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Play 25, The Entry into Jerusalem


ABBREVIATIONS: AV: Authorized (“King James”) Version; Meditations: Meditations on the Life of Christ, trans. Ragusa and Green; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; RB: Richard Beadle, ed., York Plays; REED: Records of Early English Drama; YA: Davidson and O’Connor, York Art; York Breviary: Breviarium ad usum insignis ecclesie Eboracensis; York Missal: Missale ad usum insignis ecclesiae Eboracensis.

References to the Ordo paginarum are to REED: York, 1:16–27.

Heavily dependent on the Palm Sunday liturgy, the Skinners’ pageant begins the portion of the cycle that dramatizes the events of Holy Week. Its importance is signaled by its length, 544 lines, with indications of music both during the approach to Jerusalem and at the end of the play, in this case suggesting singing during a procession to the next station. The Ordo paginarum specifies the music in the first instance as Benedictus Etc. (“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”), perhaps the common form used following the Sanctus in the Mass. A Benedictus qui venit also appears as a responsory in the York Processional for use on Palm Sunday.1 The Pepysian Gospel Harmony reports that “Jesus entred into the cite with gret processioun.”2 Palm branches were specified, but these, not being available in northern England, would have been replaced, probably by willows. Typically, in presenting Christ as the King coming to the gates of his city Jerusalem, the influence of the Royal Entry, itself intended as a reflection of the Palm Sunday procession, has also been acknowledged. The pageant is written in seven-line stanzas.

9 Rawnsom. Again mention of the ransom theory of the atonement. Jesus has been sent into the world to cancel the devil’s rights to people’s souls, releasing from bondage those who accept that he died for them and who follow his precepts — including those who were upright though they lived before his act of sacrifice.

13 Petir, Phelippe. The Ordo paginarum lists twelve apostles, with an interlinear correction to two, as in the play.

15 castell that is you agayne. The Vulgate has castellum quod contra vos (Matthew 21:2). The Douay-Rheims translation corrects to village, where the ass and her colt are found that will carry the King of Kings into the city on a humble beast — that is, in a manner opposed to the pomp of earthly monarchs; see, for example, Love, Mirror, pp. 141–42.

26–28 Doghtyr Syon . . . opon. Matthew 21:5, quoting the prophecy of Zacharias (9:9).

57 The beestis are comen. The ass and its colt are held in common by the village; hence the disciples go there as directed by Jesus with confidence that they will have a reasonable chance of taking them.

65 To loose thes bestis withoute leverie? The disciples are challenged by the porter because they have not shown the documentation required for legal possession of the animals.

88 That Lorde we lefte at Bephage. Further locating the action in space. The disciples have traveled a short distance from Bethpage, and surely this has involved the street-level playing area. Nor can the procession which will follow have been confined to a wagon and rather must have made use of the street.

93–94 I schall declare playnly his comyng / To the chiffe of the Jewes. The porter offers to give advance warning of Jesus’ coming into the city (his adventus). This he will do, thus informing the citizens of the news (see lines 120–26). There will be eight burgesses or leading citizens, presumably in livery designating their status, who, along with a group of children, will be present to represent those in attendance at the entry on the first Palm Sunday.

134 five thowsand men with loves fyve. Miracle story; as told in all four gospels.

136 Watir to wyne. At the marriage at Cana, dramatized in Play 22a, for which the text is lost; see above.

143 new lawes. Jesus was proclaimed to have set aside the old law and to have instituted a new dispensation of grace; the concept is asserted very strongly in the Pauline epistles.

152 Yf thei were dyme. The laws of Moses and the writings of the ancient prophets were considered dark, not capable of explanation without reference to the new dispensation; in iconography, this is illustrated in the contrast between the Synagogue, blindfolded, with crown falling off, and dropping the tables of the law, and the Church, which is represented as crowned and holding a model of a church, the place where the new law of mercy is proclaimed (YA, p. 182, for local examples).

200–01 And sone will bringe agayne . . . beheste. The porter trusts that the ass will be returned when the procession is completed, for “So thai beheste.”

230–31 Emang youreselff schall come grete seele . . . verray. Unidentified quotation, presumably from an Old Testament prophet.

260–61 Go we than with processioun / To mete that comely. The two processions of citizens and of Jesus’ party will set out from different places and then meet, as happened in the procession of the Host on Palm Sunday; see Erler, “Palm Sunday Prophets,” pp. 63–71, and Feasy, Ancient Holy Week Ceremonial, pp. 67–80. The two processions come together at the gates of the city.

262 With braunches, floures, and unysoune. The audience very likely may have joined in strewing flowers in Jesus’ way. The term unisoune implies monophonic singing in tune — i.e., “in agreement and concord” (Dutka, Music, p. 104; see also Carter, Dictionary, p. 536).

264–65 Our childir schall / Go synge before. As in the actual Palm Sunday procession, children sing “Osanna” in praise of “the sone of David” (see Play 30, line 343), presumably in Latin: Hosanna filio David. See, however, the specification in the Ordo paginarum, cited above. The Middle English Gospel of Nicodemus gives the meaning of Osanna as “Lord, save us, we thee pray” (pp. 28–29). The children probably were positioned not only at the head of the procession but also on the top of the city gates, as represented on a pageant wagon, for this seems be what is suggested by the Beadle in Play 30, lines 314–15. More certain is that the way was strewn with wildflowers and that some, representing rich men, put down thare robes before Jesus (Play 30, lines 343–45).

287 The dialogue now returns to the first procession, and at line 287 the children will begin to sing, if they have not already started to do so. Pauper in lines 310–12 calls attention to the second procession of the citizens who are going out to meet Jesus “with melodye.”

334–91 The healing of the blind and the lame does not occur in the New Testament narrative during the procession on Palm Sunday, but earlier. These miracles are merely noted at this time; see Matthew 21:14.

392–460 Zacheus, the rich publican and a short man, will climb a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. This episode also occurs prior to Palm Sunday; see Luke 19:2–28.

447 Me schamys with synne, but noght to mende. He is ashamed of his sin, but now he is not any longer ashamed of mending his ways.

448–53 I synne forsake . . . asith agayne. The correction of I to Mi by a later hand in line 448 is not necessary. Zacheus is affirming his decision to forsake his sin. He will give half his available goods to the poor, and will make restitution to those he has wronged. This is the type of statement one might find in a contemporary will, where such charitable acts were commonly designated. Compare Everyman, lines 697–702. But in the York pageant these lines may be taken as a confession, leading to absolution in lines 454–57.

468 Petir, take this asse me fro. Jesus now dismounts; Peter will lead it away so that it can be returned, as promised. The porter is nearby, and Peter is able to hand it over to him already at lines 482–83.

470–71 I murne, I sigh, I wepe also / Jerusalem on thee to loke. See Luke 19:41–44, which is the only gospel to note Christ’s tears before Jerusalem. At lines 475–79, Jesus predicts the fall of the city. As Love, elaborating on Luke, explains, Jesus’ tears are for Jerusalem’s “detruccion therof, that came aftere, and sorowynge for heere gostly blyndnes” (Mirror, p. 142).

489–541 Hayll. Hail lyrics, exuberantly lauding the triumphant king in a profusion of praise and metaphor and ending with reference to Jesus’ role at Doomsday. Related to the Hail lyrics associated with the Nativity — and to the spirit of Levation prayers at the celebration of the Eucharist.

544 s.d. Tunc cantant. The singing resumes with perhaps, as Rastall suggests, Ingrediente domino, a responsory that was used at York for the entrance to the church on Palm Sunday (Minstrels Playing, p. 55).


ABBREVIATIONS: Bevington: David Bevington, ed., Medieval Drama (1975); Köbling: E. Köbling, “Beiträge zur Erklärung und Textkritik der York Plays”; LTS: Lucy Toulmin Smith, ed., The York Plays (1885); RB: Richard Beadle, ed., The York Plays (1972) (incorporating numerous emendations from other sources); RB2: Richard Beadle, “Corrections to The York Plays,” in Gerald Byron Kinneavy, A Concordance to the York Plays (1986), pp. xxxi–xxxii; s.d.: stage direction; Sykes: A. C. Cawley, ed., “The Sykes MS of the York Scriveners’ Play”; Towneley: Martin Stevens and A. C. Cawley, eds., The Towneley Plays.

The base text for this edition is London, British Library, MS. Add. 35290, called the “Register” in the York civic records and here identified by the abbreviation Reg. Some variations in lineation from the manuscript are not noted here; see RB and Beadle and Meredith’s The York Play: A Facsimile. In most cases the line numbering in the present text is consistent with RB. Lineation of alliterative verse throughout is based on Reg, with line numbering adjusted accordingly to account for half lines. Scribes are identified as follows: Scribe A; Scribe B: main scribe; JC: John Clerke; LH: later scribal hand (unidentified).

11 is. So LTS, RB; Reg: is I.

33 this thyng. In Reg, ?ki interlined between these words.

41 go. So RB; Reg, LTS, omit.

71 hartely. Letter t interlined in Reg.

85 JANITOR. Added by JC in Reg.

108 tham. So RB; Reg, LTS: hym.

162 VII BURGENSIS. So RB; Reg and LTS place at line 160.

204 I say. So RB; Reg: I say I (second I canceled).

211 youre childer with. So LTS, RB; Reg: youre with.

228 telle. So RB; Reg, LTS: felle.

247 thought. Reg: JC has th interlined above thorn (þ).

248 latt. Written by JC above consayte (canceled) in Reg.

260 I BURGENSIS. So RB; Reg locates at line 261.

265 Omit II BURGENSIS in this edition.

280 this thing. So RB; Reg, LTS: thing.

286 lyst. So RB; Reg, LTS: lyfe.

287, s.d. Tunc cantant. Added in left margin by LH in Reg.

296–337 Lineation scrambled in Reg; text follows LTS and RB.

298 bene of tendyr yere. So LTS, RB; Reg: of tendyr yere bene.

303 I witte. So LTS, RB; Reg: witte.

320 right. So LTS, RB; Reg: righ.

332 aghe. So LTS, RB; Reg: age.

346 syght. So LTS, RB; Reg: syight.

359 Reg: in margin by later scribe: hic caret.

367 Following line is missing in Reg.

382 Reg: line written on previous page, deleted, and then added by JC, incorrectly with my for myn, at right of line 381.

402 Following line is missing in Reg; LTS suggested New lawes to lare.

429 hid. So RB; Reg, LTS: it.

431 Wille. So LTS, RB; Reg: Whiche.

448 I. Reg: altered to Mi in LH.

449 Halve. So RB; Reg, LTS: Have.

482 Reg: adds at hande at end of line (deleted).

495 Hayll. So RB; Reg: hall, as emended by LH.

499 bright. So LTS, RB; Reg: brigh.

501 we. So RB; Reg, LTS: with.

544 s.d. Tunc cantant. Added in LH in left margin in Reg.


Footnote 1 But see Rastall, Minstrels Playing, pp. 17 and 54, and comment on lines 264–65, below. For descriptions of the Palm Sunday ritual, see, for example, Rastall, Heaven Singing, pp. 265–71; Erler, “Palm Sunday Prophets and Processions”; and King, York Mystery Cycle, pp. 131–42.

Footnote 2 Pepysian Gaspel Harmony, p. 76.

The Skynners













































































































JESUS   To me takis tent and giffis gud hede,
My dere discipulis that ben here,
I schall you telle that shal be indede;
My tyme to passe hense, it drawith nere,
And by this skill
Mannys sowle to save fro sorowes sere
That loste was ill.

From heven to erth whan I dyssende
Rawnsom to make I made promys,
The prophicie nowe drawes to ende;
My Fadirs wille forsoth it is
That sente me hedyr.
Petir, Phelippe, I schall you blisse
And go togedir

Unto yone castell that is you agayne,
Gois with gud harte and tarie noght,
My comaundement to do be ye bayne.
Also I you charge loke it be wrought
That schal ye fynde
An asse, this feste als ye had soght,
Ye hir unbynde

With hir foole, and to me hem bring
That I on hir may sitte a space
So the prophicy clere menyng
May be fulfilled here in this place:
“Doghtyr Syon,
Loo, thi Lorde comys rydand on an asse,
Thee to opon.”

Yf any man will you gaynesaye,
Say that youre Lorde has nede of tham
And schall restore thame this same day
Unto what man will tham clayme.
Do thus this thyng,
Go furthe ye both and be ay bayne
In my blissyng.

PETRUS   Jesu, maistir, evyn at thy wille
And at thi liste us likis to doo,
Yone beste whilke thou desires thee tille.
Even at thi will schall come thee too
Unto thin esse.
Sertis, Lord, we will thedyre all go
Thee for to plese.

PHILIPPUS   Lord, thee to plese we are full bayne
Bothe nyght and day to do thi will.
Go we, brothere, with all oure mayne
My Lordis desire for to fulfill,
For prophycye
Us bus it do to hym by skyll
To do dewly.

PETRUS   Ya, brodir Phelipp, behalde grathely,
For als he saide we shulde sone fynde,
Methinke yone bestis before myn eye,
Thai are the same we schulde unbynde.
Therfore frely
Go we to hym that thame gan bynde
And aske mekely.

PHILIPPUS   The beestis are comen, wele I knawe;
Therfore us nedis to aske lesse leve,
And oure maistir kepis the lawe.
We may thame take tyter, I preve,
For noght we lett.
For wele I watte oure tyme is breve,
Go we tham fett.

JANITOR   Saie, what are ye that makis here maistrie
To loose thes bestis withoute leverie?
Yow semes to bolde, sen noght that ye
Hase here to do; therfore rede I
Such thingis to sesse,
Or ellis ye may falle in folye
And grette diseasse.

PETRUS   Sir, with thi leve hartely we praye
This beste that we myght have.

JANITOR   To what intente, firste shall ye saye,
And than I graunte what ye will crave
Be gode resoune?

PHILIPPUS   Oure maistir, sir, that all may save,
Aske by chesoune.

JANITOR   What man is that ye maistir call
Swilke privelege dare to hym clayme?

PETRUS   Jesus of Jewes kyng, and ay be schall,
Of Nazareth prophete the same,
This same is he,
Both God and man, withouten blame,
This trist wele we.

JANITOR   Sirs, of that prophette herde I have,
But telle me firste playnly, wher is hee?

PHILIPPUS   He comes at hande, so God me save.
That Lorde we lefte at Bephage,
He bidis us there.

JANITOR   Sir, take this beste, with herte full free,
And forthe ye fare.

And if you thynke it be to don,
I schall declare playnly his comyng
To the chiffe of the Jewes that thei may sone
Assemble same to his metyng.
What is your rede?

PETRUS   Thou sais full wele in thy menyng,
Do forthe thi dede,

And sone this beste we schall thee bring
And it restore as resoune will.

JANITOR   This tydyngis schall have no laynyng
But to the citezens declare it till
Of this cyté.
I suppose fully that thei wolle
Come mete that free.

And sen I will thei warned be,
Both yonge and olde, in ilke a state,
For his comyng I will tham mete
To late tham witte, withoute debate.
Lo, wher thei stande,
That citezens cheff, withoute debate,
Of all this lande.

He that is rewler of all right
And freely schoppe both see and sande,
He save you, lordyngis, gayly dight,
And kepe you in youre semelyté
And all honoure.

I BURGENSIS   Welcome, porter, what novelté
Telle us this owre?

JANITOR   Sirs, novelté I can you tell
And triste thame fully as for trewe;
Her comes of kynde of Israell
Att hande the prophette called Jesu,
Lo, this same day,
Rydand on an asse; this tydandis newe
Consayve ye may.

II BURGENSIS   And is that prophette Jesu nere?
Off hym I have herde grete ferlis tolde:
He dois grete wounderes in contrees seere.
He helys the seke, both yonge and olde,
And the blynde giffis tham ther sight;
Both dome and deffe, as hymselffe wolde,
He cures thame right.

III BURGENSIS   Ya, five thowsand men with loves fyve
He fedde, and ilkone hadde inowe.
Watir to wyne he turned ryve,
He garte corne growe withouten plogh
Wher are was none;
To dede men als he gaffe liffe,
Lazar was one.

IV BURGENSIS   In oure Tempill if he prechid
Agaynste the pepull that leved wrong,
And also new lawes if he teched
Agaynste oure lawis we used so lang,
And saide pleynlye
The olde schall waste, the new schall gang,
That we schall see.

V BURGENSIS   Ya, Moyses lawe he cowde ilke dele,
And all the prophettis on a rowe,
He telles tham so that ilke a man may fele
And what thei may interly knowe
Yf thei were dyme,
What the prophettis saide in ther sawe,
All longis to hym.

VI BURGENSIS   Emanuell also by right
Thai calle that prophette, by this skill,
He is the same that are was hyght
Be Ysaye befor us till,
Thus saide full clere:
Loo, a maydyn that knew nevere ille
A childe schuld bere.

VII BURGENSIS   David spake of him I wene
And lefte witnesse ye knowe ilkone;
He saide the frute of his corse clene
Shulde royally regne upon his trone,
And therfore he
Of David kyn, and othir none,
Oure kyng schal be.

VIII BURGENSIS   Sirs, methynketh ye saie right wele,
And gud ensampelys furth ye bryng;
And sen we thus this mater fele,
Go we hym meete as oure owne kyng,
And kyng hym call.
What is youre counsaill in this thyng,
Now say ye all?

I BURGENSIS   Agaynste resoune I will noght plete,
For wele I wote oure kyng he is.
Whoso agaynst his kyng liste threte,
He is noght wise, he dose amys.
Porter, come nere,
What knowlage hast thou of his comyng,
Tels us all here?

And than we will go mete that free
And hym honnoure as we wele awe
Worthely tyll oure citee,
And for oure soverayne Lord hym knawe
In whome we triste.

JANITOR   Sirs, I schall telle you all on rowe
And ye will lyste.

Of his discipillis two this day,
Where that I stode, thei faire me grette
And on ther maistir halfe gan praye
Oure comon asse that thei myght gete
Bot for a while
Wheron ther maistir softe myght sitte
Space of a mile.

And all this mater thai me tolde
Right haly as I saie to you,
And the asse thei have right as thei wolde,
And sone will bringe agayne, I trowe,
So thai beheste.
What ye will doo avise you nowe,
Thus thinke me beste.

II BURGENSIS   Trewlye as for me, I say,
I rede we make us redy bowne
Hym to mete gudly this day
And hym ressayve with grete rennowne,
As worthy is.
And therfore, sirs, in felde and towne
Ye fulfille this.

JANITOR   Ya, and youre childer with you take,
Thoff all in age that thei be yonge;
Ye may fare the better for ther sake
Thurgh the blissing of so goode a kyng,
This is no dowte.

III BURGENSIS   I kan thee thanke for thy saying,
We will hym lowte;

And hym to mete I am right bayne
On the beste maner that I cane,
For I desire to se hym fayne
And hym honnoure as his awne man
Sen the soth I see:
Kyng of Juuys we call hym than,
Oure kyng is he.

IV BURGENSIS   Oure kyng is he, that is no lesse,
Oure awne lawe to it cordis will,
The prophettis all bare full witnesse
Qwilke full of hym secrete gone telle,
And thus wolde say,
“Emang youreselff schall come grete seele
Thurgh God verray.”

V BURGENSIS   This same is he, ther is non othir,
Was us beheest full lange before,
For Moyses saide, als oure owne brothir
A newe prophette God schulde restore.
Therfore loke ye
What ye will do, withouten more:
Oure kyng is he.

VI BURGENSIS   Of Juda come owre kyng so gent,
Of Jesse, David, Salamon,
Also by his modir kynne take tente,
The genolagye beres witnesse on,
This is right playne.
Hym to honnoure right as I can
I am full bayne.

VII BURGENSIS   Of youre clene witte and youre consayte
I am full gladde in harte and thought,
And hym to mete withouten latt
I am redy and feyne will noght
Bot with you same
To hym agayne us blisse hath brought
With myrthe and game.

VIII BURGENSIS   Youre argumentis thai are so clere
I can noght saie but graunte you till,
For whanne I of that counsaille here,
I coveyte hym with fervent wille
Onys for to see;
I trowe fro thens I schall
Bettir man be.

I BURGENSIS   Go we than with processioun
To mete that comely as us awe
With braunches, floures, and unysoune,
With myghtfull songes her on a rawe.
Our childir schall
Go synge before that men may knawe.

To this graunte we all.

PETRUS   Jesu, Lord and maistir free,
Als thou comaunde so have we done:
This asse here we have brought to thee.
What is thi wille thou schewe us sone
And tarie noght,
And than schall we, withouten hune,
Fulfill thi thought.

JESUS   I thanke you, brethere, mylde of mode.
Do on this asse youre clothis ye laye
And lifte me uppe with hertis gud
That I on hir may sitte this daye
In my blissing.

PHILIPPUS   Lord, thi will to do allway,
We graunte this thing.

JESUS   Now my brethere with gud chere,
Gyves gode entente, for ryde I will
Unto yone cyté ye se so nere.
Ye shall me folowe, sam and still
Als I are sayde.

PHILIPPUS   Lord, as thee lyst we graunte thee till,
And halde us payde.

     Tunc cantant.

CECUS   A, Lorde, that all this world has made,
Bothe sonne and mone, nyght and day,
What noyse is this that makis me gladde?
Fro whens it schulde come I can noght saye
Or what it mene.
Yf any man walke in this way,
Telle hym me bedene.

PAUPER   Man, what ayles thee to crye?
Where wolde thou be, thou say me here?

CECUS   A, sir, a blynde man am I,
And ay has bene of tendyr yere
Sen I was borne;
I harde a voyce with nobill chere
Here me beforne.

PAUPER   Man, will thou oght that I can do?

CECUS   Ya, sir, gladly wolde I witte
Yf thou couthe oght declare me to;
This myrthe I herde, what mene may it
Or undirstande?

PAUPER   Jesu, the prophite full of grace,
Comys here at hande,

And all the cetezens thay are bowne
Gose hym to mete with melodye,
With the fayrest processioun
That evere was sene in this Jury.
He is right nere.

CECUS   Sir, helpe me to the strete hastely
That I may here

That noyse, and also that I myght thurgh grace
My syght of hym, to crave I wolde.

PAUPER   Loo, he is here at this same place.
Crye faste on hym, loke thou be bolde
With voyce right high.

CECUS   Jesu, the Sone of David calde,
Thou have mercy!

Allas, I crye, he heris me noght.
He has no ruthe of my mysfare,
He turnes his herre, where is his thought?

PAUPER   Cry somwhat lowdar, loke thou noght spare,
So may thou spye.

CECUS   Jesu, the salver of all sare,
To me giffis gode hye!

PHELIPPUS   Cesse, man, and crye noght soo.
The voyce of the pepill gose thee by
Thee aghe sette still and tente giffe to,
Here passez the prophite of mercye.
Thou doys amys.

CECUS   A, David Sone, to thee I crye,
The kyng of blisse!

PETRUS   Lorde, have mercy and late hym goo.
He can noght cesse of his crying;
He folowes us both to and froo.
Graunte hym his boone and his askyng,
And late hym wende.
We gette no reste or that this thyng
Be broght to ende.

JESUS   What wolde thou man I to thee dede?
In this present, telle oppynly.

CECUS   Lorde, my syght is fro me hydde,
Thou graunte me it, I crye mercy;
This wolde I have.

JESUS   Loke uppe nowe with chere blythely:
Thi faith shall thee save.

CECUS   Wirschippe and honnoure ay to thee
With all the service that can be done.
The kyng of blisse loved mote he be
That thus my sight hath sente so sone
And by grete skill.
I was are blynde as any stone,
I se at wille.

CLAUDUS   A, wele wer tham that evere had liffe,
Olde or yonge whedir it were,
Might welde ther lymmes withouten striffe;
Go with this mirthe that I see here
And contynewe,
For I am sette in sorowes sere
That ay ar newe.

Thou, Lord, that schope both nyght and day,
For thy mercy have mynde on me
And helpe me, Lorde, as thou wele may.
. . .
I may noght gang,
For I am lame, as men may se,
And has ben lang.

For wele I wote, as knowyn is ryffe,
Bothe dome and deffe thou grauntist tham grace,
And also the dede that thou havyst geven liff;
Therfore graunte me, Lord, in this place
My lymbis to welde.

JESUS   My man, ryse and caste the crucchys gode space
Her in the felde,

And loke in trouthe thou stedfast be
And folow me furth with gode menyng.

CLAUDUS   Lorde, lo, my crouchis whare thei flee
Als ferre as I may late tham flenge
With bothe myn hende;
That evere we have metyng
Now I defende.

For I was halte both lyme and lame,
And I suffered tene and sorowes inowe.
Aylastand Lord, loved be thi name,
I am als light as birde on bowe.
Ay be thou blist,
Such grace hast thou schewed to me,
Lorde, as thee list.

ZACHÉ   Sen firste this worlde was made of noght
And all thyng sette in equité,
Such ferly thyng was nevere non wroght,
As men this tyme may see with eye.
What it may mene?
I can noght saye what it may be,
Comforte or tene.

And cheffely of a prophete new
That mekill is profite, and that of latte,
Both day and nyght thai hym assewe,
Oure pepill same thurgh strete and gatte,
. . .
Oure olde lawes as nowe thei hatte
And his kepis yare.

Men fro deth to liffe he rayse,
The blynde and dome geve speche and sight,
Gretely therfore oure folke hym prayse
And folowis hym both day and nyght
Fro towne to towne.
Thay calle hym prophite be right,
As of renowne.

And yit I mervayle of that thyng,
Of puplicans sen prince am I
Of hym I cowthe have no knowyng.
Yf all I wolde have comen hym nere,
Arly and late,
For I am lawe, and of myne hight
Full is the gate.

Bot sen no bettir may befalle,
I thynke what beste is for to doo.
I am schorte, ye knawe wele all;
Therfore yone tre I will go too
And in it clyme.
Whedir he come or passe me fro,
I schall se hym.

A nobill tree, thou secomoure,
I blisse hym that thee on the erthe broght.
Now may I see both here and thore
That undir me hid may be noght;
Therfore in thee
Wille I bidde in herte and thought
Till I hym se.

Unto the prophete come to towne,
Her will I bide whatso befalle.

JESUS   Do, Zaché, do fast come downe.

ZACHÉ   Lorde, even at thi wille hastely I schall,
And tarie noght.
To thee on knes, Lord, here I shall
For synne I wroght

And welcome, prophete, trast and trewe,
With all the pepull that to thee langis.

JESUS   Zaché, thi service new
Schall make thee clene
Of all the wrong that thou haste done.

ZACHÉ   Lorde, I lette noght for this thrang
Her to say sone,

Me schamys with synne, but noght to mende;
I synne forsake: therfore I will
Halve my gud I have unspendid
Poure folke to geve it till,
This will I fayne;
Whom I begylyd to hym will I
Make asith agayne.

JESUS   Thy clere confessioun schall thee clense:
Thou may be sure of lastand lyffe.
Unto thi house, withouten offense,
Is graunted pees withouten striffe.
Farewele, Zaché.

ZACHÉ   Lord, thee lowte ay man and wiffe,
Blist myght thou be.

JESUS   My dere discipulis, beholde and see,
Unto Jerusalem we schall assende.
Man Sone schall ther betrayed be
And gevyn into his enmys hande
With grete dispitte.
Ther spitting on hym ther schall thei spende
And smertly smyte.

Petir, take this asse me fro
And lede it where thou are it toke.
I murne, I sigh, I wepe also
Jerusalem on thee to loke;
And so may thou
That evere thou thi kyng forsuke
And was untrewe.

For stone on stone schall none be lefte
But doune to the grounde all schal be caste;
Thy game, thi gle, al fro thee refte,
And all for synne that thou done hast,
Thou arte unkynde.
Agayne thi kyng thou hast trespast,
Have this in mynde.

PETRUS   Porter, take here thyn asse agayne;
At hande my Lorde comys on his fette.

JANITOR   Behalde, where all thi burgeis bayne
Comes with wirschippe hym to mete.
Therfore I will
Late hym abide here in this strete
And lowte hym till.

I BURGENSIS   Hayll, prophette, preved withouten pere,
Hayll, prince of pees schall evere endure,
Hayll, kyng comely, curteyse and clere,
Hayll, soverayne semely, to synfull sure,
To thee all bowes.
Hayll, Lorde lovely, oure cares may cure,
Hayll, kyng of Jewes.

II BURGENSIS   Hayll, florisshand floure that nevere shall fade,
Hayll, vyolett vernand with swete odoure,
Hayll, marke of myrthe, oure medecyne made,
Hayll, blossome bright, hayll, oure socoure.
Hayll, kyng comely.
Hayll, menskfull man, we thee honnoure
With herte frely.

III BURGENSIS   Hayll, David sone, doughty in dede,
Hayll, rose ruddy, hayll birrall clere,
Hayll, welle of welthe may make us mede;
Hayll, salver of oure sores sere,
We wirschippe thee.
Hayll, hendfull, with solas sere,
Welcome thou be.

IV BURGENSIS   Hayll, blisfull babe, in Bedleme borne,
Hayll, boote of all oure bittir balis,
Hayll, sege that schoppe bothe even and morne,
Hayll, talker trystefull of trew tales.
Hayll, comely knyght,
Hayll, of mode that most prevayles
To save the tyght.

V BURGENSIS   Hayll, dyamaunde with drewry dight,
Hayll, jasper gentill of Jury,
Hayll, lylly lufsome lemyd with lyght,
Hayll, balme of boote, moyste and drye,
To all has nede.
Hayll, barne most blist of mylde Marie,
Hayll, all oure mede.

VI BURGENSIS   Hayll, conquerour, hayll, most of myght,
Hayll, rawnsoner of synfull all,
Hayll, pytefull, hayll, lovely light,
Hayll to us welcome be schall.
Hayll, kyng of Jues,
Hayll, comely corse that we thee call
With mirthe that newes.

VII BURGENSIS   Hayll, sonne ay schynand with bright bemes,
Hayll, lampe of liff schall nevere waste,
Hayll, lykand lanterne luffely lemys,
Hayll, texte of trewthe the trew to taste.
Hayll, kyng and sire,
Hayll, maydens chylde that menskid hir most,
We thee desire.

VIII BURGENSIS   Hayll, domysman dredful, that all schall deme,
Hayll, quyk and dede that all schall lowte,
Hayll, whom worschippe moste will seme,
Hayll, whom all thyng schall drede and dowte.
We welcome thee,
Hayll, and welcome of all abowte
To owre cité.

     Tunc cantant.
pay attention; give good heed


Ransom; (see note)

(see note)

near (against); (see note)

fast (tied up)

foal; them


(see note)

Upon [it] to you



as you desire we wish
animal; [to be brought] to you
ease (convenience)
thither; (t-note)



plainly behold

freely (willingly)

[held in] common; (see note)

readily; (i.e., I say)

act authoritatively
livery (authority); (see note)
I command


permission; (t-note)

For a valid reason


trust well


Bethpage; (see note)

to be done (i.e., necessary)
(see note)
together to meet him


to you

shall not be hidden

[good] person

every condition
let them know

graciously shaped





heals; sick
dumb; deaf

loaves; (see note)
abundantly; (see note)
made wheat
gave life

(see note)
[old] laws; long
(i.e., fall . . . rise)

knew intimately
in order
expounds; feel (understand)
entirely (fully)
difficult [to understand]; (see note)

ere was identified
By Isaias

evil (sin)

know; (t-note)


matter understand [now]


wishes to offend

well ought



courteously greeted me
behalf began [to]

in comfort


soon; (see note)
As; promised

advise; prepared







own; accords (agrees) well
Which; (t-note)

joy; (see note)


Judah; gracious

mother’s lineage pay attention

conceit (intention)
delay; (t-note)




(see note); (t-note)
gracious one; ought
unison (singing); (see note)
(see note)



hearts good


Pay close attention
see; near
all together

well-rewarded; (see note)

Then they sing; (t-note)

music (singing)


Let him tell; quickly



before me

do [for you]

know; (t-note)
(i.e., explain)

en route


loud; (t-note)


pity; misfortune

healer; misery
eye (i.e., heal my blindness)

ought to sit; pay attention; (t-note)

amiss (wrong); (see note)


go [on his way]

for you did (performed)



praised might

wield (move); limbs



[line missing, see textual note]

(i.e., everywhere)
dumb; deaf

crutches a good distance
Here; field


hands; (t-note)


lame both limb and body
torment; enough

happy; bough

(see note)



put forward

[line missing, see textual note]


publicans since I am

low (short); of my height




abide; (t-note)



(i.e., I’m not intimidated by); throng

(i.e., I’m ashamed of my); (see note)
(see note); (t-note)
Half; goods; (t-note)




go up
Man’s Son


(see note)
before; took
(see note)

taken away

trespassed (sinned)

on foot

[prominent] citizens


proven [to be]; peer; (see note)

worthy; a sure help


sign of joy

exalted; (t-note)

strong; deeds
source of well-being; reward
healer; many

courteous [one]; special

help; miseries
man; formed
teller reliable

a disposition
imprisoned ones

diamond; ornamented
lily worthy of love gleaming
all who are needy

the one who pities


fair; lovely beams


(n.) judge; (v.) judge

Then they sing; (see note); (t-note)

Go To Play 26, The Conspiracy