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Play 29, The Trial before Cayphas and Anna


1 Yes, sir, and of the cleverness of that knave there is talk

2 My lord, was there no man to prevent or hinder us


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.

In this play, produced by the Bowers and Fletchers (makers of bows and arrows), Jesus now comes before the Sanhedrim: he will face the high priest, Caiphas, and Anna for the initial stage of his trial in an ecclesiastical court. The injustice effected here and throughout the trial scenes may, according to King, have been a deliberate reminder of legal irregularities in the trial of the popular Archbishop Scrope in 1405, when he was convicted of treason for his involvement in a rebellion against Henry IV and executed.1 The play, along with the other trial plays, illustrates the law applied as an instrument of injustice and tyranny, with which the people of York were not unfamiliar. The pageant begins with a speech by Caiphas, a bully and braggart who boasts about his power over lower clergy and the people as well as about his wisdom. He begins with a call for “Pees,” that is, silence, which indicates an intentionally confrontational approach to the audience, and it is clear that his pursuit of the “boy” (a pejorative designation) is vindictive and hardly a pursuit of true justice. The playtext presents considerable difficulty, especially on account of the irregularity of the verse, which more or less falls into quatrains and, after line 170, the long alliterative line within twelve-line stanzas. In its present state, the text must be seen as differing from the pageant described in the 1415 Ordo paginarum which appears to have focused on the Buffeting. Numerous corrections were made by later hands in the manuscript.

7 semely in seete. In the seat of judgment, as judge in an ecclesiastical court.

33 I have sente for that segge halfe for hethyng. As an unjust judge, Caiphas expects to enjoy the proceedings, which will involve the working out of a vindictiveness that will cloud all sense of partiality in his treatment of the accused. In line 41 he admits his “ire,” his predominant emotion and, since it causes him to be out of control, a sign of his unsympathetic character. He is a contrast to Jesus, and must have reflected this in his gestures, surely indecorous and directly opposed to the restraint displayed by his victim.

35–50 Caiphas’ charges against Jesus throughout include sorcery (he will name witchcraft outright at line 57) and sabbath-breaking in violation of the Mosaic law. He also believes that, by calling himself God’s Son, Jesus is committing an act of blasphemy and that, by founding a new sect, he is an apostate and heretic under the old law.

51–56 Anna tries to contradict Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God by pointing to his parents, Mary and Joseph, the latter an ordinary craftsman, a carpenter.

60 To take hym with a traye. They will use deception to catch Jesus, as in fact has already been done in the Betrayal scene. Legally, the case against Jesus involves malicious prosecution here and elsewhere in the Trial plays (see Tiner, “English Law,” pp. 145–46).

80 Do on dayntely and dresse me on dees. The dais, on which he is also being prepared for bed, serves as the location of his bishop’s throne. The bed must be nearby. After he sleeps and Anna leaves the set, the scene moves to Peter’s predicted denial of his Lord. This cannot be in the same location but rather where Jesus can be brought by, bound with ropes, as later he is being brought to the high priest’s palace. A flame will be required by which Peter hopes to be warmed in the cold night.

130a youre felawschippe. The manuscript has oure felawschip, but Peter remains an outsider, all the more so since he has deserted his Master, as Malcus points out upon his recognition of him.

137a hurled hym hardely. So Jesus will be treated in his captivity as, with his hands tied, he will be dragged from place to place and tortured. It will be Malcus who points out, at line 161, that Peter has thrice denied his Lord. Then Jesus will pass by for a short speech in which he confirms the denial, whereupon Peter must repent since he stands as a direct contrast to Judas, who is unable to do so. There is a problem with the time scheme here, since Peter’s recognition of what he has done in denying Jesus comes at the cock crow — i.e., morning — and otherwise in this pageant the action is taking place in the depths of the night.

169 full sadde sorowe sheris my harte. Peter’s sight of Jesus is stressed in the Northern Passion, which reports that at that point the apostle was “ful drery in his thoght” and went forth, weeping “sare” (1:75; Harleian manuscript), the stage action implied here. The lines that follow will be in the long alliterative line.

177 nowe of the nyght. Noon of the night, midnight, but again the nighttime here is in fact very indeterminate. The third and fourth soldiers must be outside, with the first and second inside the gate to the priests’ palace.

247 we myght als wele talke tille a tome tonne. The image of an empty barrel as inappropriately signifying Jesus, who is the silent one, noted for his patience. The soldiers are a hardened lot, while Jesus, as frequently noted, is presented as one who is silent “as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth” (Isaias 53:7). Woolf suggests the influence of the Meditations and related writings (English Mystery Plays, p. 257). At line 248 Anna says that he thinks Jesus is “witteles.” But, as Robinson notes, Anna’s charge is premature “since Jesus has not yet been asked any questions or given a chance to speak” (Studies in Fifteenth-Century Stagecraft, p. 183).

256–57 The interrogation begins in earnest, with the listing of charges. No lawyer is allowed for the defense. The scene may not have appeared very different from that depicted in an alabaster to which attention is called by Hildburgh, “English Alabaster Carvings,” pp. 77–78, pl. XVI.d; here Caiphas is seated on a throne, with hands raised as he interrogates Jesus, who has his hands tied before him. In the background are a man with a scroll of parchment and a number of others. Caiphas is wearing a miter, and is clean shaven.

266–69 One of the charges against him involves his prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, and his claim to be able to raise it up again in three days. See Matthew 26:61, Mark 14:58.

274–75 Jesus of Jewes will have joie / To spille all thy sporte for thy spellis. Beadle would amend to “we will have joie” (RB, p. 250), but the line is more likely ironic. Of course, as bullies the priests will have pleasure on account of what they are able to inflict on Jesus. See also line 288: “we schall have game or we goo.”

286 by Beliall bloode and his bonys. The blood and bones are relics of a demon, Belial, and represent the reverse of the cult of relics of saints.

292 Yf thou be Criste, Goddis Sonne, telle till us two. See Matthew 26:61, Mark 14:58. Jesus will not fall into the snare, but now will speak briefly, answering that Caiphas has made this statement himself. He is aware of the priests’ strategy to obtain a conviction and subsequently execution, as lines 312–18 demonstrate. But here the priests take his answer to be as good as a guilty plea. To Jesus’ complaint about the proceedings, Caiphas will only become irate, and the first soldier, calling him a beggar, chides him for “bourd[ing] with oure busshoppe” (line 327a).

331 Wherfore thou bourdes to brode for to bete me. It is presumably Caiphas, not the soldier who is the deceitful witness (“wronge witteness,” line 329), so Jesus turns the charge of jesting or playing (as “to brode” — i.e., too broadly — or hastily) back upon his accuser.

336 prelatis estatis. The arrogance of Caiphas and Anna would have resonated from time to time with York’s citizens, who frequently did not have good relations with the higher clergy associated with the Minster and the archbishop; York wills demonstrate that, as an index of their affection, citizens’ bequests were very generous to parish churches, while little was usually given by them to the Minster.

340 ye muste presente this boy unto Sir Pilate. The decision to execute someone would need to be made by the secular authorities, just as in late medieval England. There a person could not be condemned to die by the ecclesiastical authorities, though he could be turned over to the civil government to do the deed.

344 late men lede hym by nyght. Injustice is best hidden, rather than exposed to the public. This is another reason for proceeding speedily through the night with Jesus’ trial, in addition to the requirement imposed of reaching a conclusion before the Jewish Sabbath; see Caiphas’ orders to the soldiers at lines 388–89.

355 play popse. A “common game” in which a person is blindfolded, then is to guess who hit him; “until he rede him that smote him, he will be blindfold stille and hold in for the post of player” (Owst, Literature and Pulpit, p. 510, quoting MS. Bodley 649, fol. 82). In the Towneley Coliphizacio the game is called “A new play of Yoyll” (Play 21, line 498), but elsewhere it is called Hot Cockles (Owst, Literature and Pulpit, p. 510).

356–57 stole . . . hatir. The Buffeting. Jesus will sit on the stool, like a “foole” in this game (line 358), with the cloth (hatir) over his head so that he cannot see those who are hitting him with the palms of their hands in what the torturers consider a game. In this and other episodes of torture during the Passion, the iconographic evidence indicates that the tormentors surrounding Jesus should appear to be like animals, as in the Holkham Bible Picture Book (fol. 29v), to be consistent with Psalm 21 (AV 22), the psalm read in the liturgy on Good Friday: “Many dogs have encompassed me,” etc. The relevance of this psalm to illustrations of the Passion is discussed by Marrow, “Circumdederunt me multi.” Part of the torment at this time, according to the accounts in Matthew and Mark, involved being spit upon (and so too in later redactions of the story, as in Love’s Mirror, p. 168), and something of this may have been effected, though the text of this pageant does not specify it. For a depiction of spitting, see the Speculum humanae salvationis (Wilson and Wilson, Medieval Mirror, p. 178) and the discussion in Marrow, Passion Iconography, pp. 132–34.

369a Wassaile, wassaylle. As if raising a drink to offer a toast.

373 Quis te percussit. Garbled quotation in manuscript, as emended by Beadle on the basis of Luke 22:64.

376 stode in a foles state. The point has been missed by those who wish to speak of Christ as a “fool king,” for the pageant is in fact trying make clear that it is the tormentors who are the fools, not the Christ who is keeping his silence out of “hie pacience” (Love, Mirror, p. 168). His wits are hardly “awaye,” as the fourth soldier believes (line 375b).

395 daunce forth in the devyll way. Concluding Caiphas’ curse. The Dance of Death, leading to that which lies beyond the hellmouth — i.e., the realm of the fende.


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).

1 CAYPHAS. Entered by JC in Reg.

23b Tunc dicant Lorde. Added at right by JC in Reg.

73–74 At right in Reg, Hic caret (deleted); also, by JC: Hic For be we ones well wett / The better we will reste. At left: Hic.

86 MULIER. So RB; Reg, LTS: I Mulier.

128a that. Reg: written at end of line (deleted).

130a youre. So RB; Reg, LTS: oure.

145 than. So RB, LTS; Reg: thon.

152 Following line missing in Reg.

153 Reg: at right, in LH: Caret hic.

176 III MILES. So RB; staste (deleted), followed by stande in Reg.

178b I MILES. So RB, for gap in Reg.

178c III MILES. So RB; Reg: I Miles.

198 I MILES. Added by RB.

199 CAYPHAS. Reg: main scribe had written I Miles, altered by later scribe.

200–07 Reg: speech designations emended by LH; initially assignments to Cayphas and Anna had been reversed.

211 are buxom. This edition; Reg, LTS: have buxom; RB: have ben buxom.

213b I added, emendation in Reg.

214 And felawes. At end of previous line in Reg.

226a Reg: he deleted between to and take.


242 CAYPHAS. Originally IV Miles; emended by LH.

255 tere. So RB; Reg, LTS: stere.

261b sidis seere. So LTS, RB; Reg: sere sidis seere.

262 CAYPHAS. Reg: speech designation entered by JC.

272 CAYPHAS. Reg: main scribe had written IV Miles; emended by JC.

275 Reg: at right, Hic caret in LH.

304b Sertis, so I schall. In Reg written at beginning of next line.

307 Reg: at right, JC has written: Sir my reason is not to rehers. Jesus. Incipit of Jesus’ speech at line 308, hence cue to indicate that the speeches by Jesus and Anna, which follow in lines 308–11, are reversed.

362–64 Lineation as in LTS, RB, to correct defective order in Reg.

365 Reg repeats III Miles; this edition omits.

372 I saie. So RB; Reg, LTS: ysaie.

373 Quis te. So RB, following Köbling; Reg: in juste; LTS: Injuste.
thou. So RB; LTS: you.

394a CAYPHAS. So RB; Scribe B: Anna, corrected by JC, but Anna retained by LTS.

395 Speech designation Cayphas by Scribe B; this edition omits.


Footnote 1 King, “Contemporary Cultural Models,” p. 212.

The Bowers and Flecchers















































































CAYPHAS   Pees, bewshers, I bid no jangelyng ye make,
And sese sone of youre sawes and se what I saye,
And trewe tente unto me this tyme that ye take,
For I am a lorde lerned lelly in youre lay.

By connyng of clergy and casting of witte
Full wisely my wordis I welde at my will,
So semely in seete me semys for to sitte,
And the lawe for to lerne you and lede it by skill,
Right sone.

What wyte so will oght with me
Full frendly in feyth am I foune;
Come of, do tyte, late me see
Howe graciously I shall graunte hym his bone.

Ther is nowder lorde ne lady lerned in the lawe,
Ne bisshoppe ne prelate that preved is for pris,
Nor clerke in the courte that connyng will knawe
With wisdam may were hym in worlde is so wise.

I have the renke and the rewle of all the ryall,
To rewle it by right als reasoune it is;
All domesmen on dese awe for to dowte me
That hase thaym in bandome in bale or in blis;
Wherfore takes tente to my tales and lowtis unto me.

And therfore, sir knyghtis . . .

         Tunc dicunt:

[MILITES]            Lorde

[CAYPHAS]   I charge you chalange youre rightis
To wayte both be day and by nyghtis
Of the bringyng of a boy into bayle.

I MILES   Yis, lorde, we schall wayte if any wonderes walke,
And freyne howe youre folkis fare that are furth ronne.

II MILES   We schall be bayne at youre bidding and it not to balke
Yf thei presente you that boy in a bande boune.

ANNA   Why, syr, and is ther a boy that will noght lowte to youre biding?

CAYPHAS   Ya, sir, and of the coriousenesse of that karle ther is carping,1
But I have sente for that segge halfe for hethyng

ANNA   What wondirfull werkis workis that wighte?

CAYPHAS   Seke men and sori he sendis siker helyng,
And to lame men, and blynde he sendis ther sight.

Of croked crepillis that we knawe
Itt is to here grete wondering
How that he helis thame all on rawe,
And all thurgh his false happenyng.

I am sorie of a sight that egges me to ire;
Oure lawe he brekis with all his myght,
That is moste his desire.

Oure Sabott day he will not safe
But is aboute to bringe it downe
And therfore sorowe muste hym have.
May he be kacched in felde or towne
For his false stevyn.
He defamys fowly the Godhed
And callis hymselffe God Sone of hevene.

ANNA   I have goode knowlache of that knafe.
Marie me menys, his modir highte,
And Joseph his fadir, as God me safe,
Was kidde and knowen wele for a wrighte.

But o thyng me mervayles mekill overe all
Of diverse dedis that he has done.

CAYPHAS   With wicchecrafte he fares withall,
Sir, that schall ye se full sone.

Oure knyghtis thai are furth wente
To take hym with a traye;
By this I holde hym shente.
He cannot wende away.

ANNA   Wolde ye, sir, take youre reste,
This day is comen on hande,
And with wyne slake youre thirste?
Than durste I wele warande

Ye schulde have tithandis sone
Of the knyghtis that are gone
And howe that thei have done
To take hym by a trayne,

And putte all thought away
And late youre materes reste.

CAYPHAS   I will do as ye saie,
Do gette us wyne of the best.

I MILES   My lorde, here is wyne
  that will make you to wynke;
Itt is licoure full delicious,
  my lorde, and you like.
Wherfore I rede drely
  a draughte that ye drynke,
For in this contré, that we knawe,
  iwisse ther is none slyke,
Wherfore we counsaile you,
  this cuppe saverly for to kisse.

CAYPHAS   Do on dayntely and dresse me on dees
And hendely hille on me happing,
And warne all wightis to be in pees,
For I am late layde unto napping.

ANNA   My lorde, with youre leve, and it like you, I passe.

CAYPHAS   Adiew be unte, as the manere is.

MULIER   Sir knyghtys, do kepe this boy in bande,
For I will go witte what it may mene,
Why that yone wighte was hym folowand
Erly and late, morne and ene.

He will come nere, he will not lette;
He is a spie, I warand, full bolde.

III MILES   It semes by his sembland he had levere be sette
By the fervent fire to fleme hym fro colde.

MULIER   Ya, but and ye wiste as wele as I
What wonders that this wight has wrought,
And thurgh his maistir sorssery
Full derfely schulde his deth be bought.

IV MILES   Dame, we have hym nowe at will
That we have longe tyme soughte;
Yf othir go by us still,
Therfore we have no thought.

MULIER   Itt were grete skorne that he schulde skape
Withoute he hadde resoune and skill,
He lokis lurkand like an nape;
I hope I schall haste me hym tille.

Thou caytiffe, what meves thee stande
So stabill and stille in thi thoght?
Thou hast wrought mekill wronge in londe
And wondirfull werkis haste thou wroght.

A, lorell, a leder of lawe,
To sette hym and suye has thou soght.
Stande furth and threste in yone thrawe,
Thy maistry thou bryng unto noght.

Wayte nowe, he lokis like a brokke,
Were he in a bande for to bayte,
Or ellis like an nowele in a stok
Full prevaly his pray for to wayte.

PETRUS   Woman, thy wordis and thy wynde thou not waste,
Of his company never are I was kende.
Thou haste thee mismarkid, trewly be traste;
Wherfore of thi misse thou thee amende.

MULIER   Than gaynesaies thou here the sawes that thou saide,
How he schulde clayme to be callid God Sonne,
And with the werkis that he wrought
Whils he walketh in this flodde,
Baynly at oure bydding alway to be bonne.

PETRUS   I will consente to youre sawes;
  what schulde I saye more?
For women are crabbed,
  that comes them of kynde.
But I saye as I firste saide,
  I sawe hym nevere are;
But as a frende of youre felawschippe
  schall ye me aye fynde.

MALCHUS   Herke, knyghtis, that are knawen
  in this contré as we kenne,
Howe yone boy with his boste
  has brewed mekill bale:
He has forsaken his maistir
  before yone womenne.
But I schall preve to you pertly
  and telle you my tale.

I was presente with pepull
  whenne prese was full prest
To mete with his maistir,
  with mayne and with myght,
And hurled hym hardely
  and hastely hym arreste,
And in bandis full bittirly
  bande hym sore all that nyght.

And of tokenyng of trouth schall I telle yowe,
Howe yone boy with a brande
  brayede me full nere
(Do move of thez materes emelle yowe),
For swiftely he swapped of my nere.

His maistir with his myght helyd me all hole,
That by no syne I cowthe see no man cowthe it witten
And than badde hym bere pees in every ilke bale,
For he that strikis with a swerde with a swerde schall be streken.

Latte se whedir grauntest thou gilte.
Do speke oon and spare not to telle us
Or full faste I schall fonde thee flitte,
The soth but thou saie here emelle us.

Come of, do tyte, late me see nowe, quickly
In savyng of thyselffe fro schame,
. . .
Ya, and also for beryng of blame.

PETRUS   I was nevere with hym in werke that he wroght
In worde nor in werke, in will nor in dede;
I knawe no corse that ye have hidir brought,
In no courte of this kith, if I schulde right rede.

MALCHUS   Here, sirs, howe he sais and has forsaken
His maistir to this woman here twyes,
And newly oure lawe has he taken;
Thus hath he denyed hym thryes.

JESUS   Petir, Petir, thus saide I are
When thou saide thou wolde abide with me
In wele and woo, in sorowe and care,
Whillis I schulde thries forsaken be.

PETRUS   Allas, the while that I come here,
That evere I denyed my Lorde in quarte,
The loke of his faire face so clere
With full sadde sorowe sheris my harte.

III MILES   Sir knyghtis, take kepe of this karll and be konnand;
Because of Sir Cayphas we knowe wele his thoght.
He will rewarde us full wele, that dare I wele warand,
Whan he wete of oure werkis how wele we have wroght.

IV MILES   Sir, this is Cayphas halle here at hande;
Go we boldly with this boy that we have here broght.

III MILES   Nay, sirs, us muste stalke to that stede and full still stande,
For itt is nowe of the nyght, yf thei nappe oght.
Say, who is here?

I MILES            Say, who is here?

III MILES                                       I, a frende,
Well knawyn in this contré for a knyght.

II MILES   Gose furthe, on youre wayes may yee wende,
For we have herbered enowe for tonyght.

I MILES   Gose abakke, bewscheres, ye both are to blame,
To bourde whenne oure busshopp is boune to his bedde.

IV MILES   Why, sir, it were worthy to welcome us home;
We have gone for this warlowe and we have wele spedde.

II MILES   Why, who is that?

II MILES                                The Jewes kyng, Jesus by name.

I MILES   A, yee be welcome, that dare I wele wedde,
My lorde has sente for to seke hym.

IV MILES                                     Loo, se here the same.

II MILES   Abidde as I bidde and be noght adreed.
My lorde, my lorde, my lorde, here is layke, and you list.

CAYPHAS   Pees, loselles, leste ye be nyse?

I MILES   My lorde, it is wele and ye wiste.

CAYPHAS   What, nemen us no more, for it is twyes.

Thou takist non hede to the haste
  that we have here on honde;
Go frayne howe oure folke faris
  that are furth ronne.

II MILES   My lorde, youre knyghtis has kared
  as ye thame commaunde,
And thei have fallen full faire.

CAYPHAS                           Why, and is the foole fonne?

I MILES   Ya, lorde, thei have brought a boy in a bande boun.

CAYPHAS   Where nowe, Sir Anna, that is one and able to be nere?

ANNA   My lorde, with youre leve me behoves to be here.

CAYPHAS   A, sir, come nere and sitte we bothe in fere.

ANNA   Do, sir, bidde tham bring in that boy that is bune.

CAYPHAS   Pese now, Sir Anna, be stille and late hym stande,
And late us grope yf this gome be grathly begune.

ANNA   Sir, this game is begune of the best;
Nowe hadde he no force for to flee thame.

CAYPHAS   Nowe, in faithe, I am fayne he is fast;
Do lede in that ladde, late me se than.

II MILES   Lo, sir, we have saide to oure sovereyne,
Gose nowe and suye to hymselfe for the same thyng.

III MILES   Mi lorde, to youre bidding we are buxom and bayne,
Lo, here is the belschere broght that ye bad bring.

IV MILES   My lorde, fandis now to fere hym.

CAYPHAS                                 Nowe I am fayne,
And felawes, faire mott ye fall for youre fynding.

ANNA   Sir, and ye trowe thei be trewe
  withowten any trayne,
Bidde thayme telle you the tyme of the takyng.

CAYPHAS   Say, felawes, howe wente ye so nemely by nyght?

III MILES   My lorde, was there no man to marre us ne mende us.2

IV MILES   My lorde, we had lanternes and light,
And some of his company kende us.

ANNA   But saie, howe did he, Judas?

III MILES                              A, sir, full wisely and wele:
He markid us his maistir emang all his men
And kyssid hym full kyndely his comforte to kele
Bycause of a countenaunce that karll for to kenne.

CAYPHAS   And thus did he his devere?

IV MILES                                    Ya, lorde, evere ilke a dele:
He taughte us to take hym
  the tyme aftir tenne.

ANNA   Nowe, be my feith, a faynte frende myght he ther fynde.

III MILES   Sire, ye myght so have saide
  hadde ye hym sene thenne.

IV MILES   He sette us to the same that he solde us
And feyned to be his frende as a faytour;
This was the tokenyng before that he tolde us.

CAYPHAS   Nowe, trewly, this was a trante of a traytour.

ANNA   Ya, be he traytour or trewe geve we never tale,
But takes tente at this tyme and here what he telles.

CAYPHAS   Now sees that oure howsolde be holden here hole
So that none carpe in case but that in court dwellis.

III MILES   A, lorde, this brethell hath brewed moche bale.

CAYPHAS   Therfore schall we spede us to spere of his spellis.
Sir Anna, takis hede nowe and here hym.

ANNA   Say, ladde, liste thee noght lowte to a lorde?

IV MILES   No, sir, with youre leve, we schall lere hym.

CAYPHAS   Nay, sir, noght so, no haste.
Itt is no burde to bete bestis that are bune,
And therfore with fayrenes firste we vill hym fraste
And sithen forther hym furth as we have fune.
And telle us som tales, truly to traste.

ANNA   Sir, we myght als wele talke
  tille a tome tonne.
I warande hym witteles
  or ellis he is wrang wrayste,
Or ellis he waitis to wirke
  als he was are wonne.

III MILES   His wonne was to wirke mekill woo
And make many maystries emelle us.

KAYPHAS   And some schall he graunte or he goo,
Or muste yowe tente hym and telle us.

IV MILES   Mi lorde, to witte the wonderes that he has wroght,
For to telle you the tente it wolde oure tonges tere.

KAYPHAS   Sen the boy for his boste is into bale broght,
We will witte or he wende how his werkis were.

III MILES   Oure Sabott day we saye
  saves he right noght
That he schulde halowe and holde
  full dingne and full dere.

IV MILES   No, sir, in the same feste
  als we the sotte soughte,
He salved thame of sikenesse
  on many sidis seere.

CAYPHAS   What than, makes he thame grathely to gange?

III MILES   Ya, lorde, even forthe in every ilke a toune
He thame lechis to liffe after lange.

CAYPHAS   A, this makes he by the myghtis of Mahounde.

IV MILES   Sir, oure stiffe Tempill, that made is of stone,
That passes any paleys of price for to preyse,
And it were doune to the erth and to the gronde gone,
This rebalde he rowses hym rathely to rayse.

III MILES   Ya, lorde, and othir wonderis he workis grete wone,
And with his lowde lesyngis he losis oure layes.

CAYPHAS   Go, lowse hym, and levis than and late me allone,
For myselfe schall serche hym and here what he saies.

ANNA   Herke, Jesus of Jewes will have joie
To spille all thy sporte for thy spellis.

CAYPHAS   Do meve, felawe, of thy frendis that fedde thee beforne,
And sithen, felowe, of thi fare forther will I freyne.
Do neven us lightly — his langage is lorne.

III MILES   My lorde, with youre leve, hym likis for to layne,
But and he schulde scape skatheles it wer a full skorne,
For he has mustered emonge us full mekil of his mayne.

IV MILES   Malkus, youre man, lord, that had his ere schorne,
This harlotte full hastely helid it agayne.

CAYPHAS   What, and liste hym be nyse for the nonys,
And heres howe we haste to rehete hym.

ANNA   Nowe, by Beliall bloode and his bonys,
I holde it beste to go bete hym.

CAYPHAS   Nay, sir, none haste, we schall have game or we goo.
Boy, be not agaste if we seme gaye;
I conjure thee kyndely and comaunde thee also
By grete God that is liffand and laste schall ay,
Yf thou be Criste, Goddis Sonne, telle till us two.

JESUS   Sir, thou says it thiselffe, and sothly I saye
That I schall go to my Fadir that I come froo
And dwelle with hym wynly in welthe allway.

CAYPHAS   Why, fie on thee, faitoure untrewe.
Thy fadir haste thou fowly defamed,
Now nedis us no notes of newe,
Hymselfe with his sawes has he schamed.

ANNA   Nowe nedis nowdir wittenesse ne counsaille to call,
But take his sawes as he saieth in the same stede:
He sclaunderes the Godhed and greves us all,
Wherfore he is wele worthy to be dede.
And therfore, sir, saies hym the sothe.

CAYPHAS                   Sertis, so I schall.
Heres thou not, harlott?
  Ille happe on thy hede.
Aunswere here grathely to grete and to small,
And reche us oute rathely som resoune, I rede.

JESUS   My reasouns are not to reherse,
Nor they that myght helpe me are noght here nowe.

ANNA   Say, ladde, liste thee make verse?
Do telle on, belyff, late us here nowe.

JESUS   Sir, if I saie the sothe, thou schall not assente
But hyndir or haste me hynge.
I prechid wher pepull was moste in present
And no poynte in privité to olde ne yonge.
And also in youre Tempill I tolde myne entente,
Ye myght have tane me that tyme for my tellyng
Wele bettir than bringe me with brondis unbrente,
And thus to noye me be nyght and also for nothyng.

CAYPHAS   For nothyng? Losell, thou lies,
Thy wordis and werkis will have a wrekyng.

JESUS   Sire, sen thou with wrong so me wreyes,
Go, spere thame that herde of my spekyng.

CAYPHAS   A, this traitoure has tened me
  with tales that he has tolde,
Yitt hadde I nevere such hething
  as of a harlott as hee.

I MILES   What, fye on thee, beggar,
  who made thee so bolde
To bourde with oure busshoppe?
  Thy bane schall I bee.

JESUS   Sir, if my wordis be wrange or werse than thou wolde,
A wronge wittenesse I wotte nowe ar ye,
And if my sawes be soth thei mon be sore solde,
Wherfore thou bourdes to brode for to bete me.

II MILES   My lorde, will ye here, for Mahounde?
No more now for to neven that it nedis.

CAYPHAS   Gose, dresse you and dyng ye hym doune,
And deffe us no more with his dedis.

ANNA   Nay, sir, than blemysshe yee prelatis estatis;
Ye awe to deme no man to dede for to dynge.

CAYPHAS   Why, sir, so were bettir than be in debate;
Ye see the boy will noght bowe for oure bidding.

ANNA   Nowe, sir, ye muste presente this boy unto Sir Pilate,
For he is domysman nere and nexte to the king,
And late hym here alle the hole, how ye hym hate
And whedir he will helpe hym or haste hym to hyng.

I MILES   My lorde, late men lede hym by nyght,
So schall ye beste skape oute o skornyng.

II MILES   My lorde, it is nowe in the nyght;
I rede ye abide tille the mornyng.

CAYPHAS   Bewschere, thou sais the beste, and so schall it be,
But lerne yone boy bettir to bende and bowe.

I MILES   We schall lerne yone ladde, be my lewté,
For to loute unto ilke lorde like unto yowe.

CAYPHAS   Ya, and felawes, wayte that he be ay wakand.

II MILES                       Yis, lorde, that warant will wee.
Itt were a full nedles note to bidde us nappe nowe.

III MILES   Sertis, will ye sitte, and sone schall ye see
Howe we schall play popse for the pages prowe.

IV MILES   Late see, who stertis for a stole?
For I have here a hatir to hyde hym.

I MILES   Lo, here is one full fitte for a foole;
Go gete it, and sette thee beside hym.

II MILES   Nay, I schall sette it myselffe and frusshe hym also.
Lo, here a shrowde for a shrewe, and of shene shappe.

III MILES   Playes faire in feere, and ther is one and ther is — two;
I schall fande to feste it with a faire flappe,
And ther is — three, and there is — four.
Say, nowe, with an nevill happe,
Who negheth thee nowe? Not o worde, no.

IV MILES   Dose noddill on hym with neffes
That he noght nappe.

I MILES   Nay, nowe to nappe is no nede,
Wassaille, wassaylle!
  I warande hym wakande.

II MILES   Ya, and bot he bettir bourdis can byde,
Such buffettis schall he be takande.

III MILES   Prophet, I saie, to be oute of debate,
Quis te percussit, man? Rede giffe thou may.

IV MILES   Those wordes are in waste,
  what wenes thou he wate?
It semys by his wirkyng
  his wittes were awaye.

I MILES   Nowe late hym stande as he stode
  in a foles state,
For he likis noght this layke,
  my liffe dare I laye.

II MILES   Sirs, us muste presente this page to Ser Pilate,
But go we firste to oure soverayne
  and see what he saies.

III MILES   My lorde, we have bourded with this boy
And holden hym full hote emelle us.

CAYPHAS   Thanne herde ye some japes of joye?

IV MILES   The devell have the worde, lorde, he wolde telle us.

ANNA   Sir, bidde belyve, thei goo and bynde hym agayne
So that he skape noght, for that were a skorne.

CAYPHAS   Do telle to Sir Pilate oure pleyntes all pleyne
And saie, this ladde with his lesyngis has oure lawes lorne;
And saie this same day muste he be slayne
Because of Sabott day that schal be tomorne.
And saie that we come oureselffe for certayne,
And for to fortheren this fare, fare yee beforne.

I MILES   Mi lorde, with youre leve, us muste wende,
Oure message to make as we maye.

CAYPHAS   Sir, youre faire felawschippe
  we betake to the fende.
Goose onne nowe and daunce forth in the devyll way.
good sirs; (t-note)
cease; sayings (talking)
full attention
truly; law

skill; applying of intelligence
seemly; seat; seems; (see note)

man; have ought [to do]

off, do quickly

proved; value

perplex him

sovereignty; kingdom

judges; dais ought to fear
give reverence (bow)


fellow; misery

keep watch; are about
question; run out

bonds bound (tied up)

bow (submit)

man partly; enjoyment; (see note)


Sick; unhappy; gives secure healing; (see note)

heals; in order

urges; anger


caught; field

knave; (see note)
mean; is called
recognized; carpenter



gone forth
trickery; (see note)

dare; warrant (promise)

tidings soon


matters (business)



advise earnestly

nothing else like it


graciously; dais; (see note)
kindly cover; with bedclothes
(i.e., I am ready to sleep)

am going

unto you

bonds; (t-note)


appearance; wished to; seated


through; sorcery

slip by


looks [as if] lurking; ape

moves you to

great; land

beggar (fool); expositor
accompany; sue
push into; crowd
great deeds

bonds (tied up); bait (in sport)
owl; stump
privily; prey

ere; known
mistaken; be assured

contradict; words

Willingly; bound (loyal)



(see note); (t-note)

great misery

demonstrate; openly

crowd; urgently [desired]

dragged; fiercely; (see note)


speak; among
cut off; ear

healed; whole
sign; recognize
bade; every bad situation; (t-note)
struck down

you admit your guilt
(i.e., make you flee)

[line missing, see note]
bearing; (t-note)

body (person)



(i.e., denied)


pierces (cuts); (see note)

care; knave; clever


place; (t-note)
(i.e., midnight); sleep; (see note)



(i.e., taken in enough)

Go away
jest; bishop; gone to



sport, if you wish

are you fools

call; twice

heed; urgency
at hand
ask; fare
forth run

into good luck


rope bound; (t-note)

near; (t-note)




interrogate; game; properly


glad; captured


humble; obedient; (t-note)
gentleman; bade [us]

seek; frighten

(i.e., blessings on you); (t-note)

circumstances; capture



cool (detract from)
rascal; know


each and every way
ten o’clock

weak (poor) friend




(i.e., give we no thought)
pay attention; hear

household; kept together

worthless fellow; much sorrow

inquire; sayings

bow before

teach; (t-note)

sport; beat; tied up
will; question
proceed; further; found

(see note)
empty barrel

(i.e., defective of mind)

ere accustomed

(powerful) deeds

tell [us] before
attend to

begin to know
tenth; tear out; (t-note)

boasting; (see note)
explore (know) ere

keep holy; observe
worthy; precious

cured; sickness
on all sides; (t-note)

truly to go; (t-note)

heals; [being] long [dead]


strong; (see note)
palace; praise
If it were
scoundrel; boasts; quickly; raise

in great quantity
deceptions; undermines laws

loosen [his bonds]; leave then; (t-note)

(see note)
mar; words; (t-note)

move (speak); kin
business; ask
tell; quickly; ability to speak; gone

remain silent


hasten; rebuke

(see note)

fearful; seem impressive [in dress]
living; (i.e., everlastingly)
(see note)

worthily; state of bliss

(i.e., nothing more)



give; quickly; (t-note)

do you desire to
quickly; hear

slander; hasten; [to] hang


swords unsheathed


inquire of; heard




be expensive
jests too hastily; (see note)

to say; is needed

deafen; deeds

dishonor; authority (dignity); (see note)
ought; judge; in order to beat [him]


(see note)
judge near
hear; whole

(see note)
escape from scorn (scandal)



watch; always awake

needless advice

a game (see note); [worthless] man’s benefit

goes; stool; (see note)
cloth (rag), hood

shroud; evil one; of fair

attempt to make fast

evil; (t-note)
comes near

hit; fists
So that he doesn’t fall asleep

(see note)

unless; jests; abide

Who smote you; Answer if; (see note); (t-note)

what do you think he understands
are gone

fool’s estate; (see note)

pursue him vigorously among

jests (jokes)


complaints; plainly

advance; matter

(see note); (t-note)

Go To Play 30, The First Trial before Pilate