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Play 31, The Trial before Herod


1 Peace, you reprobates and brawlers, in this broad space surrounded

2 Against giants ungentle have we joined (gone to battle) with weapons

3 This simpleton claims that he may assign men to [their] reward

4 Lines 261–64: If you utter praise concerning yourself, / Likewise success will be granted; / If you speak deceptively to yourself, / Poison, dregs, and war will follow


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.

The trial before Herod Antipas is told only in Luke 23:6–12, where the most significant detail is Jesus’ refusal to speak and the subsequent Mocking, after which he will be sent back to Pilate. The story appears in expanded form in the Gospel of Nicodemus and the Stanzaic Life, and was reputed to have been illustrated in a window in Christ Church on King’s Square along the pageant route.1 An extant example in York glass from c. 1420–30 is present in the choir of the Minster,2 and the subject appears elsewhere, as in the Holkham Bible Picture Book, fol. 30.3 The play, presumably from around the same date as the other plays written in the long alliterative line, is thus undoubtedly later than the defective and decidedly unrevealing entry in the Ordo paginarum, and only in the second list, also in the York Memorandum Book A/Y, is a play of the Presentation of Christ before Herod given to the “Lyttesters” or Dyers.4 The extant text, characterized by irregularity of the verse and stanza forms,5 presents many difficulties, as do the other plays written in the long alliterative line.

1–26 The ranting introduction by the tyrant, perhaps here confused with his father Herod the Great who was the villain of the Massacre of the Innocents, should by now be recognized as a familiar formula. It is again a mock challenge to the audience. In line 4, he brandishes a sword, specified at line 255 as the curved falchion that would have been considered the sign of a Middle Eastern tyrant. However, this iconography is not necessarily typical. For example, the enthroned and crowned king in the Holkham Bible Picture Book, fol. 30v, holds a conventional ceremonial sword in place of a scepter, and is pointing at Jesus with his left hand. His extended index finger is a gesture signifying accusation, and his crossed legs suggest a figure whose personality is out of balance, as also evident in this introductory passage in the pageant.

36 ilke a renke . . . gone to ther reste. Designating the time as during the night; all are asleep, and Herod will shortly call for his nightcap, a glass of wine, before going to “wynke” (line 41). He will drink after line 42, as the stage direction indicates.

43 unlase you. “Points,” or laces, were used for closing garments and shoes.

52–53 Ser Satan, oure sire, / And Lucifer. Invoked, along with Mohammed, by characters to show their moral and spiritual allegiances. Significant for understanding the dualism of medieval popular religion.

55–60 While Herod sleeps, the soldiers arrive with Jesus in the platea before a representation of a gate on the wagon stage. The Register lacks stage directions, but, as has been seen above, they are frequently embedded in the dialogue. The soldiers’ purpose is to deliver Jesus so that Herod will do as expected — i.e., condemn him to death.

74 sloppe. Herod’s loose outer garment needs adjustment; in the fifteenth century this normally reached below the knees. The garment specified here could be expected to have been colorful and to have displayed the ingenuity of the sponsoring guild.

96 nemys hym no more. Pilate and Herod had been in conflict, as the biblical account indicates (Luke 23:12). Note also Herod’s hope that Pilate will recognize his greater authority (line 131).

109–19 Having allowed Jesus and Pilate’s knights to enter, Herod is only willing to deal with Jesus if there is opportunity for entertainment. When he discovers his name, he recognizes that this man is one whom he is indeed happy to see, and he anticipates the “games” that he believes will begin. Luke’s gospel indicates that Herod was anxious to see a miracle, and this aspect of the story was expanded in later accounts. The Mirour of Mans Salvacioune says that Herod “was fulle gladde, hoping of thee [i.e., Jesus] some mervelle to se, / Holdyng a fals wikked nygromancere thee to be” (lines 4617–18, p. 212).

142 I hope we gete some harre hastely at hande. Signifying Herod’s wish to learn something, even something useful (actionable intelligence?).

145–46 Saie, beene-venew . . . parle remoy. Herod speaks in a parody of diplomatic French.

160 bryngis ye hym nygh. Embedded stage direction. Now Jesus will be brought directly to the king, before whom he will stand silently. This will lead to the accusation that he is a “sotte,” or fool. There will be little courtesy in Herod’s court. In this pageant particularly, Jesus’ silence will be the source of frustration and a motive for the subsequent action: the further elaboration of Jesus as the silent sufferer being led, at first to be sure from place to place, but eventually as a sheep, in this case the Agnus Dei, to the slaughter.

184 He knawes noght the course of a kyng. Herod excuses Jesus, who has failed to kneel before him, on the basis of his presumed ignorance.

201–13 For the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, and twelve baskets of leftovers, see Matthew 14:14–21 and Mark 6:35–44. The two dukes, as representatives of Caiphas and Anna, are the accusers.

239–46 Herod, having been frustrated by Jesus’ unwillingness to kneel or otherwise acknowledge his authority, explodes into inexplicable nonsense, including words that mimic the sound of Anglo-Norman French. Smith wrote, “There seems little attempt at sense (purposely) in this jumble of French and Latin” (York Plays, p. 300).

251 it astonys hym, youre steven is so store. Store, from Old Norse stórr, “great, huge.” Embedded stage direction. Herod has been shouting, indeed a “byg blure” (line 253).

254 be Mahoundes bloode. An oath, but one not used by Englishmen! Swearing by Christ’s wounds was common.

261–64 Si loqueris . . . parantur. Unidentified quotation.

267–68 Apparently naming the dukes as Dewcus and Udins and identifying their sovereign Herod, but otherwise a parody of French.

275–76 as a knave cledde, / Wherto calle ye hym a kyng? In his dress Jesus does not appear to be an aristocrat, and thus he cannot convince Herod that he is a royal and divine king, as he alleges to be. See Herod’s statement in line 284: “Grete lordis aught to be gay” — i.e., impressively dressed. As he is dragged about after his arrest, he will appear more and more like a victim and less and less like one who might indeed be the Savior of the world. In lines 279–83 the notion is put forward that Jesus is intimidated by the rich array of Herod, but in no sense would he have mistaken the tyrant Herod and his men for angels!

337 clothe hym in white. See Luke 23:11: “And Herod with his army set him at nought, and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him back to Pilate.” “White garment” (Vulgate: vesta alba) is a mistranslation of the Greek text, which specified “gorgeous apparel.” Compare the Northern Passion: “He sufferd all thaire werkes ill, / And no word wald he say thar till. / Than Herod gert for grete despite / Cleth him all in clathes white” (1:101, Harleian manuscript, lines 998a–1000). At line 355 the article of clothing is called a “haterell,” probably a generic term for a gown, and at line 357 a “joppon,” the latter term likely to have been chosen for alliteration rather than accuracy in reporting the actual costume chosen. In any case, he will be returned to the king thus arrayed at line 369.

371a crye in my courte. Crying out for anyone who knows anything against Jesus as a way of assuring fairness in the trial, such as it is.

382–83 saie to Pilate / We graunte hym our frenschippe. See Luke 23:12: “And Herod and Pilate were made friends that same day.”

399 We fynde no defaute hym to slee. Ultimately Herod must admit that the charges against Jesus are inadequate to condemn him.

401 rollis of recorde. Tiner explains that this is “a common-law technical phrase referring to the written documents of a court” which “contain previous judgments as well as evidence touching the case at hand” (“English Law,” p. 145).

411–13 Bidde hym wirke as he will . . . motte he thee. Herod’s dismissal of Jesus.

424 Daunce on, in the devyll way. Compare Caiphas’ similar concluding curse in Play 29, line 395.


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 REX. So LTS, RB; Reg omits.

11 Yae. Follows at end of previous line in Reg.

14–15 Lines reversed in Reg.

33 to. So RB; Reg, LTS: in.

42, s.d. Tunc bibet Rex. Reg: stage direction added by JC.

94b heynde. Corrected in Reg (y written over u).

111 were. So LTS, RB; Reg omits.

189 deffis. So RB; Reg, LTS: dethis.

190 Reg: Say deynis thou not whare. Intrusion from previous line; corrected RB.

196 tell hyme. Reg: interlined in hand of JC.

199 This. So LTS, RB; Reg: Thus.
menyes. This edition; in Reg, n altered to y by LH; RB: mennes.

201 II DUX. Reg: inserted by LH.

202 two. Reg: added over an erasure by a LH.

214 that. Reg: that that.

215 REX. Replaces deleted I Dux in Reg.

218 light. Alteration by LH in Reg; originally lith.

256–60 Lineation follows LTS.

276–77 Lineation follows LTS.

308 droune. So RB; Reg: drawe; LTS: drawe [sonne].
Reg: at left, by LH: Nota.

310 roune. So RB; LTS: ronne.
Reg: at right, by LH: Hic.

319 Reg: at left, by LH: Nota.
Reg: at right: hic.

329 Reg: at right, by LH: Nota.
Reg: at left: Pylatus.

333a AL CHYLDER. So RB; implied only in Reg, LTS.

334 Reg: to right, by LH: Nota.

347a AL CHILDER. Not distinguished as speech tag in Reg, LTS.

355 hende. So RB; Reg, LTS: hente.

375 Reg: at right, by LH: Post Rex.

390 rathely. So LTS, RB; Reg: yathely.


Footnote 1 Gent, Antient and Modern History, p. 188.

Footnote 2 YA, p. 73.

Footnote 3 See also, for example, Schiller, Iconography, 2:63, fig. 218.

Footnote 4 REED: York, 1:26.

Footnote 5 See RB, pp. 447–48.

The Lytsteres





















































































REX   Pes, ye brothellis and browlys, in this broydenesse inbrased,1
And freykis that are frendely your freykenesse to frayne,
Youre tounges fro tretyng of triffillis be trased,
Or this brande that is bright schall breste in youre brayne.
Plextis for no plasis, but platte you to this playne,
And drawe to no drofyng, but dresse you to drede,
With dasshis.

Traveylis noght as traytours that tristis in trayne
Or by the bloode that Mahounde bledde, with this blad schal ye blede.
Thus schall I brittyn all youre bones on brede
Yae, and lusshe all youre lymmys with lasschis.

Dragons that are dredfull schall derke in ther denne
In wrathe when we writhe or in wrathenesse ar wapped;
Agaynste jeauntis ongentill have we joined with ingendis,2
And swannys that are swymmyng to oure swetnes schall be suapped,
And joged doune ther jolynes oure gentries engenderand.
Whoso repreve oure estate we schall choppe tham in cheynes.
All renkkis that are renand to us schall be reverande.

Therfore I bidde you sese or any bale be
That no brothell be so bolde boste for to blowes,
And ye that luffis youre liffis, listen to me
As a lorde that is lerned to lede you be lawes.
And ye that are of my men and of my menye,
Sen we are comen fro oure kyth as ye wele knawe
And semlys all here same in this cyté,
It sittis us in sadnesse to sette all oure sawes.

I DUX   My lorde, we schall take kepe to youre call
And stirre to no stede but ye steven us,
Ne grevaunce to grete ne to small.

REX   Ya, but loke that no fawtes befall.

II DUX   Lely, my lord, so we shall;
Ye nede not no more for to nevyn us.

I DUX   Mounseniour, demene you to menske in mynde what I mene
And boune to youre bodword, for so holde I best,
For all the comons of this courte bene avoyde clene,
And ilke a renke, as resoune as, are gone to ther reste;
Wherfore I counsaile, my lorde, ye comaunde you a drynke.

REX   Nowe certis, I assente as thou sais,
Se ych a qwy is wente on his ways
Lightly withouten any delayes.
Giffe us wyne wynly and late us go wynke
And se that no durdan be done.

         Tunc bibit Rex.

I DUX   My lorde, unlase you to lye,
Here schall none come for to crye.

REX   Nowe spedely loke that thou spie
That no noyse be neghand this none.

I DUX   My lorde, youre bedde is new made;
   you nedis noght for to bide it.

REX   Ya, but as thou luffes me hartely,
   laye me doune softely,
For thou wotte full wele
   that I am full tendirly hydid.

I DUX   Howe lye ye, my goode lorde?

REX                      Right wele, be this light,
All holé at my desire,
Wherfore I praye Ser Satan, oure sire,
And Lucifer moste luffely of lyre,
He sauffe you all, sirs, and giffe you goode nyght.

I MILES   Sir knyght, ye wote we are warned to wende,
To witte of this warlowe what is the kyngis will.

II MILES   Sir, here is Herowde all even here at oure hende,
And all oure entente tyte schall we tell hym untill.

I MILES   Who is here?

I DUX                           Who is there?

I MILES                                             Sir, we are knyghtis kende
Is comen to youre counsaill this carle for to kill.

I DUX   Sirs, but youre message may myrthis amende,
Stalkis furthe be yone stretis, or stande stone still.

II MILES   Yis, certis, ser, of myrthis we mene;
The kyng schall have matteres to melle hym.
We brynge here a boy us betwene,
Wherfore have worschippe, we wene.

I DUX   Wele, sirs, so that it turne to no tene,
Tentis hym and we schall go telle hym.

My lorde, yondir is a boy boune that brought is in blame;
Haste you in hye, thei hove at youre gates.

REX   What, and schall I rise nowe, in the devyllis name
To stighill amang straungeres in stales of astate?
But have here my hande, halde nowe,
And se that my sloppe be wele sittande.

I DUX   My lorde, with a goode will I wolde youe,
No wrange will I witte at my wittande.

But, my lorde, we can tell you of uncouthe tythandes.

REX   Ya, but loke ye telle us no tales but trewe.

II DUX   My lorde, thei bryng you yondir a boy boune in a bande
That bodus outhir bourdyng or bales to brewe.

REX   Thanne gete we some harrowe full hastely at hande.

I DUX   My lorde, ther is some note that is nedfull to neven you of new.

REX   Why, hoppis thou thei haste hym to hyng?

II DUX   We wotte noght ther will nor ther wenyng,
But boodword full blithely thei bryng.

REX   Nowe do than and late us se of there sayng.

II DUX   Lo, sirs, ye schall carpe with the kyng
And telles to hym manly youre menyng.

I MILES   Lorde, welthis and worschippis be with you alway.

REX   What wolde thou?

II MILES                      A worde, lorde, and youre willes were.

REX   Well, saye on, than.

I MILES                          My lorde, we fare foolys to flay,
Yt to you wolde forfette.

REX                            We, faire falle you therfore.

I MILES   My lorde, fro ye here what we saie,
Itt will heffe uppe youre hertis.

REX           Ya, but saie what heynde have ye thore?

II MILES   A presente fro Pilate, lorde, the prince of oure lay.

REX   Pese in my presence, and nemys hym no more.

I MILES   My lorde, he woll worschippe you faine.

REX   I consayve ye are ful foes of hym.

II MILES   My lorde, he wolde menske you with mayne,
And therfore he sendis you this swayne.

REX   Gose tyte with that gedlyng agayne
And saie hym a borowed bene sette I noght be hym.

I DUX   A, my lorde, with youre leve, thei have faren ferre,
And for to fraiste of youre fare was no folye.

II DUX   My lorde, and this gedlyng go thus it will greve werre,
For he gares growe on this grounde grete velanye.

REX   Why, menys thou that that myghtyng schulde my myghtes marre?

I DUX   Nay, lorde, but he makis on this molde mekill maystrie.

REX   Go ynne, and late us see of the sawes ere,
And but yf thei be to oure bordyng,
   thai both schalle abye.

II MILES   My lorde, we were worthy to blame
To brynge you any message of mysse.

REX   Why, than can ye nemyn us his name?

I MILES   Sir, Criste have we called hym at hame.

REX   O, this is the ilke selve and the same.
Nowe, sires, ye be welcome, ywisse.

And in faith I am fayne he is fonne,
His farles to frayne and to fele,
Nowe thes games was grathely begonne.

II MILES   Lorde, lely that likis us wele.

REX   Ya, but dar ye hete hartely that harlott is he?

I MILES   My lorde, takis hede, and in haste ye schall here howe.

REX   Ya, but what menys that this message was made unto me?

II MILES   My lorde, for it touches to tresoune, I trowe.

I MILES   My lorde, he is culpabill kende in oure contré
Of many perillus poyntis, as Pilate preves nowe.

II MILES   My lorde, when Pilate herde he had gone thurgh Galyle,
He lerned us that that lordschippe longed to you,
And or he wiste what youre willis were,
No ferther wolde he speke for to spille hym.

REX   Thanne knawes he that oure myghtis are the more?

I MILES   Ya, certis sir, so saie we thore.

REX   Nowe, sertis, and oure frenschippe therfore
We graunte hym, and no grevaunce we will hym.

And sirs, ye are welcome, ywisse, as ye wele awe,
And for to wende at youre wille I you warande,
For I have coveite kyndely that comely to knawe,
For men carpis that the carle schulde be konnand.

II MILES   My lorde, wolde he saie you soth of his sawe,
Ye saugh nevir slik selcouth, be see nor be sande.

REX   Nowe gois abakke both, and late the boy blowe,
For I hope we gete some harre hastely at hande.

I MILES   Jerusalem and the Jewes may have joie
And hele in ther herte for to here hym.

REX   Saie, beene-venew in bone fay,
Ne plesew et a parle remoy?

II MILES   Nay, my lorde, he can of no bourdyng, this boy.

REX   No, sir, with thi leve we schall lere hym.

I FILIUS   Mi lorde, se ther knyghtis that knawe and are kene
How thai come to youre courte withoutyn any call.

REX   Ya, sone, and musteris grete maistries,
   what may this bymene?

I DUX   My lorde, for youre myghtis are more than thei all,
They seke you as soverayne and sertis that is sene.

REX   Nowe certis, sen ye saie so, assaie hym I schall,
For I am fayner of that freyke then othir fiftene.
Yae, and hym that first fande, faire myght hym fall.

I MILES   Lorde, lely we lereth you no legh,
This liffe that he ledis will lose hym.

REX   Wele, sirs, drawes you adrygh
And, bewscheris, bryngis ye hym nygh,
For yif all that his sleghtis be slye,
Yitte or he passe we schalle appose hym.

O, my harte hoppis for joie
To se nowe this prophette appere.
We schall have goode game with this boy;
Takis hede, for in haste ye schall here.

I leve we schall laugh and have likyng
To se nowe this lidderon her he leggis oure lawis.

II DUX   Harke, cosyne, thou comys to karpe with kyng;
Take tente and be conande, and carpe as thou knowis.

I DUX   Ya, and loke that thou be not a sotte of thy saying,
But sadly and sone thou sette all thi sawes.

REX   Hym semys full boudisch, that boy that thei bryng.

II DUX   Mi lorde, and of his bordyng grete bostyng men blawes.

REX   Whi, therfore have I soughte hym to see,
Loke, bewscheris, ye be to oure bodis boune.

I DUX   Knele doune here to the kyng on thy knee.

II DUX   Naye, nedelyngis yt will not be.

REX   Loo, sirs, he mekis hym no more unto me
Thanne it were to a man of ther awne toune.

I DUX   Whe, go lawmere, and lerne thee to lowte
Or thai more blame thee to bring.

REX   Nay, dredeles withouten any doute
He knawes noght the course of a kyng,

And her beeis in oure bale, bourde or we blynne.
Saie firste at the begynnyng withall, where was thou borne?
Do, felawe, for thy faith, latte us falle ynne.
Firste of thi ferleis, who fedde thee beforne?
What, deynes thou not? Lo, sirs, he deffis us with dynne.
Say, whare ledde ye this lidrone? His langage is lorne.

I MILES   My lorde, his mervaylis to more and to myne,
Or musteres emange us both mydday and morne.

II MILES   Mi lorde, it were to fele
Of wonderes, he workith tham so wightely.

I MILES   Whe, man, momelyng may nothyng avayle;
Go to the kyng and tell hyme fro toppe unto tayle.

REX   Do bringe us that boy unto bale,
For lely we leffe hym noght lightly.

I DUX   This mop menyes that he may marke men to ther mede;3
He makes many maistries and mervayles emange.

II DUX   Five thousand folke faire gon he feede
With fyve looffis and two fisshis to fange.

REX   Howe fele folke sais thou he fedde?

II DUX   Five thousand, lorde, that come to his call.

REX   Ya, boye, howe mekill brede he them bedde?

I DUX   But five looffis, dare I wele wedde.

REX   Nowe, be the bloode that Mahounde bledde,
What, this was a wondir at all.

II DUX   Nowe, lorde, two fisshes blissid he efte,
And gaffe thame and ther none was forgetyn.

I DUX   Ya, lorde, and twelve lepfull ther lefte
Of releve whan all men had eten.

REX   Of such anodir mangery no man mene may.

II DUX   Mi lorde, but his maistries that musteris his myght.

REX   But saie, sirs, ar ther sawis soth that thei saie?

II MILES   Ya, lorde, and more selcouth were schewed to oure sight.
One Lazar, a ladde that in oure lande lay,
Lay loken undir layre fro lymme and fro light,
And his sistir come rakand in rewfull arraye;
And lorde, for ther raryng he raysed hym full right
And fro his grath garte hym gang
Evere forthe, withouten any evill.

REX   We, such lesyngis lastis to lange.

I MILES   Why, lorde, wene ye that wordis be wronge?
This same ladde levys us emang.

REX   Why, there hope I be dedis of the devyll.

Why schulde ye haste hym to hyng
That sought not newly youre newys?

II MILES   My lorde, for he callis hym a kyng
And claymes to be a kyng of Jewis.

REX   But saie, is he kyng in his kyth where he come froo?

I MILES   Nay, lorde, but he callis hym a kyng his caris to kele.

REX   Thanne is it litill wondir yf that he be woo,
For to be weried with wrang sen he wirkis wele;
But he schalle sitte be myselfe sen ye saie soo.
Comes nerre, kyng, into courte. Saie, can ye not knele?
We schalle have gaudis full goode and games or we goo.
Howe likis tha? Wele, lorde. Saie — what, devyll nevere a dele?
I faute in my reverant in otill moy,
I am of favour, loo, fairer be ferre.
Kyte oute yugilment. Uta, oy, oy!
Be any witte that I watte it will waxe werre.

Servicia primet,
Such losellis and lurdaynes as thou, loo.
Respicias timet,
What the devyll and his dame schall I now doo?

Do carpe on, carle, for I can thee cure,
Say, may thou not here me? Oy, man, arte thou woode?
Nowe telle me faithfully before howe thou fore;
Forthe, frende, be my faith, thou arte a fonde foode.

I DUX   My lorde, it astonys hym, youre steven is so store;
Hym had levere have stande stone still ther he stode.

REX   And whedir the boy be abasshid of Herrowde byg blure,
That were a bourde of the beste, be Mahoundes bloode.

II DUX   My lorde, I trowe youre fauchone hym flaies
And lettis hym.

REX               Nowe lely I leve thee,
And therfore schall I waffe it away,
And softely with a septoure assaie.
Nowe, sir, be perte I thee pray,
For none of my gromys schall greve thee.

Si loqueris tibi laus,
Pariter quoque prospera dantur;
Si loqueris tibi fraus,

Fell fex et bella parantur.4
Mi menne, ye go menske hym with mayne
And loke yhow that it wolde seme.

I DUX   Dewcus, fayff, ser, and sofferayne.

II DUX   Sir Udins, amangidre demayne.

REX   Go, aunswer thaym grathely agayne.
What, devyll, whedir dote we or dremys.

I MILES   Naye, we gete noght o worde, dare I wele wedde,
For he is wraiste of his witte or will of his wone.

REX   Ye saie he lakkid youre lawis as ye that ladde ledde.

II MILES   Ya, lorde, and made many gaudis as we have gone.

REX   Nowe sen he comes as a knave and as a knave cledde,
Wherto calle ye hym a kyng?

I DUX                       Nay, lorde, he is none,
But an harlotte is hee.

REX                        What devyll, I ame harde stedde,
A man myght as wele stere a stokke as a stone.

I FILIUS   My lorde, this faitour so fouly is affrayde,
He loked nevere of lorde so langly allone.

REX   No, sone, the rebalde seis us so richely arayed,
He wenys we be aungelis evere ilkone.

II DUX   My lorde, I holde hym agaste of youre gaye gere.

REX   Grete lordis augh to be gay;
Here schall no man do to thee dere,
And therfore yit nemyne in my nere,
For by the grete God, and thou garre me swere
Thou had nevere dole or this day.

Do carpe on tyte, karle, of thy kynne.

I DUX   Nay, nedelyngis he nevyns you with none.

REX   That schalle he bye or he blynne.

II DUX   A, leves lorde.

REX                              Lattis me allone.

I DUX   Nowe, good lorde, and ye may, meve you no more;
Itt is not faire to feght with a fonned foode,
But gose to youre counsaille and comforte you there.

REX   Thou sais soth, we schall see yf so will be goode,
For certis oure sorowes are sadde.

II FILIUS   What a devyll ayles hym?
Mi lorde, I can garre you be gladde,
For in tyme oure maistir is madde;
He lurkis, loo, and lokis like a ladde.
He is wode, lorde, or ellis his witte faylis hym.

III FILIUS   Mi lorde, ye have mefte you as mekill as ye may,
For yhe myght menske hym no more, were he Mahounde;
And sen it semys to be soo, latte us nowe assaie.

REX   Loke, bewscheris, ye be to oure bodis boune.

I DUX   Mi lorde, how schulde he dowte us? He dredis not youre drays.

REX   Nowe do fourthe, the devyll myght hym droune,
And sen he freyms falsed and makis foule frayes,
Raris on hym rudely, and loke ye not roune.

I FILIUS   Mi lorde, I schall enforce myselffe sen ye saie soo.
Felawe, be noght afferde nor feyne not therfore,
But telle us nowe some truffillis betwene us twoo,
And none of oure men schall medill tham more.
And therfore by resoune array thee,
Do telle us some poynte for thy prowe.
Heris thou not what I saie thee?
Thou mummeland myghtyng, I may thee
Helpe and turne thee fro tene, as I trowe.

II FILIUS   Loke uppe, ladde, lightly and loute to my lorde here,
For fro bale unto blisse he may nowe thee borowe.
Carpe on, knave, kantely, and caste thee to corde here,
And saie me nowe somwhat, thou sauterell, with sorowe.
Why standis thou as stille as a stone here?
Spare not, but speke in this place here,
Thou gedlyng, it may gayne thee some grace here.

III FILIUS   My lorde, this faitour is so ferde in youre face here,
None aunswere in this nede he nevyns you with none here.
Do, bewsheris, for Beliall bloode and his bonys,
Say somwhat or it will waxe werre.

I FILIUS   Nay, we gete nought one worde in this wonys.

II FILIUS   Do crie we all on hym at onys,

AL CHYLDER   Oyes, Oyes, Oyes!

REX                                         O, ye make a foule noyse for the nonys.

III FILIUS   Nedlyng, my lorde, it is nevere the nerre.

I FILIUS   Mi lorde, all youre mutyng amendis not a myte,
To medill with a madman is mervaille to mene;
Comaunde youre knyghtis to clothe hym in white
And late hym carre as he come to youre contré.

REX   Lo, sirs, we lede you no lenger a lite.
Mi sone has saide sadly how that it schuld be;
But such a poynte for a page is to parfite.

I DUX   Mi lorde, fooles that are fonde, thei falle such a fee.

REX   What, in a white garmente to goo
Thus gayly girde in a gowne?

II DUX   Nay, lorde, but as a foole forcid hym froo.

REX   How saie ye, sirs, schulde it be soo?

AL CHYLDER   Ya, lord.

REX                                  We, than is ther no more
But boldely bidde tham be boune.

Sir knyghtis, we caste to garre you be gladde,
Oure counsaile has warned us wisely and wele:
White clothis we saie fallis for a fonned ladde,
And all his foly in faith fully we feele.

I DUX   We will with a goode will for his wedis wende,
For we wotte wele anowe what wedis he schall were.

II DUX   Loo, here is an haterell here at youre hende,
All faciound therfore foolis to feere.

I MILES   Loo, here a joppon of joie,
All such schulde be gode for a boy.

I DUX   He schalle be rayed like a roye
And schall be fonne in his folie.

II DUX   We, thanke tham, evyll motte thou thee.

I MILES   Nay, we gete noght a worde, wele I warand.

II MILES   Man, mustir some mervaile to me.

I DUX   What, wene ye he be wiser than we?
Leffe we and late the kyng see
Howe it is forcyd and farand.

Mi lorde, loke yf ye be paied,
For we have getyn hym his gere.

REX   Why, and is this rebalde arayed?
Mi blissing, bewscheris, ye bere.

Gose, garre crye in my courte
   and grathely garre write
All the dedis that we have done in this same degré.
And who fyndis hym greved
   late hym telle tyte;
And yf we fynde no defaute
   hym fallis to go free.

I DUX   Oyes. Yf any wight with this wriche any werse wate,
Werkis, beris wittenesse who so wirkis wrang,
Buske boldely to the barre, his balis to abate,
For my lorde, be my lewté, will not be deland.
My lorde, here apperes none to appeyre his estate.

REX   Wele thanne, fallis hym goo free.
Sir knyghtis, thanne grathis you goodly to gange
And repaire with youre present and saie to Pilate
We graunte hym oure frenschippe all fully to fang.

I MILES   My lorde, with youre leve this way schall we lere,
Us likis no lenger to abide here.

II MILES   Mi lorde, and he worthe ought in were,
We come agayne with goode chere.

REX   Nay, bewscheris, ye fynde us not here;
Oure leve will we take at this tyde

And rathely araye us to reste,
For such notis has noyed us or nowe.

I DUX   Ya, certis, lorde, so holde I beste,
For this gedlyng ungoodly has greved you.

II DUX   Loke ye bere worde as ye wotte,
Howe wele we have quitte us this while.

I MILES   We, wise men will deme it we dote,
But if we make ende of oure note.

REX   Wendis fourth, the devyll in thi throte.
We fynde no defaute hym to slee.

Wherfore schulde we flaye hym or fleme hym
We fynde noght in rollis of recorde.
And sen that he is dome, for to deme hym,
Ware this a goode lawe for a lorde?

Nay, losellis, unlely ye lerned all to late,
Go lere thus lordingis of youre londe such lessons to lere.
Repaire with youre present and saie to Pilate
We graunte hym oure poure all playne to appere,
And also oure grevaunce forgeve we algate,
And we graunte hym oure grace with a goode chere.
As touchyng this brothell that brawlis or debate,
Bidde hym wirke as he will, and wirke noght in were.
Go telle hym this message fro me,
And lede fourth that mytyng, evyll motte he thee.

I MILES   Mi lorde, with youre leve, late hym be,
For all to longe ledde hym have we.

II MILES   What, ye sirs, my lorde, will ye see?

REX   What, felawes, take ye no tente what I telle you
And bid you, that yoman ye yeme?

II MILES   Mi lorde, we schall wage hym an ill way.

REX   Nay, bewscheris, be not so bryme,
Fare softely, for so will it seme.

I MILES   Nowe sen we schall do as ye deme,
Adewe, sir.

REX   Daunce on, in the devyll way.
(see note); (t-note)
men; manliness inquire into
speaking; trifles; suppressed
sword; smash
Plead; places; fall down; plain
riot; behave in fear

Work; rely on deception
hack; (i.e., every one)
beat; lashes; (t-note)

anger are wrapped
cut; nobles begetting
challenge; clap
men; reigning; revering

cease ere; misery
boasting; vent
loves; lives

company (family)
assembled; together
seriousness to set forth; sayings (ideas)

pay attention
place; call
too; too


Truly (Loyally)

may you please; honor; (t-note)
remain obliged; command
are all gone away
all men; as reason requires; (see note)

each man
pleasantly; sleep

Then the king drinks; (t-note)

unlace; (see note)

nearing; midnight

wait [for]


have very tender skin

(i.e., wholly as I wish)
(see note)
save; give

told; (see note)
learn; warlock

Herod’s hall; hand
very soon


Sneak forth by

good news

honor; believe

Attend to

bound; as one blamed
quickly; wait

intervene; in court
overgarment; not askew; (see note)

(i.e., will I wish to know of)

novel (outlandish)

bonds (ropes)
bodes either entertainment; trouble


news; mention

expect; hang

their intent

properly (courteously)


if it were your will

make fools to [be] punished

(i.e., may you prosper)


creature (person); (t-note)


Peace; name; (see note)


honor; [all his] strength

borrowed bean set; by

come from afar
discover; opinion

if; grieve worse
causes (to)

insignificant fellow

earth; deeds

(see note)


name (tell)


glad; found
marvels; question; experience


dare; promise honestly


means [it]


known [to be]; country

informed; belonged
until he knew


ought [to be]
wished naturally; comely person
say; churl; cunning

saw; such wonders; sea

let; give vent
matter of significance; (see note)


welcome in good faith; (see note)
(i.e., Doesn’t it please you to speak with me)

joking around


perform; deeds

certainly; seen (obvious)

more interested in; man than [any]

tell; lie

stand aside
(see note)

ere; question

wicked fellow; expounds

Pay attention; cunning

fool for
set forth; words (sayings)


idle talk; boasting; give vent

good men; orders obedient

of necessity

humbles himself

fool; reverence (bow)

surely; doubt
protocol; (see note)

custody, entertain [us]; put an end

(i.e., Speak); begin
marvels; fed (raised)
deign; deafens; din; (t-note)
rascal; lost; (t-note)

musters (shows)

too many


(i.e., judge)


(see note); (t-note)
partake of; (t-note)






meal; speak

deeds [are] what show; (t-note)

sayings true; (t-note)


locked; earth; leam (gleam); (t-note)
rushing in distress
roaring (lamenting)
up from; grave made; go

lies; too long


until recently; (i.e., annoyance)


cares to alleviate

woeful (depressed)
cursed; wrong; performs good deeds
if you

sports; ere
deal (i.e., no speaking)
(i.e., am not honored); (see note)
appearance; by far

I fear; worse

Duty demands
dull fellows; rascals
Let him be wary and fear

hear; mad
[Come] forth; foolish person

astonishes; voice; strong; (see note)
rather; where he stood

big bluster
(see note)

falchion; frightens
hinders him [from speaking]; (t-note)

try (test)
retainers; grieve

(see note)

honor; strength

(see note)


get not a; wager
wrested; distraught

found fault with

jests (tricks)

clad; (see note)


deceiver; afraid
looked at; for so long alone


gear (clothes)

ought; finely dressed
speak; ear
misery before

necessarily; speaks [to]; nothing

pay for; concludes

leave (enough of this)

fight; fond fool



mad; fails

test [him]

commands bound (obliged)

fear; threats

go forth; drown; (t-note)
frames (makes) falsehood; riots
Roar; mutter; (t-note)

hold back
concern themselves
point (detail); profit
trouble; (t-note)

bow (kneel)
save you
boldly; accord
wretch (hypocrite)

deceiver; afraid of
speaks to; (i.e., at all)
bones (relics); (t-note)




Necessarily; nearer; (t-note)

disputing; mite
(see note)

detain; longer a little (time)
too perfect (i.e., difficult)

fail; reward



try to cause

are appropriate; foolish
see (perceive)


garment; hands; (t-note)
fashioned; befit

jupon (tunic)

arrayed; king
found (shown)



Heave [off]


announce; (see note)
appropriately cause to be written


[it] befalls him

man; wretch; worse knows; (t-note)
Come; miseries
faith; judging

return; (see note)
take (have)

leave; take

(i.e., if he acts suspiciously)

quickly; (t-note)
matters; annoyed; ere

acquitted ourselves

judge; [act] foolish

slay; (see note)

punish; condemn
legal rolls; (see note)
dumb; condemn

disloyally; too
teach; learn
power; fully
in all respects

suspiciously; (see note)

small (insignificant) fellow


yeoman; look after



(see note)

Go To Play 32, The Remorse of Judas