 powder. So E, C, WA. MS: power. M, FP, F, B: pow[d]er.

573 ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

575 asyde. MS: a syde. M, FP: a-syde.

576 a. M, FP: [se] a. F: [see] a.
sport. M: emends to this from spert.

577 ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

578 I. MS: A I.

579 abroche. MS: a broche. M, FP: a-broche.

580 asyde. MS: a syde. M, FP: a-syde.

581 MANKYNDE. MS: MAN; also true in lines 585, 607, 706, 717, and 819.
Evynsong. MS, E: Ewynsong. M, FP: Ewynsonge.

583 over. FP, F: on.

584–86 MS: these lines are added at the foot of the page with marks to indicate their proper placement in the text.
584 as be. F: as it.
another. MS: a noþer. M: a-nother. FP: a-noþer. WA: anoþer.

586 thow. B: thow[gh]. M: emends to thowgh from then.

588 slepe. M: emends to this from skope. FP: queries skepe.
wore. M, FP, F, B, L: were.

589 for me. F: me.

590 worde. M: werde.

591 praty. M: emends to this from pauty.
scheude. M: emends to schowde from schende. B: schewde.

592 aslepe. MS: a slepe. M: emends to on slepe from & sleep. FP: a-slepe.

593 Qwyst! M: I-wyst. F, L: Whist. B: Qw[h]ist.
ys. MS: yd ys.

594 Alasse. MS: A lasse. FP: A-lasse.
alasse. MS: a lasse. FP: a-lasse!

595 away. MS: a way. M, FP: a-way.

597 as. So M, E, FP, F, B, L, C, WA. MS: ab.

598 on. M, FP: ouer. F: over.
galous. MS: written as galouf, with the f cancelled and an s added above the rest of the word. E, C, WA: galouse. M, FP: emend to galous from galouf. B: galows.

599 Bycause. MS: By cause. M, FP: By-cause.

601 beforn. MS: be forn. M, FP: be-forn.

602 Aryse. MS: A ryse. M, FP: A-ryse.

603 cun. M, FP: cum. F: come.
avyse. MS: a vyse. M, FP: A-vyse.

604 MS: leve is written in the left margin before the rest of the line.
brethell. M: brechell, queries brethell. FP: [be] brethell, queries be left.

605 Farwell. So E, C. MS: ffor well. FP: For well. F, L: Farewell. M, B: For-well. WA: Forwell.

607 avows. MS, M: a vows. FP: a-vows.

609 Adew. MS: A dew. M, FP: A-dew.
masters. M, FP: mastere, FP queries mastere[s]. F: master.

611 And. So E, L, C. MS: A. M: A[nde]. FP, WA, F, B: A[nd].

613 overron. MS: ouer ron. FP, M, F: on! run! B: over-ron.

616 asonder. MS: a sonder. M: a-sondre. FP: asondur.

617 abowte. MS: a bowte. M, FP: a-bowte.

618 Beware. MS: Be ware. M, FP: Be-ware.

621 Alasse. MS: A lasse. M, FP: A-lasse.
lyghly. FP: lygh[t]ly. F: likely. M: lyghtly.

624 Alasse. MS: A lasse. M, FP: A-lasse.
neke. M: emends to this from nekes.
make. M: emends to this from made.
avowe. MS: a vowe. M: a-vowe.

625 MANKYNDE. MS: M; also true in lines 627, 709, 713, and 899. B: M[ANKIND].

627 that. MS, E, WA: þat. FP: þer. F: there. M: ther.
abowte. MS: a bowte.

628 Audyrs. M: Andrys. FP, WA, C: Audrys. L: Audrey’s.

629 dyshes. F: dishele. L: disease.

630 ryngeworme. MS: rynge worme. M, FP: rynge-worme.

631 arom. MS, FP: a rom. B: a-rom.

634–37 MS: as the stanzas in this section of the play are all eight lines rhyming aaabcccb, and this one lacks a c rhyme, there may be a line missing here.

636 Avante. MS: A vante. M, FP: A-vante.

637 geet. M: gret.

641 scoryde. So FP. M: sco[w]ryde. F: sco[u]red. L: scoured. B: sco[u]ryde.

642 MS: below the speech marker of Myscheff, novad is written, apparently assigning the speech to Nowadays. This also occurs in line 664.

645 the. MS, E, WA: þe. F: that. FP: þo. M: emends to that from the.

646 owyn. So M. MS, E, WA: owõn. FP: owõun.

647 awey. MS: a wey. M, FP: a-wey.

648 anow. MS: a now. M: a-non. FP: a-now. L: enow. F: enou’.

649 chesance. F: che[vi]sance. B: chesa[u]nce.

652 yow. MS: w is blotted.
amendys. MS: a mendys. M: a-mendes. FP: a-mendis.

656 thre. MS, M, FP: iij.

658 amysse. MS: a mysse. M, FP: a-mysse.

663 Mankyndys. M: Mankynde. FP: Mankyndis. WA: Mankynds.

664 a. MS: yt a.

665 MS: this line is written to the right of 664 and 665. M, FP, F, and L print this line as a stage direction.
mak. MS: p mak.

666 And. So E, L, C, WA. MS, FP: A. F: Ah. M: A[nde]. B: A[nd].
sub. M: emends to in from se. FP: fo.
dasarde. M: desarde. F: d’hasard. B: das[t]arde.

667 MS, M, FP print this as two lines.
Oyyt. So C. MS: O y yt. M: Oy yt. FP: Oy-yt! F, L: Oyez.
Oyyt. MS: Oy õyt. M, WA: Oy yõt. C: Oyyy. E: Oyõyt. FP: Oy-yõt. F, L: Oyez.
Oyet. So C. MS: õyt. FP: O yet. F, L: Oyez. WA: Oyõyt.
women. MS: womaen.

670 MS: below the speech marker of Mischief, novad is written, apparently assigning the speech to Nowadays.

672 jakett. M: emends to iackett from rakett.
tolde. So FP, B, M, E. F: sold.

675 Ande. So MS, E, C, WA, M, FP, B. F, L: And.
ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.
in ony. M: emends to this from for in ony.

678 And. So E, L, C. MS: A. M: A[nde]. FP, WA, F, B: A[nd].
mow. So E, B, L, C, WA. M: emends to this from may. MS, FP, F: may.

680 MS: below the speech marker of Mischief, novad is written, apparently assigning the speech to Nowadays.

682 MS: this line is written in the right margin.
I beschrew. MS: I be schrew. M: Be-schrew. FP: I be-shrew.
a. So MS, M. FP: &.

683 rennynge. So M, F, E, L, C, WA. MS: rennyge. B: renn[i]nge. FP: renny[n]ge.
fyst. M: emends to this from syft.

686 hede. MS: h hede.
stoude. M, FP: stonde. F: stand. L: stands.

687 Carici. So MS, E, C, WA. M: Garici. FP, F, B, L: Curia.
tenta. M: tota.

690 nullateni. MS: this word is written in the right margin but marked for proper placement in the text. So E, B. M, F: millatene, M queries nullatene. FP: millateni. L: nulliateni.

692 As. M: Do, queries Lo or So.

693–94 MS: as there is no rhyme for nullateni in line 690, a line appears to be missing here.

694 taryynge. So E, L, C. M: [taryyng]. FP: tarrynge. B: [taryinge]. WA: [taryynge].
F: [tarrying]. MS: this line should end with a rhyme for ferthynge in line 695 and fyghtynge in line 696; MS ends with moche.

703 goo to. M: goo [to].
aboute. MS: a boute. M, FP: a-boute.

704 Onto. MS: On to. M, FP: On-to. F, L: Unto.
goodewyff. MS, FP: goode wyff. M: goode-wyff. B: goode-wife.
goodeman. MS, FP: goode man. M, B: goode-man.

705 MANKYNDE. M: emends to Mank from M.

712 And. So M, E, L, C, WA. MS: A. FP, B, F: A[nd].
forbere. MS: for bere. M: emends to forber from A for bef. FP: for-ber.

715 onbrace. MS: on brace. M, FP: on-brace.

716 thus. M: tans.
overface. MS, M: ouer face. FP: ouer-face.

719 jake of fence. MS: Iake. M: iake[tt] of s[er]u[i]ce. B: jake[t] of fence. L: jake-of- fence.

720 Hay. F: Hi.
doog. M: doo ye.

722 aspyede. MS: a spyede. M, FP: a-spyede. WA, C, B: aspyede.

724 beschrew. MS: be schrew. M, FP: be-schrew.

726 Fle. M: emends to this from sle. C: Fle[e].

727 wyth thee. MS: wyth. F, B: with [thee]. C: wyth the[e]. FP: with [þee]. WA: wyth [þee]. E: wyth þe. M: with [the].
another. MS: a noþer. M: a-nother. FP: a-noþer. WA: anoþer.
tyme. So M, FP, E, C, WA. MS: tym. B: tim[e]. F, L: time.

728 together. MS: to gether. M, FP: to-gether.

731 awey. MS: a wey. M, FP: a-wey.
beschyte. MS: be schyte. M, FP: be-schyte. B: beschit[t]e.

732 football. MS: foot ball. M, FP, F: foot-ball.

733 anow. MS: a now; true of all four instances in this line. C: A, now! M, FP, B: a-now.

734 trymmelyth. MS: tri trymmelyth. F: tir-trimmeleth. FP: tir-trymmelyth. L: trembleth.

736 solace. So M, FP, F, E, B. MS: solalace.

737 Wythout. MS: Wyth out. M, FP: With-out.
kan not. So E, C. MS: kan. M, FP, WA: kan [not]. B: kan[not]. F, L: can[not].

740 afflixcyon. M: aff[l]ixyon.

742 onkynde. MS: on kynde. M, FP: on-kynde. B: on-kinde.

745 was. So MS. M: wos.

746 thin. MS, FP: þis. M, F, L: this. E: þin. B: thin[e]. WA: þ[in].
mutabylyté. MS, FP: imutabylyte. B: mutabilité.

748 oncurtess. So E, C, WA. MS: over curtess. M: on-curtess. FP, B: on-curtess.

750 thi. MS, FP: þis. E, WA: þi. F, B: thy. M: this, queries thi.

751 Thy. So E, F, B, L, C, WA. MS, FP: Thys. M: Thys, queries thy.
cannot. MS, M, E, WA, C: can not.

752 God and to. So E, B, L, C. MS: go on to. WA: Go[d] and to. M: go ouer. FP: go ouer to. F: go over, to.

754 et. So M, FP, F, E, B, L, C, WA. MS: sit.
omnia. M: emends to this from sit oiat.

755 MS: Olyuer is written in the right margin before this line.
ingratum. MS: in gratum. M, FP: in-gratum.
lugent. M, FP, F: lugetur.

758 amytt. M, FP: a[d]mytt. B: A[d]mitt. F: admit.

759 Equyté. M: emends to this from O quyte. B: Equité.
onparty. MS: on party. M: emends to pety from perty. FP: ouer party. F: over part[l]y.

762 ways. MS: ve ways.

764 caytyfs. So FP, E, C. M: emends to this from cayftys. MS: cayftys. WA: cay[tyf]s. F, L: caitiffs. B: caityfs.

770 proteccyon. M, C: protecyon.

772 fadere. So MS, B. M, FP, F, L: father. E, C, WA: fader.
out. MS, M, FP, E, C, WA: owt.

yowr. FP: yowur. M: yower.

773 to-gloryede. MS: to gloryede. M: emends to to-glosyede from gloryede.

774 ever. MS, FP: euer. M: ouer. F: over.

775 According to M, a line may be missing here since there is no line to rhyme with mynde in line 778.

776 Ny. So FP, E, B, C, WA. M: emends to this from my. MS: my.

778 overlong. MS: ouer long. M: ouer-longe. FP: ouer longe. B: over-long.

779 NOWADAYS. MS: Nowaday.
dominus. M, FP: domine.

780 cape. So M, E, B, L, C. MS, FP, F: cepe. WA: c[a]pe.
corpus. So M, E, B, L, C, WA. M: emends to this from coppus. MS: coppus? FP, F: coppus.

782 schett. FP: schott. F: shot. M: schotte.

783 beware. MS, FP, WA, C: be ware. M: be-ware.

784 arayde. MS: a rayde. M, FP: a-rayde.

786 overschett. MS: ouer schett. M: ouer-schott. FP: ouer-schett. B: over-schett.

787 behynde. MS, M: be hynde. FP: be-hynde.

788 belyve. MS: be lyue. M, FP: be-lyue.
aferde. MS: a ferde. M, FP: a-ferde.

792 everywere. MS: euery were. M: euery-were. FP: euerywere. B: everyw[h]ere.

793 hymselff. MS, FP: hym selff. M: hym-selff.

795 Qwyppe. M: I Wyppe. F: I whip. FP: I-wyppe. L: Whip.
anon. MS: a non. M, FP: a-non.

796 clothes. MS, E, FP, WA: cloþes. M: emends to clowtes from clothes. L: clouts.

798 Kowde. M: Cowde.

801 Anon. MS: A non. M, FP: A-non.

804 thi. MS, E, FP, WA: þi. M: emends to the from þi.

805 thy. So F, L, C. M: emends to this from pye. MS: pye. FP, E: þy. WA: [þy]. B: thye.
avyse. MS: a vyse. M: a-vyse.

806 thisylff. MS, FP: þi sylff. E, WA: þisylff. M: thi-sylff.

807 bales. M: emends to balef from bales. L: baleys.

808 Alass. MS: A lass. M, FP: A-lass.

810 Alasse. MS: A lasse. M, FP: A-lasse.

811 Aryse. MS: A ryse. M, FP: A-ryse.

812 ys. So M, FP, E. MS: ys ys.
exspyre. MS: exspye. FP: expy[re]. F: expi[re]. M: expy[re].

813 Alasse. MS: A lasse.
apere. MS: a pere. M, FP: a-pere.

814 solaycyose. MS: an a added above the first y. M: emends to solacyose from solycyose. F: solicitous.

816 yowrsylff. So WA, C, B. MS: yowr sylff. M: yower-sylff. FP: yowur sylff.

819 MS: The last four pages are written in another hand.
agayn. MS: a gayn. M: a-geyn. FP: a-gayn.
vyle. So C. FP, M: wyld, M suggests vile or vild. F: wild. B, L: vile.
petycyun. M: emends to petysyon from pety syn. FP: petycyn.

820 yt ys. FP: þat ys. M: that ys. F: that is. C: that ys.

821 iterat. M: emends to wekit from werut. FP: werst. F: worst.

822 not. MS: nto not.

824 terys. M: emends to feres from seres. FP: feris. F: fears.
amownt. MS: a mownt. M, FP, B: a-mownte.

825 pirssid. So E, B. MS: pirssie. M, FP: blyssed. F: blessed.
redouce. M: emends to reduce from redeme. FP: redeme. F: redeem.

826 mutacio. M: mutaes. B, F, L: mutatio.
dextre. M: dexire. F: dexteræ. B, L: dexterae.
vertit. M: veint.

827 Aryse. MS: A ryse. M, FP: A-ryse.

829 exclude thee. So L. MS: exclud e. M: exclude [the]. F, B, FP: exclude [thee]. C, WA: exclude the[e]. E: exclude the.
perpetuité. MS: second p is added above the second e. M: per[p]etuite.

830 ope. M: emends to this from ofe.

832 revyvyd. MS: rewyvyd with v crowded in between surrounding letters. M: reuyu[y]d.
ageyn. MS: a geyn. M, FP: a-geyn.

833 Hymselfe. MS, FP: hym selfe. M: hym-sylfe. WA: Hymsylfe.
preche. So B, C. MS, FP, E, WA: precyse. M: pre-cyse, queries preche or precysely teche since the line should rhyme wih wrech in line 831. F: precise. L: preach.

834 Nolo. M: emends to this from mole.
inquit. M: emends to this from inquis. FP: inquit &.
redusyble. MS: wyll redusyble; reducylle by a later hand and reducyble added. F, E, B, L, C, WA: add be. M, FP: [be] reducyble.

835 ys. MS: hy ys.
wythowte. MS: wyth owte. M: wyth-owt. FP: wyth-owte.

836 were mercy. M, L: where Mercy. B: w[h]ere mercy.

839 onto. MS: on to. M: emends to on-to from peruyon to. FP: on-to. F, L: unto.

841 Trowthe. M: emends to this from Growthe.
argument. M: emends to this from acgmmes.

842 contraversye. M: controuersaye. FP: controuersye.

843 Aryse. M: emends to Ryse from Byse.

844 Inclyne yowyr capacité; my doctrine ys convenient. FP, E, B, L, C: emend to this for rhyme. MS: My doctrine ys conuenient Inclyne yowyr capacite. M: Inclyne yowur capacite, my doctrine ys conuenient.

845 notary. M: notarie.

847 ye thynke. MS, WA: õe thynke. M: omits.

848 The. So FP, F, E, B, L, C, WA. MS: They. M: emends to The from Then.

851 preservyd. So B, C. M: preseruyt. FP: preseruyd.
avowtry. MS: a wowtry. M, FP: a-wowtry. F: advoutry.

854 I. So M, FP, E, F, B, L, C. MS: he. WA: [I].

856 anon. MS: a non. M, FP: a-non.

858 grevans. MS: the s is writen over a g. M: emends to grevance from grewange. FP: grewance.

860 expedycius. M: emends to this from expedicies.
insyght. MS: in syght. M: in-syght.

862 quadrantem. M emends to this from quadrute[m].
schall. So C. MS: scha. M, FP, E, B, WA: scha[ll]. F: sha[ll]. L: shall.
your. MS, E, WA: õour. FP: þis. M, F: this.

863 sowle. So E, C, WA. MS: sowe. M: sow[l]s. FP, B: sow[l]e.
hys. So M, FP, C, E, WA. MS: yys.

864 dyscesse. M: dysesse.

865 thynke. MS: y thynke.

866 Ecce. M: emends to this from Este.
acceptabile. M: emends to this from aucptabile.

867 word. So MS, E, WA. M, FP, B, C, F: wor[l]d. L: world.

868 above. MS: a bowe. M: a-boue. FP: a-bowe.

869 lest. MS: h lest. M, FP: holest, M suggests loliest or lest. F: lowli’st.
hevyn. MS: hewyn. M: heuyn.

870 prove. FP: prewe.

871 suavius. FP: suatius. M: emends to solatius from suatius.

873 wythowte. MS: wyth owte. M, FP: wyth-owte.

874 inexcusabyll. M: emends to this from inexousobyll. M, FP: query inexorable.

875 swemyth. M: siremyth, queries sore nyeth.
onwysely. MS: on wysely. M, FP: on-wysely.

876 Tytivillus. F: Titivilly. M, FP: Tytiuilly.
my. MS: y my.

877 sediciusly. M, F: sedulously. FP: sedociusly. B: sedici[o]usly.

878 To. FP: Be. M: emends to He from Be. F: By.
Nowadayis. M: Now-a-days. FP: Now-a-dayis.
Nowght. M: Nought.

879 oblivyows. M: obliuyous. FP: obliuyows.
monytorye. So E, C. MS: manyterge. M: marytorye. FP: manyterye. F: manitory. WA: m[o]nytor[y]e.

880 before. MS: be fore. M, FP: be-fore.
Titivillus. F: Titivilly. M, FP: Titiuilly.
asay. MS: a say. M, FP: a-say.

882 prestita. So E. M: perfectum. FP, F: prefata. B, L: praestita.
minus. M: non.

883 thre. MS, M, FP: iij.
and he. M, FP, F: he.
mayster. M, FP: master.
hem. M: [t]hem. F: them.

884 and the Fell. So C, B. MS: and þe ffell. E, WA: and þe Fell. M: & [I] the tell. FP: & þe Fell.

885 The. M: That.
Nowgth. M: & Nought.
hem. M: [t]hem. F: them.

886 propyrly. So E, C. MS: propylly. M, FP, B: propy[r]lly. WA: propy[r]ly. F: prope[r]ly.
Titivillus. F: Titivilly. M, FP: Titiuilly.
syngnyfyth. M: syngnyf[ie]th. FP: syngnyfyes. B: singnifith.

888 thre. MS, M, FP: iij.

889 temporall. M: temperull. FP: temperall.

890 before. MS: this word is written above a mong, which is cancelled. M: omits.
worscheppyll. E: worscheppyll. M: worschypfyll. FP: worschypp[f]yll. F: worschip[f]ul. B: worchepp[f]yll.

892 fro. MS: syro fro.
evermore. MS: euer more. M, FP: euer-more.

894 Libere. WA: Liebere.
welle. M, F, C: velle.
libere. So M, F, E, B, L, C, FP, WA. MS: liebere.
nolle. M, F: velle. FP: welle.
iwys. MS: i wys. M, FP: i-wys.

895 Titivillus. FP: Tityuilly. F: Titivilly. M: Titiuilly.
enmys. MS: This word is written above what appears to be his Impryse, which is cancelled. M: queries enuius. FP: enuyus. B: envi[o]us. F, L: envious.

898 persverans. MS: s perseverans. WA, C: perseverans.
after 898 MS: in the bottom margin various letters and what appears to read skrypture are written.

before 899 MS: Olyuer is written in the upper right margin.
899 MANKYNDE: MS: MAN, with last two letters hidden by tape. B: M[ANKIND].

901 Dominus. M: emends to this from Domine.
custodit. M, FP, F: custodi[a]t.
malo. M: emends to this from mali.

902 Filii. M: emends to this from filiis. FP: Filij.

903 Wyrschepyll. M, FP, B: Wyrschep[f]yll. F refers to lines from this point on as the “Epilogue.”

904 deliveryd. So WA. MS: deliueryd, the u may be written over another letter.
faverall. M: sunerall, queries special. FP: suuerall. F: several.

906 condicions. So FP, F, E, B. MS: condocions. M: condicion.

908 MS: Robertus Olyuer est verus . . . ? is written in a different hand (the end of the line is illegible) in the right margin next to this line.
Serge. M, FP, B: Serche. L: Search.

910 diverse. MS: duerse. M: diuerse. FP: d[i]uerse. E: diuerse. F, WA: di[v]erse. B: d[i]verse.
transmutacyon. So FP, E, C, WA. M: mutacyon.

912 Therefore. MS: There fore. M, FP: There-fore.
God grant. So E, L, C. MS: God. M, FP: God [kepe]. F: God [keep]. WA, B: God [grant].
misericordiam. MS: what appears to read mu is cancelled before misericordiam.

913 pleyferys. M: pleseres, queries partakers. FP, F: pleyseris. WA, C: pleyferys.
angellys. So E, C, WA. MS: angell. M: angell[es]. FP: angellis. B: angell[ys].

914a Fynis. So M, P, E. C, WA omit.
MS: in the right margin nouerint univers is written in a different hand. Below the text, also in a different hand, is written: O libere, si quis cui constas forte queretur, / Hyngham, que monacho dices super omnia consto. (que] P quem; consto] P consta[s]) (“O book, if anyone for whom you by chance exist will complain, / Hyngham, whom you will call a monk, exists above all”).
after 914a The bottom two-thirds of this last folio includes upside-down writing, the majority of which is in Latin and is very difficult to read. B2 suggests the following:
Novem tue te Improbitat . . .
Sub monitorem & qui in te nihill se indignum
egit tu tamen vt dure ceruicis puer
effrenius disternere malis liberis vsus ha
bebis quam correctionem quantulum cumque sub ver

I trow I was cursyd in my motherys bely or ellys
I was born [at] a on hapy ower for I can never do thyng
That men be plesid wyth all now yff I do the best I cann
oftetymys yt chancyt on hapily I have not
Knowne a felou so on hapi exsepte the devyll ware
on hym for evyne now at this tyme I am suer my
master have two or thre greuys compleyntys on me at
this tyme yf yt be so my bottkes goo to wreke

Mihi non dum edito inprecatam reor infelicitatem
natum me esse me sidere minime dextro relucente
nihill enim vnquam agere quam quod alicui sit cordis Imo
si pro viribus mater rectissimum quod que moliri depis infelici
cor cadet non nolui aliquem a deo infortunatum ama
bo genio ductu persuasum dum hec inpreseintiam
me lumis pluribus me noxiss apud
                                                          for makyn And off demysent four
















[Enter Mercy]

MERCY   The very fownder and begynner of owr fyrst creacyon
Amonge us synfull wrechys He oweth to be magnyfyde,
That for owr dysobedyenc He hade non indygnacyon
To sende Hys own son to be torn and crucyfyede.
Owr obsequyouse servyce to Hym shulde be aplyede,
Where He was Lorde of all and made all thynge of nought,
For the synfull synnere to hade hym revyvyde
And for hys redempcyon sett Hys own son at nought.1

Yt may be seyde and veryfyede, mankynde was dere bought.2
By the pytuose deth of Jhesu he hade hys remedye.
He was purgyde of hys defawte that wrechydly hade wrought
By Hys gloryus passyon, that blyssyde lavatorye.
O soverence, I beseche yow yowr condycyons to rectyfye3
Ande wyth humylité and reverence to have a remocyon
To this blyssyde prynce that owr nature doth gloryfye,
That ye may be partycypable of Hys retribucyon.4

I have be the very mene for yowr restytucyon.
Mercy ys my name, that mornyth for yowr offence.
Dyverte not yowrsylffe in tyme of temtacyon,
That thee may be acceptable to Gode at yowr goyng hence.
The grett mercy of Gode, that ys of most preemmynence,
Be medyacyon of Owr Lady that ys ever habundante
To the synfull creature that wyll repent hys neclygence,
I prey Gode, at yowr most nede, that mercy be yowr defendawnte.

In goode werkys I avyse yow, soverence, to be perseverante
To puryfye yowr sowlys, that thei be not corupte;
For yowr gostly enmy wyll make hys avaunte,
Yowr goode condycyons yf he may interrupte.5

O ye soverens that sytt and ye brothern that stonde ryght uppe,
Pryke not yowr felycytes in thyngys transytorye.
Beholde not the erth, but lyfte yowr ey uppe.
Se how the hede the members dayly do magnyfye.
Who ys the hede forsoth I shall yow certyfye:
I mene Owr Savyowr, that was lykynnyde to a lambe;
Ande Hys sayntys be the members that dayly He doth satysfye
Wyth the precyose rever that runnyth from Hys wombe.6

Ther ys non such foode, be water nor by londe,
So precyouse, so gloryouse, so nedefull to owr entent,
For yt hath dyssolvyde mankynde from the bytter bonde
Of the mortall enmye, that vemynousse serpente,
From the wyche Gode preserve yow all at the Last Jugement!
For sekyrly ther shall be a streyt examynacyon,
The corn shall be savyde, the chaffe shall be brente.
I besech yow hertyly, have this premedytacyon.

[Enter Mischief]

MISCHIEF   I beseche yow hertyly, leve yowr calcacyon.
Leve yowr chaffe, leve yowr corn, leve yowr dalyacyon.
Yowr wytt ys lytyll, yowr hede ys mekyll, ye are full of predycacyon.
But, ser, I prey this questyon to claryfye:
Mysse-masche, dryff-draff,
Sume was corn and sume was chaffe,
My dame seyde my name was Raffe;
Onschett yowr lokke and take an halpenye.

MERCY   Why com ye hethyr, brother? Ye were not dysyryde.
MISCHIEF   For a wynter corn-threscher, ser, I have hyryde,
Ande ye sayde the corn shulde be savyde and the chaff shulde be feryde,
And he provyth nay, as yt schewth be this verse:
Corn servit bredibus, chaffe horsibus, straw fyrybusque.7
Thys ys as moche to say, to yowr leude undyrstondynge,
As the corn shall serve to brede at the nexte bakynge.

Chaff horsybus et reliqua,”
The chaff to horse shall be goode provente,
When a man ys forcolde the straw may be brent,
And so forth, et cetera.

MERCY   Avoyde, goode brother! Ye ben culpable
To interrupte thus my talkyng delectable.
MISCHIEF   Ser, I have nother horse nor sadyll,
Therfor I may not ryde.
MERCY   Hye yow forth on fote, brother, in Godys name!
MISCHIEF   I say, ser, I am cumme hedyr to make yow game.
Yet bade ye me not go out in the devyllys name,
Ande I wyll abyde.

MERCY . . .

(see note)
ought; glorified
did not refuse; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)


(see note)


been the true means; (see note)

at your time of death
By intercession; bountiful; (see note); (t-note)
sinfulness; (t-note)
(see note)

advise you, masters; (see note)
so that; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

you noble persons; (see note)
Place; happiness
eye; (t-note)
head; worship; (see note); (t-note)
likened; (see note)
by the parts of the body; (t-note)
river; (see note)


(see note); (t-note)
From whom
surely; strict; (t-note)
grain; burnt; (see note)
keep this thought in mind

threshing; (see note); (t-note)
idle chatter
big; preaching; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
(see note)
Open your “purse”; halfpenny [for me]; (see note); (t-note)

welcome (desired)
burnt (fired); (t-note)
But; is shown by
(see note)

and the rest; (t-note)
provender; (t-note)
very cold; (t-note)

Go away; (t-note)

neither; (t-note)
Hurry; (t-note)
come hither to have fun with you
(see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
  [A page is missing from the manuscript. It seems that Mischief continues to pester Mercy and then departs. New Guise, Nowadays, and Nought enter; the former two attempt to make Nought join in their foolhardy and very physical games and dances, but he will not. As the action resumes below they are flogging Nought’s belly — perhaps tickling him — until it will “burst.” When they have exhausted Nought, they force Mercy into the “dance.”] (t-note)





















































































































































NEW GYSE   Ande how, mynstrellys, pley the comyn trace!
Ley on wyth thi ballys tyll hys bely breste!
NOUGHT   I putt case I breke my neke: how than?
NEW GYSE   I gyff no force, by Sent Tanne!
NOWADAYS   Leppe about lyvely! Thou art a wyght man.
Lett us be mery wyll we be here!
NOUGHT   Shall I breke my neke to schew yow sporte?
NOWADAYS   Therfor ever beware of thi reporte.
NOUGHT   I beschrew ye all! Her ys a schrewde sorte.
Have theratt then wyth a mery chere!

Her thei daunce. Mercy seyth:

MERCY   Do wey, do wey this reull, sers! Do wey!
NOWADAYS   Do wey, goode Adam? Do wey?
Thys ys no parte of thi pley.
NOUGHT   Yys, mary, I prey yow, for I love not this revelynge.
Cum forth, goode fader, I yow prey!
Be a lytyll ye may assay.

Anon, of your wyth yowr clothes, yf ye wyll play.8
Go to! For I have hade a praty scottlynge.

[They try to get Mercy to dance]

MERCY   Nay, brother, I wyll not daunce.
NEW GYSE   Yf ye wyll, ser, my brother wyll make yow to prawnce.
NOWADAYS   Wyth all my herte, ser, yf I may yow avaunce.
Ye may assay be a lytyll trace.
NOUGHT   Ye, ser, wyll ye do well
Trace not wyth them, be my cownsell,
For I have tracyed sumwhat to fell;
I tell yt ys a narow space.

But, ser, I trow of us thre I herde yow speke.
NEW GYSE   Crystys curse hade therfor, for I was in slepe.
NOWADAYS   And I hade the cuppe in my honde, redy to goo to met.
Therfor, ser, curtly, grett yow well.
MERCY   Few wordys, few and well sett!
NEW GYSE   Ser, yt ys the new gyse and the new jett.
Many wordys and shortely sett,
Thys ys the new gyse, every-dele.

MERCY   Lady, helpe! How wrechys delyte in ther synfull weys!
NOWADAYS   Say not ageyn the new gyse nowadays!
Thou shall fynde us schrewys at all assays.
Beware! Ye may son lyke a boffett.
MERCY   He was well occupyede that browte yow brethern.9
NOUGHT   I harde yow call “New Gyse, Nowadays, Nought,” all thes thre togethere.
Yf ye sey that I lye, I shall make yow to slyther.
Lo, take yow here a trepett!

[They trip Mercy]

MERCY   Say me yowr namys, I know yow not.
NEW GYSE   New Gyse, I.
NOWADAYS                 &nb sp;      I, Nowadays.
NOUGHT                                                     I, Nought.
MERCY   Be Jhesu Cryst that me dere bowte10
Ye betray many men.
NEW GYSE   Betray? Nay, nay, ser, nay, nay!
We make them both fresch and gay.
But of yowr name, ser, I yow prey,
That we may yow ken.

MERCY   Mercy ys my name by denomynacyon.
I conseyve ye have but a lytyll favour in my communycacyon.
NEW GYSE   Ey, ey! Yowr body ys full of Englysch Laten.
I am aferde yt wyll brest.
Pravo te,” quod the bocher onto me
When I stale a leg of motun.
Ye are a stronge cunnyng clerke.
NOWADAYS   I prey yow hertyly, worschyppull clerke,
To have this Englysch mad in Laten:

“I have etun a dyschfull of curdys,
Ande I have schetun yowr mowth full of turdys.”
Now opyn yowr sachell wyth Laten wordys
Ande sey me this in clerycall manere!
Also I have a wyf, her name ys Rachell;
Betuyx her and me was a gret batell;
Ande fayn of yow I wolde here tell
Who was the most master.

NOUGHT   Thy wyf Rachell, I dare ley twenti lyse.
NOWADAYS   Who spake to thee, foll? Thou art not wyse!
Go and do that longyth to thin offyce:
Osculare fundamentum!
NOUGHT   [to Mercy] Lo, master, lo, here ys a pardon bely- mett.
Yt ys grawntyde of Pope Pokett,
Yf ye wyll putt yowr nose in hys wyffys sockett,
Ye shall have forty days of pardon.

MERCY   Thys ydyll language ye shall repent.
Out of this place I wolde ye went.
NEW GYSE   Goo we hens all thre wyth on assent.
My fadyr ys yrke of owr eloquence.
Therfor I wyll no lenger tary.
Gode brynge yow, master and blyssyde Mary
To the number of the demonycall frayry!

NOWADAYS   Cum wynde, cum reyn,
Thow I cumme never ageyn!
The Devll put out both yowr eyn!
Felouse, go we hens tyght.
NOUGHT   Go we hens, a devll wey!
Here ys the dore, her ys the wey.
Farwell, jentyll Jaffrey,
I prey Gode gyf yow now goode nyght!

Exiant simul. Cantent.

MERCY   Thankyde be Gode, we have a fayer dylyverance
Of thes thre onthryfty gestys.
They know full lytyll what ys ther ordynance.
I preve by reson thei be wers then bestys:

A best doth after hys naturall instytucyon;
Ye may conseyve be there dysporte and behavour,
Ther joy ande delyte ys in derysyon
Of her owyn Cryste to hys dyshonur.

Thys condycyon of levyng, yt ys prejudycyall;
Beware therof, yt ys wers than ony felony or treson.
How may yt be excusyde befor the Justyce of all
When for every ydyll worde we must yelde a reson?

They have grett ease, therfor thei wyll take no thought.
But how then when the angell of hevyn shall blow the trumpe
And sey to the transgressors that wykkydly hath wrought,
“Cum forth onto yowr Juge and yelde yowr acownte?”

Then shall I, Mercy, begyn sore to wepe;
Nother comfort nor cownsell ther shall non be hade;
But such as thei have sowyn, such shall thei repe.
Thei be wanton now, but then shall thei be sade.

The goode new gyse nowadays I wyll not dysalow.
I dyscomende the vycyouse gyse; I prey have me excusyde,11
I nede not to speke of yt, yowr reson wyll tell yt yow.
Take that ys to be takyn and leve that ys to be refusyde.

[Enter Mankind, dressed as a laborer, with a spade]

MANKYNDE   Of the erth and of the cley we have owr propagacyon.
By the provydens of Gode thus be we deryvatt,
To whos mercy I recomende this holl congrygacyon:
I hope onto hys blysse ye be all predestynatt.

Every man for hys degré I trust shall be partycypatt,
Yf we wyll mortyfye owr carnall condycyon
Ande owr voluntarye dysyres, that ever be pervercyonatt,
To renunce them and yelde us under Godys provycyon.

My name ys Mankynde. I have my composycyon
Of a body and of a soull, of condycyon contrarye.
Betwyx them tweyn ys a grett dyvisyon;
He that shulde be subjecte, now he hath the victory.12

Thys ys to me a lamentable story
To se my flesch of my soull to have governance.
Wher the goodewyff ys master, the goodeman may be sory.
I may both syth and sobbe, this ys a pytouse remembrance.

O thou my soull, so sotyll in thy substance,
Alasse, what was thi fortune and thi chaunce
To be assocyat wyth my flesch, that stynkyng dungehyll?

Lady, helpe! Soverens, yt doth my soull myche yll
To se the flesch prosperouse and the soull trodyn under fote.
I shall go to yondyr man and asay hym y wyll.
I trust of gostly solace he wyll be my bote.

All heyll, semely father! Ye be welcom to this house.
Of the very wysdam ye have partycypacyon.
My body wyth my soule ys ever querulose.
I prey yow, for sent charyté, of yowr supportacyon.

I beseche yow hertyly of yowr gostly comforte.
I am onstedfast in lyvynge; my name ys Mankynde.
My gostly enmy the Devll wyll have a grett dysporte
In synfull gydynge yf he may se me ende.13

MERCY   Cryst sende yow goode comforte! Ye be welcum, my frende.
Stonde uppe on yowr fete, I prey yow aryse.
My name ys Mercy; ye be to me full hende.
To eschew vyce I wyll yow avyse.

MANKYNDE   O Mercy, of all grace and vertu ye are the well,
I have herde tell of ryght worschyppfull clerkys.
Ye be aproxymatt to Gode and nere of hys consell.
He hat instytut you above all hys werkys.

O, yowr lovely wordys to my soull are swetere then hony.
MERCY   The temptacyon of the flesch ye must resyst lyke a man,
For ther ys ever a batell betwyx the soull and the body:
Vita hominis est milicia super terram.”14

Oppresse yowr gostly enmy and be Crystys own knyght.
Be never a cowarde ageyn yowr adversary.
Yf ye wyll be crownyde, ye must nedys fyght.
Intende well and Gode wyll be yow adjutory.

Remember, my frende, the tyme of contynuance.
So helpe me Gode, yt ys but a chery tyme.
Spende yt well; serve Gode wyth hertys affyance.
Dystempure not yowr brayn wyth goode ale nor wyth wyn.

Mesure ys tresure. Y forbyde yow not the use.15
Mesure yowrself ever; beware of excesse.
The superfluouse gyse I wyll that ye refuse;
When nature ys suffysyde, anon that ye sese.

Yf a man have an hors and kepe hym not to hye,
He may then reull hym at hys own dysyere.
Yf he be fede overwell he wyll dysobey
Ande in happe cast hys master in the myre.

[Enter New Guise, Nowadays, and Nought, hidden to Mercy and Mankind]

NEW GYSE   Ye sey trew, ser, ye are no faytour.
I have fede my wyff so well tyll sche ys my master.
I have a grett wonde on my hede, lo! And theron leyth a playster,
Ande another ther I pysse my peson.
Ande my wyf were yowr hors, sche wold yow all to-banne.
Ye fede yowr hors in mesure, ye are a wyse man.
I trow, and ye were the kyngys palfrey-man,
A goode horse shulde be gesunne.

MANKYNDE    [hearing New Guise] Wher spekys this felow? Wyll he not com nere?
MERCY   All to son, my brother, I fere me, for yow.
He was here ryght now, by Hym that bowte me dere,
Wyth other of hys felouse; thei kan moche sorow.

They wyll be here ryght son, yf I owt departe.
Thynke on my doctryne; yt shall be yowr defence.
Lerne wyll I am here; sett my wordys in herte.
Wythin a schorte space I must nedys hens.

NOWADAYS   [unseen, to Mercy] The sonner the lever, and yt be ewyn anon!16
I trow yowr name ys Do Lytyll, ye be so long fro hom.
If ye wolde go hens, we shall cum everychon,
Mo then a goode sorte.
Ye have leve, I dare well say.
When ye wyll, go forth yowr wey.
Men have lytyll deynté of yowr pley
Because ye make no sporte.

NOUGHT   [still unseen] Yowr potage shall be forcolde, ser; when wyll ye go dyn?17
I have sen a man lost twenti noblys in as lytyll tyme;
Yet yt was not I, be Sent Qwyntyn,
For I was never worth a pottfull a wortys sythyn I was born.
My name ys Nought. I love well to make mery.
I have be sethen wyth the comyn tapster of Bury
And pleyde so longe the foll that I am evyn wery.
Yyt shall I be ther ageyn to-morn.

MERCY   I have moche care for yow, my own frende.
Yowr enmys wyll be here anon, thei make ther avaunte.
Thynke well in yowr hert, yowr name ys Mankynde;
Be not unkynde to Gode, I prey yow be Hys servante.

Be stedefast in condycyon; se ye be not varyant.
Lose not thorow foly that ys bowte so dere.
Gode wyll prove yow son; ande yf that ye be constant,
Of Hys blysse perpetuall ye shall be partener.

Ye may not have yowr intent at yowr fyrst dysyere.
Se the grett pacyence of Job in tribulacyon;
Lyke as the smyth trieth ern in the feere,
So was he triede by Godys vysytacyon.

He was of yowr nature and of yowr fragylyté;
Folow the steppys of hym, my own swete sone,
Ande sey as he seyde in yowr trobyll and adversyté:
Dominus dedit, Dominus abstulit; sicut sibi placuit, sit nomen Domini benedictum!”18

Moreover, in specyall I gyve yow in charge,
Beware of New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nought.
Nyse in ther aray, in language thei be large;
To perverte yowr condycyons all the menys shall be sowte.

Gode son, intromytt not yowrsylff in ther cumpeny.19
Thei harde not a masse this twelmonyth, I dare well say.
Gyff them non audyence; thei wyll tell yow many a lye.
Do truly yowr labure and kepe yowr halyday.

Beware of Tytivillus, for he lesyth no wey,
That goth invysybull and wyll not be sen.
He wyll ronde in yowre ere and cast a nett befor yowr ey.
He ys worst of them all; Gode lett hym never then!

Yf ye dysples Gode, aske mercy anon,
Ellys Myscheff wyll be redy to brace yow in hys brydyll.
Kysse me now, my dere darlynge. Gode schelde yow from yowr fon!
Do truly yowr labure and be never ydyll.
The blyssynge of Gode be wyth yow and wyth all thes worschyppull men!


MANKYNDE   Amen, for sent charyté, amen!

Now blyssyde be Jhesu! My soull ys well sacyatt
Wyth the mellyfluose doctryne of this worschyppfull man.
The rebellyn of my flesch now yt ys superatt,
Thankynge be Gode of the commynge that I kam.

Her wyll I sytt and tytyll in this papyr
The incomparable astat of my promycyon.
Worschypfull soverence, I have wretyn here
The gloryuse remembrance of my nobyll condycyon.
To have remors and memory of mysylff thus wretyn yt ys,
To defende me from all superstycyus charmys:
Memento, homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris.”20

[Pointing to his breast, which bears this motto and perhaps a cross or a skull]

Lo, I ber on my bryst the bagge of myn armys.

[New Guise approaches Mankind]

NEW GYSE   The wether ys colde, Gode sende us goode ferys!
Cum sancto sanctus eris et cum perverso perverteris.”21
Ecce quam bonum et quam jocundum,” quod the Devll to the frerys,
Habitare fratres in unum.”22

[Mankind picks up his spade and begins to till]

MANKYNDE   I her a felow speke; wyth hym I wyll not mell.
Thys erth wyth my spade I shall assay to delffe.
To eschew ydullnes, I do yt myn own selffe.
I prey Gode sende yt hys fusyon!

[They approach Mankind]

NOWADAYS Make rom, sers, for we have be longe!
We wyll cum gyf yow a Crystemes songe.
NOUGHT Now I prey all the yemandry that ys here
To synge wyth us wyth a mery chere:

[They sing, leading the audience in the ditty]

Yt ys wretyn wyth a coll, yt ys wretyn wyth a cole,
NEW GYSE AND NOWADAYS   Yt ys wretyn wyth a colle, yt ys wretyn wyth a colle,
NOUGHT   He that schytyth wyth hys hoyll, he that schytyth wyth hys hoyll,
NEW GYSE, NOWADAYS   He that schytyth wyth hys hoyll, he that schytyth wyth hys hoyll,
NOUGHT   But he wyppe hys ars clen, but he wyppe hys ars clen,
NEW GYSE, NOWADAYS   But he wype hys ars clen, but he wype hys ars clen,
NOUGHT   On hys breche yt shall be sen, on hys breche yt shall be sen,
NEW GYSE, NOWADAYS   On hys breche yt shall be sen, on hys breche yt shall be sen.
Cantant Omnes. Hoylyke, holyke, holyke! Holyke, holyke, holyke!

NEW GYSE   Ey, Mankynde, Gode spede yow wyth yowr spade!
I shall tell yow of a maryage:
I wolde yowr mowth and hys ars that this made
Wer maryede junctly together.
MANKYNDE   Hey yow hens, felouse, wyth bredynge.
Leve yowr derysyon and yowr japyng.
I must nedys labure, yt ys my lyvynge.
NOWADAYS   What, ser, we cam but lat hethyr.

Shall all this corn grow here
That ye shall have the nexte yer?
Yf yt be so, corn hade nede be dere,
Ellys ye shall have a pore lyffe.
NOUGHT   Alasse, goode fadere, this labor fretyth yow to the bon.
But for yowr croppe I take grett mone.
Ye shall never spende yt alonne;
I shall assay to geett yow a wyffe.

How many acres suppose ye here by estymacyon?
NEW GYSE   Ey, how ye turne the erth uppe and down!
I have be in my days in many goode town
Yett saw I never such another tyllynge.

MANKYNDE   Why stonde ye ydyll? Yt ys pety that ye were born!
NOWADAYS   We shall bargen wyth yow and nother moke nor scorne.
Take a goode carte in hervest and lode yt wyth yowr corne,
And what shall we gyf yow for the levynge?

NOUGHT   He ys a goode starke laburrer, he wolde fayn do well.
He hath mett wyth the goode man Mercy in a schroude sell.
For all this he may have many a hungry mele.
Yyt woll ye se he ys polytyke.23
Here shall be goode corn, he may not mysse yt;
Yf he wyll have reyn he may overpysse yt;
Ande yf he wyll have compasse he may overblysse yt
A lytyll wyth hys ars lyke.24

MANKYNDE   Go and do yowr labur! Gode lett yow never the!
Or wyth my spade I shall yow dynge, by the Holy Trinyté!
Have ye non other man to moke, but ever me?
Ye wolde have me of yowr sett?
Hye yow forth lyvely, for hens I wyll yow dryffe.

[Strikes them with his spade]

NEW GYSE   Alas, my jewellys! I shall be schent of my wyff!
NOWADAYS   Alasse! And I am lyke never for to thryve,
I have such a buffett.

MANKYNDE   Hens I sey, New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nowte!
Yt was seyde beforn, all the menys shuld be sought
To perverte my condycyons and brynge me to nought.
Hens, thevys! Ye have made many a lesynge.
NOUGHT   Marryde I was for colde, but now am I warme.
Ye are evyll avysyde, ser, for ye have don harme.
By cokkys body sakyrde, I have such a peyn in my arme
I may not chonge a man a ferthynge.25

MANKYNDE   Now I thanke Gode, knelynge on my kne.
Blyssyde be Hys name! He ys of hye degré.
By the subsyde of Hys grace that He hath sente me
Thre of myn enmys I have putt to flyght.
Yyt this instrument, soverens, ys not made to defende.
Davide seyth, “Nec in hasta nec in gladio salvat Dominus.”26
NOUGHT   No, mary, I beschrew yow, yt ys in spadibus.
Therfor Crystys curse cum on yowr hedybus
To sende yow lesse myght!

Exiant [except Mankind]

MANKYNDE   I promytt yow thes felouse wyll no more cum here,
For summe of them, certenly, were summewhat to nere.27
My fadyr Mercy avysyde me to be of a goode chere
Ande agayn my enmys manly for to fyght.

I shall convycte them, I hope, everychon.
Yet I say amysse, I do yt not alon.
Wyth the helpe of the grace of Gode I resyst my fon
Ande ther malycyuse herte.
Wyth my spade I wyll departe, my worschyppull soverence,
Ande lyve ever wyth labure to corecte my insolence.
I shall go fett corn for my londe; I prey yow of pacyence;
Ryght son I shall reverte.

[Mankind exits to get his seed; Mischief enters]

MISCHIEF   Alas, alasse, that ever I was wrought!
Alasse the whyll, I am wers then nought!
Sythyn I was here, by hym that me bought,
I am utterly ondon!
I, Myscheff, was here at the begynnynge of the game
Ande arguyde wyth Mercy, Gode gyff hym schame!
He hath taught Mankynde, wyll I have be vane,
To fyght manly ageyn hys fon.

For wyth hys spade, that was hys wepyn,
New Gyse, Nowadays, Nought hath all to-beton.
I have grett pyté to se them wepyn.
Wyll ye lyst? I here them crye.


Alasse, alasse! Cum hether, I shall be yowr borow.
Alac, alac! Ven, ven! Cum hethere wyth sorowe!
Pesse, fayer babys, ye shall have a nappyll to-morow!28
Why grete ye so, why?

[New Guise, Nowadays, and Nought reenter in great pain]

NEW GYSE   Alasse, master, alasse, my privyté!
MISCHIEF   A, wher? Alake! Fayer babe, ba me!
Abyde! To son I shall yt se.
NOWADAYS   Here, here, se my hede, goode master!
MISCHIEF   Lady, helpe! Sely darlynge, ven, ven!
I shall helpe thee of thi peyn;
I shall smytt of thi hede and sett yt on agayn.
NOUGHT   By owr Lady, ser, a fayer playster!29

Wyll ye of wyth hys hede! Yt ys a schreude charme!
As for me, I have non harme.
I were loth to forbere myn arme.
Ye pley in nomine patris, choppe!
NEW GYSE   Ye shall not choppe my jewellys, and I may.
NOWADAYS   Ye, Cristys crose, wyll ye smyght my hede awey?
Ther wer on and on!30 Oute! Ye shall not assay.
I myght well be callyde a foppe.
MISCHIEF   I kan choppe yt of and make yt agayn.
NEW GYSE   I hade a schreude recumbentibus but I fele no peyn.
NOWADAYS   Ande my hede ys all save and holl agayn.
Now towchynge the mater of Mankynde,
Lett us have an interleccyon, sythen ye be cum hethere.
Yt were goode to have an ende.

MISCHIEF   How, how, a mynstrell! Know ye ony out?
NOUGHT   I kan pype in a Walsyngham wystyll, I, Nought, Nought.
MISCHIEF   Blowe apase, and thou shall bryng hym in wyth a flewte.

[Nought begins to play]

TITIVILLUS   [from offstage] I com wyth my leggys under me.
MISCHIEF   How, New Gyse, Nowadays, herke or I goo!
When owr hedys wer togethere I spake of si dedero.
NEW GYSE   Ye, go thi wey! We shall gather mony onto,
Ellys ther shall no man hym se.
[to the audience] Now gostly to owr purpos, worschypfull soverence,
We intende to gather mony, yf yt plesse yowr neclygence,
For a man wyth a hede that ys of grett omnipotens.
NOWADAYS   Kepe yowr tayll, in goodnes I prey yow, goode brother!
He ys a worschyppull man, sers, savyng yowr reverens.
He lovyth no grotys, nor pens or to pens.
Gyf us rede reyallys yf ye wyll se hys abhomynabull presens.
NEW GYSE   Not so! Ye that mow not pay the ton, pay the tother.31

At the goodeman of this house fyrst we wyll assay.
Gode blysse yow, master! Ye say as yll, yet ye wyll not sey nay.32
Lett us go by and by and do them pay.
Ye pay all alyke; well mut ye fare!
NOUGHT I sey, New Gyse, Nowadays: “Estis vos pecuniatus?”
I have cryede a fayer wyll, I beschrew yowr patus!
NOWADAYS Ita vere, magister.33 Cumme forth now yowr gatus!
He ys a goodly man, sers; make space and beware!

[Enter Titivillus]

TITIVILLUS   [to the audience] Ego sum dominancium dominus,34 and my name ys Titivillus.
Ye that have goode hors, to yow I sey caveatis!
Here ys an abyll felyschyppe to tryse hem out at yowr gatys.35

Loquitur ad New Gyse:

Ego probo sic: Ser New Gys, lende me a peny!
NEW GYSE   I have a grett purse, ser, but I have no monay.
By the masse, I fayll to farthyngys of an halpeny;
Yyt hade I ten pound this nyght that was.

Loquitur ad Nowadays.

TITIVILLUS   What ys in thi purse? Thou art a stout felow.
NOWADAYS   The Devll have thee qwytt! I am a clen jentyllman.36
I prey Gode I be never wers storyde then I am.
Yt shall be otherwyse, I hope, or this nyght passe.

Loquitur ad Nought.

TITIVILLUS   Herke now! I say thou hast many a peny.
NOUGHT   Non nobis, domine, non nobis,37 by Sent Deny!
The Devll may daunce in my purse for ony peny;
Yt ys as clen as a byrdys ars.

TITIVILLUS   [to the audience] Now I say yet ageyn, caveatis!
Her ys an abyll felyschyppe to tryse hem out of yowr gatys.
Now I sey, New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nought,
Go and serche the contré, anon yt be sowghte,
Summe here, summe ther, what yf ye may cache owghte.38
Yf ye fayll of hors, take what ye may ellys.
NEW GYSE   Then speke to Mankynde for the recumbentibus of my jewellys.
NOWADAYS   Remember my brokyn hede in the worschyppe of the fyve vowellys.
NOUGHT   Ye, goode ser, and the sytyca in my arme.
TITIVILLUS   I know full well what Mankynde dyde to yow.
Myschyff hat informyde of all the matere thorow.
I shall venge yowr quarell, I make Gode a vow.
Forth, and espye were ye may do harme.
Take William Fyde, yf ye wyll have ony mo.
I sey, New Gyse, wethere art thou avysyde to go?

NEW GYSE   Fyrst I shall begyn at Master Huntyngton of Sauston,
Fro thens I shall go to Wylliam Thurlay of Hauston,
Ande so forth to Pycharde of Trumpyngton.
I wyll kepe me to thes thre.
NOWADAYS   I shall goo to Wyllyham Baker of Waltom,
To Rycherde Bollman of Gayton;
I shall spare Master Woode of Fullburn,
He ys a noli me tangere.

NOUGHT   I shall goo to Wyllyam Patryke of Massyngham,
I shall spare Master Alyngton of Botysam
Ande Hamonde of Soffeham,
For drede of in manus tuas — qweke.
Felous, cum forth, and go we hens togethyr.
NEW GYSE   Syth we shall go, lett us be well ware wethere,
If we may be take, we com no more hethyr.
Lett us con well owr neke-verse, that we have not a cheke.

TITIVILLUS   Goo yowr wey, a devll wey, go yowr wey all!
I blysse yow wyth my lyfte honde: foull yow befall!
Com agayn, I werne, as son as I yow call,
And brynge yowr avantage into this place.

Exeunt. Manet Titivillus

To speke wyth Mankynde I wyll tary here this tyde
Ande assay hys goode purpose for to sett asyde.
The goode man Mercy shall no lenger be hys gyde.
I shall make hym to dawnce another trace.

Ever I go invysybull, yt ys my jett,
Ande befor hys ey thus I wyll hange my nett
To blench hys syght; I hope to have hys fote-mett.
To yrke hym of hys labur I shall make a frame.
Thys borde shall be hyde under the erth prevely;

[Places a board under the earth Mankind has been tilling]

Hys spade shall enter, I hope, onredyly;
Be then he hath assayde, he shall be very angry
Ande lose hys pacyens, peyn of schame.
I shall menge hys corne wyth drawke and wyth durnell;
Yt shall not be lyke to sow nor to sell.
Yondyr he commyth; I prey of cownsell.
He shall wene grace were wane.

[Enter Mankind with his seed]

MANKYNDE   Now Gode of hys mercy sende us of Hys sonde!
I have brought sede here to sow wyth my londe.
Qwyll I overdylew yt, here yt shall stonde.

[Sets down the seed, which Titivillus promptly snatches]

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti now I wyll begyn.39

[He begins to dig, but strikes the board]

Thys londe ys so harde yt makyth unlusty and yrke.
I shall sow my corn at wynter and lett Gode werke!

[He looks to pick up his seed]

Alasse, my corn ys lost! Here ys a foull werke!
I se well by tyllynge lytyll shall I wyn.
Here I gyff uppe my spade for now and for ever.

Here Titivillus goth out wyth the spade

To occupye my body I wyll not put me in dever.
I wyll here my evynsonge here or I dyssever.
Thys place I assyng as for my kyrke.
Here in my kerke I knell on my kneys.
Pater noster qui es in celis.40
TITIVILLUS   [re-entering] I promes yow I have no lede on my helys.
I am here ageyn to make this felow yrke.

Qwyst! Pesse! I shall go to hys ere and tytyll therin.
A schorte preyere thyrlyth hewyn; of thi preyere blyn.
Thou art holyer then ever was ony of thi kyn.
Aryse and avent thee! Nature compellys.
MANKYNDE   I wyll into thi yerde, soverens, and cum ageyn son.
For drede of the colyke and eke of the ston
I wyll go do that nedys must be don.
My bedys shall be here for whosummever wyll ellys.

[Throws down the rosary beads.] Exiat

TITIVILLUS   Mankynde was besy in hys prayere, yet I dyde hym aryse.
He ys conveyde, be Cryst, from hys dyvyn servyce.
Wethere ys he, trow ye? Iwysse I am wonder wyse;
I have sent hym forth to schyte lesynges.
Yff ye have ony sylver, in happe pure brasse,
Take a lytyll powder of Parysch and cast over hys face,
Ande ewyn in the howll-flyght let hym passe.41
Titivillus kan lerne yow many praty thyngys.

I trow Mankynde wyll cum ageyn son,
Or ellys I fere me evynsonge wyll be don.
Hys bedys shall be trysyde asyde, and that anon.
Ye shall a goode sport yf ye wyll abyde.
Mankynde cummyth ageyn, well fare he!
I shall answere hym ad omnia quare.
Ther shall be sett abroche a clerycall mater.
I hope of hys purpose to sett hym asyde.

[Mankind reenters]

MANKYNDE   Evynsong hath be in the saynge, I trow, a fayer wyll.
I am yrke of yt; yt ys to longe be on myle.
Do wey! I wyll no more so oft over the chyrche-style.
Be as be may, I shall do another.
Of laboure and preyer, I am nere yrke of both;
I wyll no more of yt, thow Mercy be wroth.
My hede ys very hevy, I tell yow forsoth.
I shall slepe full my bely and he wore my brother.42

[He falls asleep]

TITIVILLUS   Ande ever ye dyde, for me kepe now yowr sylence.
Not a worde, I charge yow, peyn of forty pens.
A praty game shall be scheude yow or ye go hens.
Ye may here hym snore; he ys sade aslepe.
Qwyst! Pesse! The Devll ys dede! I shall goo ronde in hys ere.
Alasse, Mankynde, alasse! Mercy stown a mere!
He ys runn away fro hys master, ther wot no man where;
Moreover, he stale both a hors and a nete.
But yet I herde sey he brake hys neke as he rode in Fraunce;
But I thynke he rydyth on the galous, to lern for to daunce,43
Bycause of hes theft, that ys hys governance.
Trust no more on hym, he ys a marryde man.
Mekyll sorow wyth thi spade beforn thou hast wrought.
Aryse and aske mercy of New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nought.
Thei cun avyse thee for the best; lett ther goode wyll be sought,
And thi own wyff brethell, and take thee a lemman.

Farwell, everychon, for I have don my game,
For I have brought Mankynde to myscheff and to schame.

[Exit. Mankind awakes]

MANKYNDE   Whope who! Mercy hath brokyn hys neke-kycher, avows,
Or he hangyth by the neke hye uppon the gallouse.
Adew, fayer masters! I wyll hast me to the ale-house
Ande speke wyth New Gyse, Nowadays and Nought
And geett me a lemman wyth a smattrynge face.

[Enter New Guise through the audience]

NEW GYSE   Make space, for cokkys body sakyrde, make space!
A ha! Well overron! Gode gyff hym evyll grace!
We were nere Sent Patrykes Wey, by Hym that me bought.

I was twychyde by the neke; the game was begunne.
A grace was, the halter brast asonder: ecce signum!44
The halff ys abowte my neke; we hade a nere rune!
“Beware,” quod the goodewyff when sche smot of here husbondys hede,“beware!”45

Myscheff ys a convicte, for he coude hys neke-verse.
My body gaff a swynge when I hynge uppon the casse.
Alasse, he wyll hange such a lyghly man, and a fers,
For stelynge of an horse, I prey Gode gyf hym care!

Do wey this halter! What devll doth Mankynde here, wyth sorow!
Alasse, how my neke ys sore, I make avowe!
MANKYNDE   Ye be welcom, New Gyse! Ser, what chere wyth yow?
NEW GYSE   Well ser, I have no cause to morn.
MANKYNDE   What was that abowte yowr neke, so Gode yow amende?
NEW GYSE   In feyth, Sent Audyrs holy bende.
I have a lytyll dyshes, as yt plese Gode to sende,
Wyth a runnynge ryngeworme.

[Enter Nowadays through the audience]

NOWADAYS   Stonde arom, I prey thee, brother myn!
I have laburryde all this nyght; wen shall we go dyn?
A chyrche her besyde shall pay for ale, brede, and wyn.
Lo, here ys stoff wyll serve.
NEW GYSE   Now by the holy Mary, thou art better marchande then I!
NOUGHT   Avante, knawys, lett me go by!
I kan not geet and I shulde sterve.46

[Enter Mischief]

MISCHIEF   Here cummyth a man of armys! Why stonde ye so styll?
Of murder and manslawter I have my bely-fyll.
NOWADAYS   What, Myscheff, have ye ben in presun? And yt be yowr wyll,
Me semyth ye have scoryde a peyr of fetters.
MISCHIEF   I was chenyde by the armys: lo, I have them here.
The chenys I brast asundyr and kyllyde the jaylere,
Ye, ande hys fayer wyff halsyde in a cornere;
A, how swetly I kyssyde the swete mowth of hers!

When I hade do, I was myn owyn bottler;
I brought awey wyth me both dysch and dublere.
Here ys anow for me; be of goode chere!
Yet well fare the new chesance!

[They begin to feast, but Mankind interrupts them]

MANKYNDE   I aske mercy of New Gyse, Nowadays, and Nought.
Onys wyth my spade I remember that I faught.
I wyll make yow amendys yf I hurt yow ought
Or dyde ony grevaunce.

NEW GYSE   What a devll lykyth thee to be of this dysposycyon?
MANKYNDE   I drempt Mercy was hange, this was my vysyon,
Ande that to yow thre I shulde have recors and remocyon.
Now I prey yow hertyly of yowr goode wyll.
I crye yow mercy of all that I dyde amysse.
NOWADAYS   I sey, New Gys, Nought, Tytivillus made all this:
As sekyr as Gode ys in hewyn, so yt ys.
NOUGHT   [to Mankind] Stonde uppe on yowr feet! Why stonde ye so styll?

NEW GYSE   Master Myscheff, we wyll yow exort
Mankyndys name in yowr bok for to report.
MISCHIEF   I wyll not so; I wyll sett a corte.
Nowadays, mak proclamacyon,
And do yt sub forma jurys, dasarde!
NOWADAYS   Oyyt! Oyyt! Oyet! All manere of men and comun women
To the cort of Myschyff othere cum or sen!
Mankynde shall retorn; he ys on of owr men.
MISCHIEF   Nought, cum forth, thou shall be stewerde.

NEW GYSE   Master Myscheff, hys syde gown may be solde.
He may have a jakett therof, and mony tolde.

Nought scribit

MANKYNDE   I wyll do for the best, so I have no colde.

[Mankind takes off his coat]

Holde, I prey yow, and take yt wyth yow.
Ande let me have yt ageyn in ony wyse.
NEW GYSE   I promytt yow a fresch jakett after the new gyse.
MANKYNDE   Go and do that longyth to yowr offyce,
And spare that ye mow!

[New Guise exits with Mankind’s coat]

NOUGHT   Holde, master Myscheff, and rede this.
MISCHIEF   Here ys blottybus in blottis,
Blottorum blottibus istis.
I beschrew yowr erys, a fayer hande!
NOWADAYS   Ye, yt ys a goode rennynge fyst.
Such an hande may not be myst.
NOUGHT   I shulde have don better, hade I wyst.
MISCHIEF   Take hede, sers, yt stoude you on hande.
[He reads] Carici tenta generalis.
In a place ther goode ale ys
Anno regni regitalis
Edwardi nullateni
On yestern day in Feverere — the yere passyth fully,47
As Nought hath wrytyn; here ys owr Tulli,
Anno regni regis nulli!

NOWADAYS   What how, New Gyse! Thou makyst moche taryynge.
That jakett shall not be worth a ferthynge.
NEW GYSE   Out of my wey, sers, for drede of fyghtynge!

[Reentering through the audience]

Lo, here ys a feet tayll, lyght to leppe abowte!48
NOUGHT   Yt ys not schapyn worth a morsell of brede;
Ther ys to moche cloth, yt weys as ony lede.
I shall goo and mende yt, ellys I wyll lose my hede.
Make space, sers, lett me go owte.

[Exits through the audience with Mankind’s coat]

MISCHIEF   Mankynde, cum hethere! God sende yow the gowte!
Ye shall goo to all the goode felouse in the cuntré aboute;
Onto the goodewyff when the goodeman ys owte.
“I wyll,” sey ye.
MANKYNDE         I wyll, ser.
NEW GYSE   There arn but sex dedly synnys, lechery ys non,
As yt may be verefyede be us brethellys everychon.
Ye shall goo robbe, stell, and kyll, as fast as ye may gon.
“I wyll,” sey ye.
MANKYNDE         I wyll, ser.
NOWADAYS   On Sundays on the morow erly betyme
Ye shall wyth us to the all-house erly to go dyn
And forbere masse and matens, owres, and prime.49
“I wyll,” sey ye.
MANKYNDE         I wyll, ser.
MISCHIEF   Ye must have be yowr syde a longe da pacem,
As trew men ryde be the wey for to onbrace them,
Take ther monay, kytt ther throtys, thus overface them.
“I wyll,” sey ye.
MANKYNDE         I wyll, ser.

NOUGHT   [reentering] Here ys a joly jakett! How sey ye?
NEW GYSE   Yt ys a goode jake of fence for a mannys body.
Hay, doog, hay! Whoppe whoo! Go yowr wey lyghtly!
Ye are well made for to ren.

[Mercy enters to the side]

MISCHIEF   Tydyngys, tydyngys! I have aspyede on!
Hens wyth yowr stuff, fast we were gon!
I beschrew the last shall com to hys hom.

Amen! Dicant omnes.

MERCY   What how, Mankynde! Fle that felyschyppe, I yow prey!
MANKYNDE   I shall speke wyth thee another tyme, to-morn, or the next day.
We shall goo forth together to kepe my faders yer-day.
A tapster, a tapster! Stow, statt, stow!
MISCHIEF   A myscheff go wyth! Here I have foull fall.
Hens, awey fro me, or I shall beschyte yow all.
NEW GYSE   What how, ostlere, hostlere! Lende us a football!
Whoppe whow! Anow, anow, anow, anow!

[After much play, in which Mercy is trampled, they exit. Mercy remains]

MERCY   My mynde ys dyspersyde, my body trymmelyth as the aspen leffe.
The terys shuld trekyll down by my chekys, were not yowr reverrence.50
Yt were to me solace, the cruell vysytacyon of deth.
Wythout rude behaver I kan not expresse this inconvenyens.
Wepynge, sythynge, and sobbynge were my suffycyens.
All naturall nutriment to me as caren ys odybull.
My inwarde afflixcyon yeldyth me tedyouse unto yowr presens.
I kan not bere yt evynly that Mankynde ys so flexybull.
Man onkynde, wherever thou be! For all this world was not aprehensyble
To dyscharge thin orygynall offence, thraldam, and captyvyté,
Tyll Godys own welbelovyde son was obedient and passyble.51
Every droppe of hys bloode was schede to purge thin iniquité.
I dyscomende and dysalow thin oftyn mutabylyté.
To every creature thou art dyspectouse and odyble.
Why art thou so oncurtess, so inconsyderatt? Alasse, who ys me!
As the fane that turnyth wyth the wynde, so thou art convertyble.52

In trust ys treson;53 thi promes ys not credyble;
Thy perversyose ingratytude I cannot rehers.
To God and to all the holy corte of hewyn thou art despectyble,
As a nobyll versyfyer makyth mencyon in this verse:
Lex et natura, Cristus et omnia jura
Damnant ingratum, lugent eum fore natum.”54

O goode Lady and Mother of mercy, have pety and compassyon
Of the wrechydnes of Mankynde, that ys so wanton and so frayll!
Lett mercy excede justyce, dere Mother, amytt this supplycacyon,
Equyté to be leyde onparty and Mercy to prevayll.55

To sensuall lyvynge ys reprovable, that ys nowadays,
As be the comprehence of this mater yt may be specyfyede.56
New Gyse, Nowadays, Nought wyth ther allectuose ways
They have pervertyde Mankynde, my swet sun, I have well espyede.

A, wyth thes cursyde caytyfs, and I may, he shall not long indure.57
I, Mercy, hys father gostly, wyll procede forth and do my propyrté.
Lady, helpe! This maner of lyvynge ys a detestabull plesure.
Vanitas vanitatum, all ys but a vanyté.

Mercy shall never be convicte of hys oncurtes condycyon.58
Wyth wepynge terys be nygte and be day I wyll goo and never sesse.
Shall I not fynde hym? Yes, I hope. Now Gode be my proteccyon!
My predylecte son, where be ye? Mankynde, ubi es?

[Exit. Enter Mischief; the others are offstage relieving themselves]

MISCHIEF   My prepotent fadere, when ye sowpe, sowpe out yowr messe.59
Ye are all to-gloryede in yowr termys; ye make many a lesse.
Wyll ye here? He cryeth ever “Mankynde, ubi es?”
NEW GYSE   Hic hyc, hic hic, hic hic, hic hic!
That ys to sey, here, here, here! Ny dede in the cryke.
Yf ye wyll have hym, goo and syke, syke, syke!
Syke not overlong, for losynge of yowr mynde!

NOWADAYS    Yf ye wyll have Mankynde, how domine, domine, dominus!
Ye must speke to the schryve for a cape corpus,
Ellys ye must be fayn to retorn wyth non est inventus.
How sey ye, ser? My bolte ys schett.
NOUGHT   I am doynge of my nedyngys; beware how ye schott!60
Fy, fy, fy! I have fowll arayde my fote.
Be wyse for schotynge wyth yowr takyllys, for Gode wott
My fote ys fowly overschett.

MISCHIEF   A parlement, a parlement! Cum forth, Nought, behynde.
A cownsell belyve! I am aferde Mercy wyll hym fynde.
How sey ye, and what sey ye? How shall we do wyth Mankynde?
NEW GYSE   Tysche! A flyes weyng! Wyll ye do well?
He wenyth Mercy were honge for stelyng of a mere.
Myscheff, go sey to hym that Mercy sekyth everywere.
He wyll honge hymselff, I undyrtake, for fere.
MISCHIEF   I assent therto; yt ys wyttyly seyde and well.

NOWADAYS   [to New Gyse] Qwyppe yt in thi cote; anon yt were don.61
Now Sent Gabryellys modyr save the clothes of thi schon!
All the bokys in the worlde, yf thei hade be undon,
Kowde not a cownselde us bett.

Hic exit Myscheff [who then returns with Mankind]

MISCHIEF   How, Mankynde! Cumm and speke wyth Mercy, he is here fast by.
MANKYNDE   A roppe, a rope, a rope! I am not worthy.
MISCHIEF   Anon, anon, anon! I have yt here redy,
Wyth a tre also that I have gett.

Holde the tre, Nowadays, Nought! Take hede and be wyse!
NEW GYSE   Lo, Mankynde! Do as I do; this ys thi new gyse.
Gyff the roppe just to thy neke; this ys myn avyse.

[Mercy reenters with a whip, chasing Mischief]

MISCHIEF   Helpe thisylff, Nought! Lo, Mercy ys here!
He skaryth us wyth a bales; we may no lengere tary.

[They run off, leaving New Guise hanging]

NEW GYSE   Qweke, qweke, qweke! Alass, my thrott! I beschrew yow, mary!
A, Mercy, Crystys coppyde curse go wyth yow, and Sent Davy!
Alasse, my wesant! Ye were sumwhat to nere.

popular dance; (t-note)
bales (whips); (see note); (t-note)
suppose; will break; what; (t-note)
I care not; Saint Anne; (see note); (t-note)
Leap; nimble; (t-note)
while; (t-note)
In that case; talk; (see note); (t-note)
curse; rascally; (t-note)
Take this; (see note); (t-note)


Stop; revelry; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
concern; (t-note)
surely (or “By Mary”); (see note)
(i.e., Mercy); (t-note)
With a little effort; try

(see note); (t-note)
pretty caper


aid; (t-note)
try (it); dance
danced; too violently; (t-note)
crowded; (see note); (t-note)

believe; (see note)
[I] had; (t-note)
supper (solid food); (t-note)
quickly, greet; (see note)
(i.e., I’ll be brief); (see note)
style; custom; (see note)

every bit

Our Lady (Mary); (t-note)
against; (t-note)
rascals in every circumstance; (t-note)
soon get (taste) a blow; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
heard; (t-note)
crawl on the ground
trip; (t-note)


sir; (t-note)


designation; (t-note)
comfort; (t-note)
(see note)
afraid; burst; (see note); (t-note)
I curse you; butcher; (see note); (t-note)
stole; mutton; (t-note)
very learned scholar; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
translated into; (t-note)

eaten; curds
shitten; turds
(see note); (t-note)
clerkly (learned); (see note)
gladly from; wish

wager; lice; (see note)
fool; (t-note)
what belongs to; duty; (t-note)
Kiss my ass; (t-note)
sufficient; (see note); (t-note)
granted by;
vagina; (t-note)

I wish you would go
one accord; (t-note)
father (i.e., priest) is bothered by
remain; (t-note)
(see note)
brotherhood of demonic friars; (see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
I’ll never come back; (t-note)
Fellows; quickly (together)
the way of the devil
gentle Geoffrey (i.e., Mercy); (see note)

Let them go out together. They sing; (t-note)

good riddance
unthrifty guests
appointed place

beast; (see note)
by; (t-note)


(see note); (t-note)

pay no mind; (t-note)
(i.e., But how they will)
committed sin

bitterly; (t-note)
sown; reap; (see note)

forbid; (see note)



destined (for grace); (t-note)

in his own fashion; a participant

perverse; (t-note)
place ourselves; care; (t-note)

(see note)
two; (t-note)

wife; husband; (see note); (t-note)
sigh; piteous; (t-note)

delicate; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

Our Lady (Mary)
appeal to; (t-note)
spiritual; helper

true; (t-note)
at war

spiritual guidance



fountain; (t-note)



(see note)
helper; (t-note)

duration of life
cherry time; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
superfluous mode; wish
satisfied, then you [should] stop; (t-note)

too well-fed; (see note)

by chance; mire


wound; plaster
where; penis; (see note); (t-note)
If; fully curse; (t-note)
moderation (sarcastically)
believe, if; horsekeeper; (t-note)
scarce; (see note); (t-note)

too soon (i.e., he will come)
paid dearly for me; (t-note)
fellows; know

very soon; go hence; (t-note)

Soon I must depart

believe; far from; (see note)
More than a great many; (t-note)
permission; (t-note)
wish; (t-note)
delight in

nobles (gold coins); (see note)
Saint Quentin; (see note); (t-note)
cabbages since; (t-note)

just now; barkeeper; (see note); (t-note)
fool; very weary; (t-note)
Yet; tomorrow morning; (t-note)

concern; friend (i.e., Mankind)
boast; (t-note)


easily changed; (t-note)
through; bought so expensively; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
blacksmith refines iron; fire; (see note)
visitation (i.e., of trials); (t-note)

He (i.e., Job); (t-note)


I advise you especially
Foolish; dress; boastful
habits; means; sought; (t-note)

heard; year(twelve months); (t-note)

holy day; (t-note)

he never fails; (see note); (t-note)
Who goes; seen
whisper; (see note); (t-note)
never let him thrive

displease; immediately; (t-note)
Else; fasten; bridle
foes; (t-note)
(see note)


mellifluous; honorable; (t-note)
that I came here; (t-note)

write on
state; promised grace; (t-note)

In order that I may; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

breast; badge; arms; (see note)

fires; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

hear; associate; (t-note)
attempt to dig; (t-note)

room; sirs; long (about)
popular song;
yeomanry (i.e., people)

written; piece of coal
shits; hole
Unless; arse clean; (t-note)

breeches; seen; (t-note)
They all sing; holy; (see note)


wish; i.e., composed this song; (t-note)
married jointly
Hurry; from here; reproach; (see note)
foolish talk
recently here; (t-note)

Is this all [the space you have] here to grow grain
So that; have [grain for]
better bring a good price

wears you down; (t-note)
feel great sorrow
complete; (t-note)

Yet; such a tilling

a pity

strong; surely
at a bad time
Because of; meager meal

wishes to; piss on it; (see note); (t-note)
compost; overbless it; (t-note)

mock; always
of your gang; (t-note)
Hasten; hence; drive

testicles; rejected by (of no use to); (t-note)

injury [from being hit]

Go away
before; means; (t-note)
habits; (t-note)
Hence, thieves; lie
Ruined; on account of; (see note); (t-note)
Christ’s sacred body; (see note)
change; farthing

high estate; (t-note)
help; (t-note)

curse you; by the spade; (see note)

They exit

against; to fight manly; (t-note)

overcome; everyone; (t-note)
foes; (t-note)
their malicious
fetch grain; (t-note)
soon; return

this moment; nothing; (t-note)
undone; (t-note)

while; absent

severely beaten; (t-note)

They cry out

hither; protector
Come; (see note); (t-note)


privates (testicles); (t-note)
kiss me; (t-note)
see it (i.e., your privates)

Poor; come
smite off; (see note)

off with; severe treatment
would be reluctant; lose
in the name of the father; (see note)
testicles; if I can [stop you]; (t-note)
Christ’s cross; chop; (t-note)
attempt it; (t-note)
it off; restore
knockout blow; feel no pain; (see note); (t-note)
safe and whole
regarding; matter
consultation, since; (see note)

any at all; (see note); (t-note)
whistle; (see note); (t-note)
now; flute; (see note); (t-note)

(see note)
listen before
if I give; (see note); (t-note)
unto [that purpose]; (t-note)
him (i.e., Titivillus); (t-note)
faithfully; (see note)
(see note)
(see note); (t-note)
tally (account); (see note); (t-note)
He (i.e., Titivillus); (t-note)
groats; pence or two-pence; (see note); (t-note)
gold royals

To the master; try; (see note)

here and there; make them pay
may you fare well (as you pay); (t-note)
Are you well-moneyed; (see note); (t-note)
begged; while; curse; head
your way (i.e., from your gates)
sirs; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
horse; beware

He says to

I prove it (their dishonesty) thus
(see note)
two; (i.e., I have nothing); (t-note)
Yet; last night; (t-note)

He says to

(see note); (t-note)
provided for than

He says to

Saint Denis; (see note); (t-note)
any (i.e., there’s lots of room there); (see note)
clean as a bird’s arse; (see note)

beware; (t-note)
steal them (your horses); (t-note)

it will be seen; (t-note)

fail to get; else
blow to my testicles
(see note); (t-note)
sciatica; (see note); (t-note)

thoroughly; (t-note)
Go forth and spy where
any more; (t-note)
where do you plan to go

(see note); (t-note)


touch me not (John 20:17); (see note); (t-note)

into Thy hands; (see note); (t-note)
Since; aware whither; (t-note)

recite; problem; (see note); (t-note)

the devil’s way
left; may bad luck be yours; (see note); (t-note)
advise, as soon; (t-note)
your booty; (t-note)

They exit. Titivillus remains

wait here a while; (t-note)
try; distract; (t-note)
guide; (t-note)
dance another step

fashion; (t-note)
eye; (see note); (t-note)
deceive; take his measure; (see note); (t-note)
make him irked with; scheme
board; hidden; secretly; (t-note)

with difficulty; (t-note)
After he has attempted it; (t-note)
on penalty of shame
mix; cockle; darnel (weeds); (see note); (t-note)
fit; (t-note)
please keep my secret
think [that his]; lost; (t-note)


While I till and cover it over; (t-note)


[one] weary and annoyed; (t-note)
by chance; (see note); (t-note)

by tilling I shall gain little

(see note)

I will not endeavor
before I leave
assign; church; (see note)

lead in my heels; (t-note)
annoyed; (t-note)

Shush; whisper; (t-note)
pierces; cease

relieve yourself
also; kidneystone; (t-note)

rosary (prayer beads); (t-note)


made; (t-note)
distracted; (see note); (t-note)
Truly; baffled; (t-note)
shit lies
(see note)
(see note); (t-note)
even in the owl flight (i.e., at twilight)
teach; crafty

believe; (t-note)
evening prayer; done
tossed aside; right away; (t-note)
shall [be shown]; stay; (t-note)
to every question; (t-note)
stirred up a clerical matter (i.e., a debate); (t-note)

for a good while; (t-note)
weary; too long by a mile; (see note)
not go often over the church stile; (t-note)
Regardless; otherwise; (t-note)
want; though; angry; (t-note)

If; (t-note)
on penalty of; (t-note)
shown you before; (t-note)
sound; (t-note)
whisper; (see note); (t-note)
has stolen a mare; (t-note)
no one knows; (t-note)
cow (or ox)
broke; (t-note)
conduct; (t-note)
in; ruined
Much; earlier; (t-note)
deceive; lover (mistress); (t-note)

everyone; (t-note)

neck; (see note); (t-note)

tavern; (t-note)

lover; kissable; (see note); (t-note)

Christ’s sacred body
escaped; (see note); (t-note)
near; Him (i.e., Christ); (see note)

(see note); (t-note)
half [of the noose]; close call; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

knew; (see note)
hang upon; gallows
handsome; fierce; (see note); (t-note)

Get rid of; What the
I swear; (t-note)
how are you; (t-note)

St. Audrey’s; band; (see note); (t-note)
disease; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

Stand back; (t-note)
(see note)
nearby; (see note)
that will serve [us] well; (t-note)
Out of my way, knaves; (t-note)

(see note)

It seems to me; worn out; (see note); (t-note)


was done; own butler; (t-note)
platter; (see note); (t-note)
enough; (t-note)
financial dealing; (see note); (t-note)

at all; (t-note)


recourse and resort; (t-note)

beg; (t-note)
put all this in his head
(see note)

(see note); (t-note)
in legal form, fool; (t-note)
Oyez (hear ye); (see note); (t-note)
send [excuses]; (see note)
one of our
steward (scribe); (t-note)

long coat; (see note)
money left over; (t-note)


as long as

way; (t-note)
belongs; duty
And salvage what you can; (t-note)

(nonsense Latin); (t-note)
(nonsense Latin)
curse; written hand; (t-note)
running fist (cursive writing); (t-note)
it should behoove you (punning); (t-note)
The general court having been held; (see note); (t-note)

In the regnal year
Of Edward the Nothing; (t-note)
(see note)
Cicero; (see note); (t-note)
In the regnal year of king nobody; (t-note)


is as heavy as
alter it; else

(see note); (t-note)

six deadly sins
rascals (villains)

early in the morning
(see note); (t-note)

“give peace” (i.e., a dagger); (see note)
cut them up; (t-note)
cut; overcome; (t-note)

(see note)
tunic; (see note); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

seen one (i.e., Mercy); (t-note)
stolen goods, let’s go quickly
curse; last one who; (see note); (t-note)

Let them all say

Run away from that gang; (t-note)
anniversary of his death; (t-note)
tapster (innkeeper); (see note)
with you; a bad fall;
beshit; (t-note)
innkeeper; (see note); (t-note)

trembles; leaf; (t-note)

death would be a comfort; (t-note)
misfortune; (t-note)
sighing; sustenance
carrion; odious
makes; (t-note)
calmly; easily swayed
(see note); (t-note)
(see note)

your (thine); (t-note)
moral changeability; (t-note)
despicable; odious
uncourteous; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
perverse; describe; (t-note)
contemptible; (t-note)
(see note)

(i.e., Virgin Mary)
admit (hear); (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

alluring; (t-note)
sweet son; seen

spiritual; duty

Vanity of vanities (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

most beloved; where are you; (see note)

too-fancy; lie; (see note); (t-note)
hear; where are you; (t-note)
Near(ly) dead in the creek; (see note); (t-note)
sigh, seek (pun)

O Lord, Lord, Lord; (t-note)
sheriff; “take the body” (a writ of arrest); (see note); (t- note)
it is not found
has been shot; (see note); (t-note)
foully dirtied my foot; (t-note)
shooting; weapons; knows
covered with shit; (see note); (t-note)

Let’s confer; (see note); (t-note)
counsel quickly; afraid; (t-note)

fly’s wing (a small matter); (see note)
thinks; mare
He (i.e., Mankind); (t-note)

Saint Gabriel’s mother; shoes; (see note); (t-note)
opened [and read]
Could not have advised us better; (t-note)


near by

gallows tree; gotten; (see note)

fashion; (see note); (t-note)
Set; just so; advice; (t-note)

scares; whip; remain; (see note); (t-note)

curse; indeed; (see note); (t-note)
heaped-up; Saint David; (see note)
throat; too close; (t-note)

They exit
  [The Vices return to save New Guise, but leave behind Mankind, who grovels on the ground before Mercy]





















MERCY   Aryse, my precyose redempt son! Ye be to me full dere.
He ys so tymerouse, me semyth hys vytall spryt doth exspyre.
MANKYNDE   Alasse, I have be so bestyally dysposyde, I dare not apere.
To se yowr solaycyose face I am not worthy to desyere.
MERCY   Yowr crymynose compleynt wondyth my hert as a lance.
Dyspose yowrsylff mekly to aske mercy, and I wyll assent.
Yelde me nethyr golde nor tresure, but yowr humbyll obeysyance,
The voluntary sujeccyon of yowr hert, and I am content.

MANKYNDE   What, aske mercy yet onys agayn? Alas, yt were a vyle petycyun.
Evyr to offend and ever to aske mercy, yt ys a puerilité.
Yt ys so abhominabyll to rehers my iterat transgrescion
I am not worthy to have mercy be no possibilité.
MERCY   O, Mankend, my singler solas, this is a lamentabyll excuse.
The dolorous terys of my hert, how thei begyn to amownt!
O pirssid Jhesu, help thou this synfull synner to redouce!
Nam hec est mutacio dextre Excelsi; vertit impios et non sunt.62

Aryse and aske mercy, Mankend, and be associat to me.
Thy deth schall be my hevynesse; alas, tys pety yt schuld be thus.
Thy obstinacy wyll exclude thee fro the glorius perpetuité.
Yet for my lofe ope thy lyppys and sey “Miserere mei, Deus!”63

MANKYNDE   The egall justyse of God wyll not permytte such a synfull wrech
To be revyvyd and restoryd ageyn; yt were impossibyll.
MERCY   The justyce of God wyll as I wyll, as Hymselfe doth preche:
Nolo mortem peccatoris, inquit, yff he wyll be redusyble.64

MANKYNDE   Than mercy, good Mercy! What ys a man wythowte mercy?
Lytyll ys our parte of paradyse were mercy ne were.
Good Mercy, excuse the inevytabyll objeccion of my gostly enmy.
The proverbe seyth, “the trewth tryith the sylfe.” Alas, I have mech care.

MERCY   God wyll not make yow prevy onto hys last jugement.
Justyce and Equité shall be fortyfyid, I wyll not denye.
Trowthe may not so cruelly procede in hys streyt argument
But that Mercy schall rewle the mater wythowte contraversye.

Aryse now and go wyth me in thys deambulatorye.
Inclyne yowyr capacité; my doctrine ys convenient.
Synne not in hope of mercy; that is a cryme notary.
To truste overmoche in a prince yt ys not expedient.

In hope when ye syn ye thynke to have mercy, beware of that aventure.
The good Lord seyd to the lecherus woman of Chanane,
The holy gospell ys the autorité, as we rede in scrypture,
Vade et iam amplius noli peccare.”65

Cryst preservyd this synfull woman takeyn in avowtry;
He seyde to here theis wordys, “Go and syn no more.”
So to yow, go and syn no more. Beware of veyn confidens of mercy;
Offend not a prince on trust of hys favour, as I seyd before.
Yf ye fele yoursylffe trappyd in the snare of your gostly enmy,
Aske mercy anon; beware of the contynuance.
Whyll a wond ys fresch yt ys provyd curabyll be surgery,
That yf yt procede ovyrlong, yt ys cawse of gret grevans.

MANKYNDE   To aske mercy and to have, this ys a lyberall possescion.
Schall this expedycius petycion ever be alowyd, as ye have insyght?
MERCY   In this present lyfe mercy ys plenté, tyll deth makyth hys dyvysion;
But whan ye be go, usque ad minimum quadrantem ye schall rekyn your ryght.66
Aske mercy and have, whyll the body wyth the sowle hath hys annexion;
Yf ye tary tyll your dyscesse, ye may hap of your desyre to mysse.67
Be repentant here, trust not the owr of deth; thynke on this lessun:
Ecce nunc tempus acceptabile, ecce nunc dies salutis.”68

All the vertu in the word yf ye myght comprehend
Your merytys were not premyabyll to the blys above,
Not to the lest joy of hevyn, of your propyr efforte to ascend.
Wyth mercy ye may; I tell yow no fabyll, scrypture doth prove.69

MANKYNDE   O Mercy, my suavius solas and synguler recreatory,70
My predilecte specyall, ye are worthy to have my love;
For wythowte deserte and menys supplicatorie
Ye be compacient to my inexcusabyll reprove.

A, yt swemyth my hert to thynk how onwysely I have wroght.
Tytivillus, that goth invisibele, hyng hys nett before my eye
And by hys fantasticall visionys sediciusly sowght,
To New Gyse, Nowadayis, Nowght causyd me to obey.

MERCY   Mankend, ye were oblivyows of my doctrine monytorye.
I seyd before, Titivillus wold asay yow a bronte.
Beware fro hensforth of hys fablys delusory.
The proverbe seyth, “Jacula prestita minus ledunt.”

Ye have thre adversaryis and he ys mayster of hem all:
That ys to sey, the Devell, the World, the Flesch and the Fell.
The New Gyse, Nowadayis, Nowgth, the World we may hem call;
And propyrly Titivillus syngnyfyth the fend of helle;

The Flesch, that ys the unclene concupissens of your body.
These be your thre gostly enmyis, in whom ye have put your confidens.
Thei browt yow to Myscheffe to conclude your temporall glory,
As yt hath be schewyd before this worscheppyll audiens.

Remembyr how redy I was to help yow; fro swheche I was not dangerus;71
Wherfore, goode sunne, absteyne fro syn evermore after this.
Ye may both save and spyll yowr sowle that ys so precyus.
Libere welle, libere nolle God may not deny iwys.72

Beware of Titivillus wyth his net and of all enmys will,
Of your synfull delectacion that grevyth your gostly substans.
Your body ys your enmy; let hym not have hys wyll.
Take your leve whan ye wyll. God send yow good persverans!

MANKYNDE   Syth I schall departe, blyse me, fader, her then I go.
God send us all plenté of Hys gret mercy!
MERCY   Dominus custodit te ab omni malo
In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen!73

Hic exit Mankynde

Wyrschepyll sofereyns, I have do my propirté:
Mankynd ys deliveryd by my faverall patrocynye.
God preserve hym fro all wyckyd captivité
And send hym grace hys sensuall condicions to mortifye!

Now for Hys love that for us receyvyd hys humanité,
Serge your condicyons wyth dew examinacion.
Thynke and remembyr the world ys but a vanité,
As yt ys provyd daly by diverse transmutacyon.

Mankend ys wrechyd, he hath sufficyent prove.
Therefore God grant yow all per suam misericordiam
That ye may be pleyferys wyth the angellys above
And have to your porcyon vitam eternam. Amen!

timorous, it seems to me; (see note); (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)
comforting; (t-note)
guilty lament wounds
obedience; (see note)

petition; (t-note)
puerility (childish behavior); (t-note)
repeated; (t-note)
by; (t-note)
singular solace
wounded; reform; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

allied; (t-note)
it is a pity
from the eternal glory; (t-note)
love; (see note); (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)

where there is no mercy; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
strict; (t-note)
However; undoubtedly; (t-note)

walkway; (t-note)
relevant; (t-note)
notorious; (see note); (t-note)
(see note)


adultery; (t-note)
listen to

persisting in sin; (t-note)
grievance; (t-note)

generous gift
(see note); (t-note)
union; (see note); (t-note)
hour; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

world; (t-note)
merits would not earn you; (see note); (t-note)

chosen beloved
means of supplication; (t-note)
compassionate; shame; (t-note)

grieves; unwisely; sinned; (t-note)
goes; hung; (t-note)
sought [to destroy me]; (t-note)

forgetful; admonitory; (t-note)
attempt an attack on you; (t-note)

Darts anticipated hurt less; (t-note)

(see note); (t-note)
skin; (see note); (t-note)
fiend; (t-note)

unclean carnal desire
been shown; (t-note)


spiritual being

leave; (t-note)

Since; bless; before (ere); (t-note)


Here exits

have completed my task; (t-note)
practical protection; (t-note)

habits; (t-note)

took human form
Examine; habits; thorough; (t-note)


sufficiently proven
through his mercy; (see note); (t-note)
companions (playmates); (see note); (t-note)
for; portion eternal life

The end; (t-note)

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