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Play 33, The Second Trial before Pilate


1 And Preco will recite after Anna, "Let Jesus be judged"

2 It will be a long [time] before you meet such company as you met this morning


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.

Concluding the series of Trial pageants, the Tilemakers' play, in spite of missing a leaf that was lost sometime after the middle of the sixteenth century, is one of the longer plays in the cycle. It was at one time two separate plays, as verified by the second list of pageants in the York Memorandum Book A/Y. These presented the trial as distinct from the Flagellation and Crowning with Thorns or Mocking.1 The episodes therein dramatized were brought together by a dramatist who adopted the long alliterative line found elsewhere in the Passion series, but in this case choosing a twelve-line stanza that, as Beadle notes, is not elsewhere used.2 Pilate's hand-washing appears commonly in iconography3 and is depicted in a devotional woodcut inserted in a local Book of Hours of c. 1420 in the York Minster Library (MS. XVI.K.6, fol. 45). Pilate typically appears with his servant, who has a ewer and a towel draped over his shoulder. In the play a basin would also of necessity have been included. However, local spirituality focused much more on the Flagellation and Mocking, which were culminating moments in the suffering of Christ in the Trial scenes. Love stresses the importance of imagining these events "by inwarde meditacion of alle hees peynes abidyngly, and bot thou fynde thi herte melte in to sorouful compassion, suppose fully and halde, that thou hast too harde a stonene herte."4 The pageant plausibly was regarded as an aid to such meditation since, made vivid in being staged, the sight would impress itself vividly on the memory. As Diller points out, these Trial plays are characterized by a conscious and serious effort by the York dramatist (or dramatists) to "‘de-carnivalize' the Torture scenes."5

1 Lordyngis. Pilate opens with a term of polite address; see MED, s.v. lording 7b. However, he soon begins threatening and reminds his listeners that he has the power of life and death over his subjects.

37 ye prelates of pees. Caiphas and Anna are consistently seen as bishops "of the hoold lawe," as the N-Town writer describes them (Play 26, line 164 s.d.), but peaceable they are not since they have been urging vengeance against the Prince of Peace.

46–51 Pilate has been awaiting news of the trial before Herod, and now is approached by the soldiers who have returned from his court. The first soldier in his "Hayll" greeting will parody the Hail lyrics directed to Christ, but here involving pure flattery.

55 As his gud frende. See also line 75, below, and comment on Play 31, lines 82–83, above. Herod and Pilate, who had previously been enemies, were cemented in friendship at this time, according to the account in Luke 23:12.

97–104 Agayne Ser Cesar hymselfe he segges and saies . . . be slayne. Citing Jesus' answer to those who wished to entrap him with the question "Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?" (Matthew 22:17, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:22). In Caiphas' speech the charges against Jesus culminate in the accusation of blasphemy on account of his claim to be God's Son and in his insistence that he deserves execution.

112–16 Simon, Yarus, and Judas . . . Togithere. Caiphas' list of witnesses is adapted from the Middle English Gospel of Nicodemus (p. 25), which differs from the Latin original; see Craigie, "Gospel of Nicodemus and the York Mystery Plays," p. 54.

131 youre langage so large. That is, Anna and Caiphas would say anything to prejudice Pilate against Jesus. Pilate recognizes here that this is a case of malicious prosecution; see Tiner, "English Law."

142–45 Uncleth hym, clappe hym, and clowte hym . . . lord badd. Preco, the beadle, will do whatever is commanded, including torture, but here will only ask the knights to "bryng him to barre" — i.e., before the bar of justice. The soldiers are equally vicious and look forward in anticipation to the extreme torment to which Jesus will be put.

157 stirre noght fro that stede. Jesus is like a prisoner in the dock in an English court, but iconographic evidence only suggests that Jesus stands before Pilate, seated as judge. Jesus is said to have been brought "to barr" in the Middle English Gospel of Nicodemus (p. 34).

160–83 The episode of the banners in which the soldiers who hold them involuntarily lower them to show reverence for Jesus as for a king and as God's Son; see the Gospel of Nicodemus, in which they explain that the "schaftes" were not under their control and "lowtyd noght at oure wyttynge" (p. 33), all very much to the shock of the high priests and Pilate.

205ff. Preco will round up "right bigg men and strange," a "company of kevellis" (lines 217–18), but, as in the Middle English Gospel of Nicodemus (pp. 32–35), these strong men will also not be able to prevent their banners from bowing before Jesus in spite of the stern warning that they must not allow this to happen.

258 the cokkis has crowen. Identifying the time of day as morning, when a cry can be made for the final stage of the trial to begin. It is subsequent to the cry that the second set of strong men, along with Pilate himself, will bow to Jesus. In an embedded stage direction (lines 274–75), Pilate explains that he had risen from his seat, unable to "abstene / To wirschip hym" in deed and in thought. It was, he explains, "past all my powre," though he had tried very hard to restrain himself (line 278).

288 Be his sorcery. Caiphas' claim that Jesus is a necromancer has been taken too seriously as the charge against him; it is only one of a number of allegations.

300–07 Jesus finally breaks his silence, in an oblique answer to Pilate only briefly rebuking those who are speaking ill against him. As the silent sufferer who will be led to his death like a sheep to the slaughter, he otherwise will not speak, even when severely tortured. He is an exemplar of patience, like Job, understood to be an Old Testament type of Christ.

322–23 Us falles not, nor oure felowes in feere, / To slo no man. The ecclesiastical courts cannot act on a capital case, but they are able to turn the person over to be convicted and sentenced by the secular authority.

326–27 He is fautles . . . his gate. Pilate objects to the procedure on the basis of his determination that Jesus is innocent, and would prefer to let him go free. To this Caiphas brings up the charge of treason against Pilate's power (lines 329–32). This has an effect.

342 Do wappe of his wedis. The stripping of Jesus has a deeper typological significance, but it is doubtful that this would have been on the minds of either players or audience. Nevertheless, the act was something taken very seriously, for thereupon Jesus will stand, as Love reminds us, "nakede before hem alle" (Mirror, p. 170) like one in utter disgrace. He will be bound to a pillar (line 351), and the scourging, in which he patiently allows himself to be beaten bloody, will begin. His torturers again are modeled on Psalm 21 (AV 22), the Good Friday psalm, in which he is as if encircled by vicious attacking dogs, most vividly depicted in the fourteenth-century Holkham Bible Picture Book, where they use whips fitted with small pieces of metal attached to leather thongs (fol. 29v). In the Bolton Hours Jesus is depicted as wounded all over his body, from his head to his feet (York Minster Library, MS. Add. 2, fol. 57v). The Northern tradition associated with Richard Rolle has the number of wounds at 5,475 or thereabouts (Breeze, "Number of Christ's Wounds," pp. 87–90); the Towneley Resurrection play mentions 5,400 (Play 26, lines 291–92). He is beaten, according to Love, until "there was none semlynesse nor beutye in hym, and we helde him as foule as a leprose manne . . ." (Mirror, p. 171). In line 431 Jesus' flesh will be described as "al . . . beflapped." The description has its source in part in Isaias 1:6: "From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein: wounds and bruises and swelling sores." For further discussion, see Marrow, Passion Iconography, pp. 134–41. As in the case of the Coventry Smiths' Passion pageant (REED: Coventry, p. 231), the Tilemakers' Jesus would presumably have had a white leather body garment to simulate nudity as well as to provide a surface for simulated wounds. For detailed discussion of such a violent act in drama, Jesus' nudity, and the veneration of his blood, see C. Davidson, History, Religion, and Violence, pp. 180–204.

380 tarand. If a tarandre is meant, as may be the case, this creature was chameleon-like in being able to change color; Beadle cites OED (RB, p. 524).

383 He swounes or sweltes. Previously the suffering Jesus had been accused of falling asleep; now the pain is so intense that he seems to lose consciousness.

386 Nowe unboune is this broll, and unbraced his bandes. Embedded stage direction; the unloosening that was begun "lyghtyly" at line 384 is now completed, though it may appear that the ropes were not entirely removed. The Mocking will follow.

389 We will kyndely hym croune with a brere. The crowning with thorns as a mock king; the common model for the crown was the relic at Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (see Horne, "Crown of Thorns in Art," and Réau, Iconographie, 2:2:457–59). It will be pushed into place at lines 400–01, so painfully that his brain "begynnes for to blede."

390–92 but first this purpure and palle / . . . sall he were / For scorne. A purple gown. Love called it "an olde silken mantelle of redde" (Mirror, p. 171).

397 sette hym in this sete. A mock throne, as if he were seated in the great hall of a palace.

403–05 rede . . . For his septure. The fourth soldier places a reed in his right hand (Matthew 27:29). Mark, however, says the reed was used to strike him on the head (15:19), while John merely reports that the soldiers "gave him blows" (19:3).

408–16 Mock reverence for the King as rex judeorum. The soldiers presumably kneel, as Matthew's account specifies.

420–21 Embedded stage direction. They lead Jesus back to Pilate — not an easy task because he is so sorely wounded.

434 beholde upon hight and ecce homoo. In John 19:13–14, Pilate, having seated himself in the judgment seat, shows Jesus to the people. In depictions in the late Middle Ages, he is shown dressed only in a loincloth, with hands still bound and consistent with Psalm 21:8: "All they that see me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head"; see Schiller, Iconography, 2:75–76. This was not infrequently presented as a devotional image, typically still bound and wearing the crown of thorns.

439 In race. Uninterpretable, appearing prior to the missing leaf which must have included the Jews' demand that Jesus be executed and that Pilate should release the criminal Barabbas; see Matthew 27:15–23. On the next extant folio, Pilate's hand washing follows in which he is attempting to deny his responsibility for the conviction of Jesus.

450–61 Pilate announces his judgment. Criminals will be hung on crosses on "aythir side" of Jesus on Golgotha.

472 Nowe feste is he. Jesus is more securely tied up; embedded stage direction.

474 Drawe hym faste hense. He will be violently led like an animal to the slaughter; the reference to "his tree" (line 481) suggests the presence of the cross, on which he will be dragged away. But this is not consistent with the next pageant. It is indeed an evil hour, as the final line of the pageant suggests.


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).

Craft assignment to Mylners added by LH.

24 hym. So LTS, RB; Reg: hyn.

32 Following line missing in Reg; LTS suggests and chasted.

35 tasted. Reg: letter d added by LH.

42 my. So LTS, RB; Reg: my my.

48 yitt. Reg: added by LH.

49 undre sylke on. So RB (conjecture); Reg, LTS: undre on.

108 CAYPHAS. Reg: speech tag added by JC.

138 PILATUS. So RB; Reg, LTS omit.

146b PRECO. So RB; LTS: Præco; Reg omits.

146c I MILES. So LTS, RB; Reg omits.

147 this. So RB; Reg: ths.

155 name. So RB; Reg, LTS: named.

159 his. So RB; Reg, LTS: hir.

175 dastardes. So RB; Reg, LTS: dastard.

191 unfittyng. This edition; LTS, RB: unsittyng.

242 barnes. So Reg, LTS; RB: baners.
of. So LTS, RB; Reg: of of.

263, s.d. They cry. This edition.
Oyes. Reg: added by JC.

267, s.d. Et Preco . . . Jesus. Reg: stage direction entered, in red ink, in right margin by Scribe B.

293 convyk. So LTS, RB; Reg: covyk.

323 man. So LTS, RB; Reg: nan.

360 this. Reg: letter t added by later scribe.

361 Swete. Reg: original scribe had written Swte; missing letter added by LH.

382 Reg: line deleted in red ink (duplicated on next page).

403 a rede. Reg: a interlined by LH.

432 as. Reg: letter s added by a late hand.

After 439 Missing leaf follows in Reg.

441 fende. So RB; Reg, LTS: lende.

443, s.d. Tunc lavat manus suas. Reg: stage direction added by JC.

444 Reg: line deleted, then rewritten.

465 alone. Reg: LH deleted one and substituted alone.


Footnote 1 See Meredith, "Ordo paginarum and the Development of the York Tilemakers' Pageant."

Footnote 2 RB, p. 450.

Footnote 3 Schiller, Iconography, 2:64–65.

Footnote 4 Love, Mirror, p. 171.

Footnote 5 Diller, "Torturers," p. 62.

The Tyllemakers

































































































PILATUS   Lordyngis that are lymett to the lare of my liaunce,
Ye schappely schalkes and schene for to schawe,
I charge you as your chiftan that ye chatt for no chaunce,
But loke to youre lord here and lere at my lawe.
As a duke I may dampne you and drawe.
Many bernys bolde are aboute me,
And what knyght or knave I may knawe
That list noght as a lord for to lowte me,
I sall lere hym
In the develes name, that dastard, to dowte me.
Ya, who werkis any werkes withoute me,
I sall charge hym in chynes to chere hym.

Tharfore, ye lusty ledes within this lenght lapped,
Do stynte of youre stalkyng and of stoutnes be stalland;
What traytoures his tong with tales has trapped,
That fende for his flateryng full foull sall be falland.
What broll overebrathely is bralland
Or unsoftely will sege in ther sales,
That caysteffe thus carpand and calland
As a boy sall be broght unto bales.
Talkes not nor trete not of tales,
For that gome that gyrnes or gales,
I myself sall hym hurte full sore.

ANNA   Ye sall sytt hym full sore, what sege will assay you.
If he like not youre lordshippe, that ladde, sall ye lere hym
As a pereles prince full prestly to pay you,
Or as a derworth duke with dyntes sall ye dere hym.

CAYPHAS   Yaa, in faythe ye have force for to fere hym,
Thurgh youre manhede and myght bes he marred;
No chyvalrus chiftan may chere hym,
Fro that churll with charge ye have charred
. . .
In pynyng payne bees he parred.

ANNA   Yaa, and with schath of skelpys yll scarred
Fro tyme that youre tene he have tasted.

PILATUS   Now certes, as me semes, whoso sadly has soght you,
Youre praysyng is prophetable, ye prelates of pees;
Gramercy, youre goode worde, and ungayne sall it noght you,
That ye will say the sothe and for no sege cese.

CAYPHAS   Elles were it pité we appered in this prees,
But consayve how youre knyghtes ere command.

ANNA   Ya, my lord, that leve ye no lese,
I can telle you, you tydes sum tythandis
Ful sadde.

PILATUS   Se, they bring yoone brolle in a bande.
We sall here nowe, hastely at hand,
What unhappe before Herowde he had.

I MILES   Hayll, lovelyest lorde that evere lawe led yitt,
Hayll, semelyest undre sylke on evere ilka syde,
Hayll, stateliest on stede in strenghe that is sted yitt,
Hayll, liberall, hayll, lusty to lordes allied.

PILATUS   Welcome, what tydandis this tyde,
Late no langgage lightly nowe lette you.

II MILES   Sir Herowde, ser, it is noght to hyde,
As his gud frende grathely he grete yowe
In what manere that evere he mete you,
By hymselfe full sone wille he sette you
And sais that ye sall not dissever.

PILATUS   I thanke hym full thraly, and ser, I saie hym the same,
But what mervelous materes dyd this myron ther mell?

I MILES   For all the lordis langage his lipps, ser, wer lame.
For any spirringes in that space no speche walde he spell,
Bot domme as a dore gon he dwell.
Thus no faute in hym gon he fynde
For his dedis to deme hym to qwell,
Nor in bandis hym brathely to bynde.
And thus
He sente hym to youreself, and assynde
That we, youre knyghtis, suld be clenly enclyned,
And tyte with hym to you to trus.

PILATUS   Syrs, herkens, here ye not what we have oppon hand?
Loo, howe there knyghtes carpe that to the kyng cared.
Syr Herowde, thai say, no faute in me fand,
He fest me to his frenschippe, so frendly he fared.
Moreover, sirs, he spake, and noght spared,
Full gentilly to Jesu, this Jewe,
And sithen to ther knyghtis declared
How fawtes in hym fande he but fewe
To dye.
He taste hym, I telle you for trewe,
For to dere hym he demed undewe,
And sirs, thee sothly saie I.

CAIPHAS   Sir Pilate, oure prince, we prelatis nowe pray you,
Sen Herowde fraysted no ferther this faitour to flaye,
Resayve in your sall ther sawes that I saie you;
Late bryng hym to barre and at his berde sall we baye.

ANNA   Ya, for and he wende thus by wiles away,
I wate wele he wirke will us wondre;
Oure menye he marres that he may,
With his seggynges he settes tham in sondre
With synne.
With his blure he bredis mekill blondre;
Whills ye have hym, nowe haldes hym undir,
We sall wery hym away yf he wynne.

CAYPHAS   Sir, no tyme is to tarie this traytour to taste,
Agayne Ser Cesar hymselfe he segges and saies
All the wightis in this world wirkis in waste
That takis hym any tribute, thus his teching outrayes.
Yitt forther he feynes slik affraies
And sais that hymself is God Son;
And ser, oure lawe leggis and layes
In what faytour falsed is fon
Suld be slayne.

PILATUS   For no schame hym to shende will we shon.

ANNA   Sir, witnesse of this wanes may be wonne,
That will tell this withowten any trayne.

CAYPHAS   I can reken a rable of renkes full right
Of perte men in prese fro this place ar I pas
That will witnesse, I warande, the wordis of this wight,
How wikkidly wrought that this wrecche has:
Simon, Yarus, and Judas,
Datan and Gamaliell,
Neptalim, Levi, and Lucas,
And Amys this maters can mell
Ther tales for trewe can they telle
Of this faytour that false is and felle
And in legyng of lawes ful lithre.

PILATUS   Ya, tussch, for youre tales, thai touche not entente;
Ther witnesse I warande that to witnesse ye wage,
Some hatred in ther hartis agaynes hym have hent
And purpose be this processe to putt doun this page.

CAIPHAS   Sir, in faith us fallith not to fage;
Thai are trist men and true, that we telle you.

PILATUS   Youre swering, seris, swiftely ye swage,
And no more in this maters ye mell you,
I charge.

ANNA   Sir, dispise not this speche that we spell you.

PILATUS   If ye feyne slike frawdis, I sall felle you,
For me likis noght youre langage so large.

CAYPHAS   Oure langage is to large, but youre lordshipp releve us,
Yitt we both beseke you, late brynge hym to barre;
What poyntes that we putte forth, latt your presence appreve us;
Ye sall here how this harlott heldes out of herre.

PILATUS   Ya, butt be wise, witty, and warre.

ANNA   Yis, sir, drede you noght for nothyng we doute hym.

PILATUS   Fecche hym, he is noght right ferre;
Do, bedell, buske thee abowte hym.

PRECO   I am fayne,
My lorde, for to lede hym or lowte hym,
Uncleth hym, clappe hym, and clowte hym;
If ye bid me, I am buxhome and bayne.

Knyghtis, ye er commaundid with this caityf to care
And bryng him to barre, and so my lord badd.

I MILES   Is this thy messege?

PRECO                                   Ya, sir.

I MILES                                             Than move thee no mare,
For we ar light for to leppe and lede forthe this ladd.

II MILES   Do steppe furth, in striffe ert thou stadde,
I uphalde full evyll has thee happed.

I MILES   O, man, thy mynde is full madde
In oure clukis to be clowted and clapped,
And closed.

II MILES   Thou bes lassched, lusschyd, and lapped.

I MILES   Ya, rowted, russhed, and rapped,
Thus thy name with noye sall be noysed.

II MILES   Loo, this sege her, my soverayne, that ye for sente.

PILATUS   Wele, stirre noght fro that stede, but stande stille thare;
Bot he schappe som shrewdnesse, with shame bese he shente,
And I will frayst, in faith, to frayne of his fare.

CAIPHAS   We, outte, stande may I noght, so I stare.

ANNA   Ya, harrowe, of this traytour with tene.

PILATUS   Say, renkes, what rewth gars you rare?
Er ye woode or wittles, I wene,
What eyles you?

CAYPHAS   Out, slike a sight suld be sene.

ANNA   Ya, allas, conquered ar we clene.

PILATUS   We, ere ye fonde, or youre force fayles you?

CAYPHAS   A, ser, saugh ye noght this sight, how that ther schaftes schuke
And thez baneres to this brothell thai bowde all on brede?

ANNA   Ya, ther cursed knyghtes by crafte lete them croke
To worshippe this warlowe unworthy in wede.

PILATUS   Was it dewly done thus, indede?

CAIPHAS   Ya, ya, sir, oureselfe we it sawe.

PILATUS   We, spitte on them, ill mott thai spede.
Say, dastardes, the devyll mote you drawe,
How dar ye
Ther baners on brede that her blawe
Lat lowte to this lurdan so lawe?
O, faytouris, with falshed, how fare ye?

III MILES   We beseke you and tho seniouris beside you, sir, sitte,
With none of oure governaunce to be grevous and gryll,
For it lay not in oure lott ther launces to lett,
And this werke that we have wrought it was not oure will.

PILATUS   Thou lise, harstow, lurdan? Full ille,
Wele thou watte if thou witnes it walde.

IV MILES   Sir, oure strengh myght noght stabill tham stille,
They hilded for ought we couthe halde,
Oure unwittyng.

V MILES   For all oure fors, in faith, did thai folde
As this warlowe worschippe thai wolde,
And us semid, forsoth, it unfittyng.

CAIPHAS   A, unfrendly faytours, full fals is youre fable;
This segge with his suttelté to his seett hath you sesid.

VI MILES   Ye may say what you semes, ser, bot ther standerdes to stabill,
What freyke hym enforces full foull sall he be fesid.

ANNA   Be the devyllis nese, ye ar doggydly diseasid,
A, henne harte, ill happe mot you hente.

PILATUS   For a whapp so he whyned and whesid,
And yitt no lasshe to the lurdan was lente,
Foul fall you.

III MILES   Sir, iwisse, no wiles we have wente.

PILATUS   Shamefully you satt to be shente,
Here combred caystiffes, I call you.

IV MILES   Sen you lykis not, my lord, oure langage to leve,
Latte bryng the biggest men that abides in this land
Propirly in youre presence ther pousté to preve;
Beholde that they helde nott fro thei have thaim in hand.

PILATUS   Now ye er ferdest that evere I fand,
Fy on youre faynte hertis in feere;
Stir thee, no langer thou stande,
Thou bedell, this bodworde thou bere
Thurgh this towne.
The wyghtest men unto were
And the strangest ther standerdis to stere,
Hider blithely bid tham be bowne.

PRECO   My soverayne, full sone sall be served youre sawe,
I sall bryng to ther baneres right bigg men and strange;
A company of kevellis in this contré I knawe
That grete ere and grill, to the gomes will I gange.
Say, ye ledis botht lusty and lange,
Ye most passe to Ser Pilate apace.

I MILES   If we wirke not his wille it wer wrang;
We are redy to renne on a race
And rayke.

PRECO   Then tarie not, but tryne on a trace
And folow me fast to his face.

II MILES   Do lede us; us lykes wele this lake.

PRECO   Lorde, here are the biggest bernes that bildis in this burgh,
Most stately and strange if with strenght thai be streyned.
Leve me, ser, I lie not, to loke this lande thurgh,
Thai er myghtiest men with manhode demened.

PILATUS   Wate thou wele, or ellis has thou wenyd?

PRECO   Sir, I wate wele, withoute wordis moo.

CAIPHAS   In thy tale be not taynted nor tenyd.

PRECO   We, nay, ser, why shuld I be soo?

PILATUS   Wele than,
We sall frayst er they founde us fer fro.
To what game thai begynne for to go,
Sir Cayphas, declare tham ye can.

CAIPHAS   Ye lusty ledis, nowe lith to my lare:
Schappe you to ther schaftis that so schenely her schyne,
If yon barnes bowe the brede of an hare,
Platly ye be putte to perpetuell pyne.

I MILES   I sall holde this as even as a lyne.

ANNA   Whoso schakis, with schames he shendes.

II MILES   I, certayne, I saie as for myne,
Whan it sattles or sadly discendis
Whare I stande,
When it wryngis or wronge it wendis.
Outher bristis, barkis, or bendes,
Hardly lat hakke of myn hande.

PILATUS   Sirs, waites to ther wightis that no wiles be wrought,
Thai are burely and brode, thare bost have thai blowen.

ANNA   To neven of that nowe, ser, it nedis right noght,
For who curstely hym quytes, he sone sall be knawen.

CAYPHAS   Ya, that dastard to dede sall be drawen,
Whoso fautis, he fouly sall falle.

PILATUS   Nowe knyghtis, sen the cokkis has crowen,
Have hym hense with hast fra this halle
His wayes;
Do stiffely steppe on this stalle,
Make a crye and cautely thou call,
Evene like as Ser Annay thee sais.

      [They cry] Oyes.

ANNA   Jesu, thou Jewe of gentill Jacob kynne,
Thou nerthrist of Nazareth, now nevend is thi name,
Alle creatures thee accuses; we commaunde thee comme in
And aunswer to thin enemys, deffende now thy fame.

      Et Preco, semper post Annam, recitabit “judicatur Jesus.”1

CAYPHAS   We, out! we are shente alle for shame,
This is wrasted all wrange, as I wene.

ANNA   For all ther boste, yone boyes are to blame.

PILATUS   Slike a sight was nevere yit sene.
Come sytt,
My comforth was caught fro me clene,
I upstritt, I my myght noght abstene
To wirschip hym in wark and in witte.

CAYPHAS   Therof mervayled we mekill what moved you in mynde
In reverence of this ribald so rudely to ryse.

PILATUS   I was past all my powre, thogh I payned me and pynd;
I wrought not as I wolde in no maner of wise.
Bot syrs, my spech wele aspise,
Wightly his wayes late hym wende;
Thus my dome will dewly devyse,
For I am ferde hym in faith to offende
In sightes.

ANNA   Than oure lawe were laght till an ende
To his tales if ye treuly attende.
He enchaunted and charmed oure knyghtis.

CAYPHAS   Be his sorcery, ser, youreselffe the soth sawe,
He charmes oure chyvalers and with myscheffe enchaunted.
To reverence hym ryally we rase all on rowe,
Doutles we endure not of this dastard be daunted.

PILATUS   Why, what harmes has this hatell here haunted?
I kenne to convyk hym no cause.

ANNA   To all gomes he God Son hym graunted,
And liste not to leve on oure lawes.

PILATUS   Say, man,
Consayves thou noght what comberous clause
That this clargye accusyng thee knawse?
Speke, and excuse thee if thou can.

JESUS   Every man has a mouthe that made is on molde
In wele and in woo to welde at his will,
If he governe it gudly like as God wolde
For his spirituale speche hym not to spill.
And what gome so governe it ill,
Full unhendly and ill sall he happe:
Of ilk tale thou talkis us untill
Thou accounte sall, thou cannot escappe.

PILATUS   Sirs myne,
Ye fonne, in faithe, all the frappe,
For in this lede no lese can I lappe,
Nor no poynte to putt hym to pyne.

CAIPHAS   Withoute cause, ser, we come not this carle to accuse hym,
And that will we ye witt as wele is worthy.

PILATUS   Now I recorde wele the right, ye will no rathere refuse hym
To he be dreven to his dede and demed to dye;
But takes hym unto you forthe
And like as youre lawe will you lere,
Deme ye his body to abye.

ANNA   O, Sir Pilate, withouten any pere,
Do way;
Ye wate wele withouten any were
Us falles not, nor oure felowes in feere,
To slo no man, yourself the soth say.

PILATUS   Why suld I deme to dede than withoute deservyng in dede?
But I have herde al haly why in hertes ye hym hate.
He is fautles, in faith, and so God mote me spede;
I graunte hym my gud will to gang on his gate.

CAIPHAS   Nought so, ser, for wele ye it wate,
To be kyng he claymeth with croune,
And whoso stoutely will steppe to that state
Ye suld deme, ser, to be dong doune
And dede.

PILATUS   Sir, trulye that touched to tresoune,
And or I remewe, he rewe sall that reasoune
And or I stalke or stirre fro this stede.

Sir knyghtis that ar comly, take this caystiff in keping;
Skelpe hym with scourges and with skathes hym scorne;
Wrayste and wrynge hym to, for wo to he be wepyng,
And than bryng hym before us as he was beforne.

I MILES   He may banne the tyme he was borne;
Sone sall he be served as ye saide us.

ANNA   Do wappe of his wedis that are worne.

II MILES   All redy, ser, we have arayde us,
Have done.
To this broll late us buske us and brayde us
As Ser Pilate has propirly prayde us.

III MILES   We sall sette to hym sadly sone.

IV MILES   Late us gete of his gere, God giffe hym ille grace.

I MILES   Thai ere tytt of tite, lo, take ther his trasshes.

III MILES   Nowe knytte hym in this corde.

II MILES                                                     I am cant in this case.

IV MILES   He is bun faste, nowe bete on with bittir brasshis.

I MILES   Go on, lepis, harye, lordingis, with lasshes
And enforce we this faitour to flay hym.

II MILES   Late us driffe to hym derfly with dasshes,
Alle rede with oure rowtes we aray hym
And rente hym.

III MILES   For my parte I am prest for to pay hym.

IV MILES   Ya, sende hym sorow, assaye hym.

I MILES   Take hym that I have tome for to tente hym.

II MILES   Swyng to this swyre, to swiftely he swete.

III MILES   Swete may this swayne for sweght of oure swappes.

IV MILES   Russhe on this rebald and hym rathely rehete.

I MILES   Rehete hym, I rede you, with rowtes and rappes.

II MILES   For all oure noy, this nygard he nappes.

III MILES   We sall wakken hym with wynde of oure whippes.

IV MILES   Nowe flynge to this flaterer with flappes.

I MILES   I sall hertely hitte on his hippes
And haunch.

II MILES   Fra oure skelpes not scatheles he skyppes.

III MILES   Yitt hym list not lyft up his lippis,
And pray us to have pety on his paunch.

IV MILES   To have petie of his paunche he propheres no prayere.

I MILES   Lorde, how likis thou this lake and this lare that we lere you?

II MILES   Lo, I pull at his pilche, I am prowd payere.

III MILES   Thus youre cloke sall we cloute to clence you and clere you.

IV MILES   I am straunge in striffe for to stere you.

I MILES   Thus with choppes this churll sall we chastye.

II MILES   I trowe with this trace we sall tere you.

III MILES   All thin untrew techyngis thus taste I,
Thou tarand.

IV MILES   I hope I be hardy and hasty.

I MILES   I wate wele my wepon not wast I.

II MILES   He swounes or sweltes, I swarand.

III MILES   Late us louse hym lightyly, do lay on your handes.

IV MILES   Ya, for and he dye for this dede, undone ere we all.

I MILES   Nowe unboune is this broll, and unbraced his bandes.

II MILES   O, fule, how faris thou now, foull mott thee fall.

III MILES   Nowe because he oure kyng gon hym call,
We will kyndely hym croune with a brere.

IV MILES   Ya, but first this purpure and palle
And this worthy wede sall he were
For scorne.

I MILES   I am prowd at this poynte to apper.

II MILES   Latte us clethe hym in ther clothes full clere
As a lorde that his lordshippe has lorne.

III MILES   Lange or thou mete slike a menye as thou mett with this morne.2

IV MILES   Do sette hym in this sete as a semely in sales.

I MILES   Now thryng to hym thrally with this thikk thorne.

II MILES   Lo, it heldes to his hede, that the harnes out hales.

III MILES   Thus we teche hym to tempre his tales,
His brayne begynnes for to blede.

IV MILES   Ya, his blondre has hym broght to ther bales;
Now reche hym and raught hym in a rede
So rounde,
For his septure it serves indede.

I MILES   Ya, it is gode inowe in this nede,
Late us gudly hym grete on this grounde.

Ave, riall roy and rex Judeorum!
Hayle, comely kyng, that no kyngdom has kende;
Hayll, undughty duke, thi dedis ere dom,
Hayll, man unmyghty, thi menye to mende.

III MILES   Hayll, lord without lande for to lende,
Hayll, kyng, hayll knave unconand.

IV MILES   Hayll, freyke, without forse thee to fende,
Hayll, strang, that may not wele stand
To stryve.

I MILES   We, harlott, heve up thy hande,
And us all that thee wirschip are wirkand
Thanke us, ther ill mot thou thryve.

II MILES   So late lede hym belyve and lenge her no lenger,
To Ser Pilate, oure prince, oure pride will we prayse.

III MILES   Ya, he may synge or he slepe of sorowe and angir,
For many derfe dedes he has done in his dayes.

IV MILES   Now wightly late wende on oure wayes,
Late us trusse us, no tyme is to tarie.

I MILES   My lorde, will ye listen oure layes?
Here this boy is ye bade us go bary
With battis.

II MILES   We ar combered his corpus for to cary,
Many wightis on hym wondres and wary.
Lo, his flessh al be beflapped that fat is.

PILATUS   Wele, bringe hym before us as he blisshes all bloo.
I suppose of his seggyng he will cese evermore.
Sirs, beholde upon hight and ecce homoo,
Thus bounden and bette and broght you before.
Me semes that it sewes hym full sore,
For his gilte on this grounde is he grevyd,
If you like for to listen my lore.
In race
. . .
[PILATUS]   For propirly by this processe will I preve
I had no force fro this felawshippe this freke for to fende.

PRECO   Here is all, ser, that ye for sende;
Wille ye wasshe whill the water is hote?

      Tunc lavat manus suas.

PILATUS   Nowe this Barabas bandes ye unbende,
With grace late hym gange on his gatis
Where ye will.

BARABAS   Ye worthy men, that I here wate,
God encrece all youre comely estate,
For the grace ye have graunt me untill.

PILATUS   Here the jugement of Jesus, all Jewes in this stede:
Crucifie hym on a crosse and on Calverye hym kill.
I dampne hym today to dy this same dede;
Therfore hyngis hym on hight uppon that high hill;
And on aythir side hym I will
That a harlott ye hyng in this hast.
Methynkith it both reasoune and skill
Emyddis, sen his malice is mast,
Ye hyng hym.
Then hym turmente, som tene for to tast.
Mo wordis I will not nowe wast,
But blynne not to dede to ye bryng hym.

CAIPHAS   Sir, us semys in oure sight that ye sadly has saide.
Now knyghtis that are conant with this catyf ye care,
The liffe of this losell in youre list is it laide.

I MILES   Late us alone, my lorde, and lere us na lare.
Siris, sette to hym sadly and sare,
All in cordis his coorse umbycast.

II MILES   Late us bynde hym in bandis all bare.

II MILES   Here is one, full lange will it laste.

IV MILES   Lay on hande here.

V MILES   I powll to my poure is past.
Nowe feste is he, felawes, ful fast;
Late us stere us, we may not long stand here.

ANNA   Drawe hym faste hense, delyvere you, have done.
Go, do se hym to dede withoute lenger delay,
For dede bus hym be nedlyng be none.
All myrthe bus us move tomorne that we may;
Itt is sothly oure grette Sabott day,
No dede bodis unberid sall be.

VI MILES   We see wele the soth ye us say.
We sall traylle hym tyte to his tree,
Thus talkand.

IV MILES   Farewele, now wightely wende we.

PILATUS   Nowe certis, ye are a manly menye.
Furth in the wylde wanyand be walkand.
bound; law; allegiance; (see note)
handsome men; fair; appear
jabber in no wise
damn; (i.e., execute)

desires; reverence

shall put; chains; (i.e., punish)

men; space enclosed
Stop; moving about must cease
wretch very noisily; brawling
loudly; men; halls
caitiff; talking; calling
custody (misery)

man; grins; complains

(i.e., he will be sorry); man; challenge

quickly to please
worthy; blows; harm

make him fear
is he hurt

punishment; chastised; (t-note)

[line missing, see textual note]
tormenting; flayed

injury; blows
anger; (t-note)

beneficial; peace; (see note)
unbeneficial; [be for] you

press (assembly)
see; are coming

believe; lie; (t-note)
are owed some

wretch (brawler); bonds (tied up)
hear; (see note)

expounded until now; (t-note)
each and every; (t-note)
place [in this world]; established yet
liberal person

at this time
hold you back

good; courteously; greets; (see note)

(should) meet


lazy fellow; reveal

questions; speak
dumb; door; remain
fault; could

quickly; go

fault; found

faults; found

harm; not warranted

endeavored; deceiver; punish
hall; words
beard; bay (shout)

[some] marvel
sayings; at odds

bluster; breeds; dissension

curse; flee

Against; he speaks; (see note)
gives him; injures [us]
such outrages

alleges; establishes
falsehood; found

kill; hesitate

matter; discovered
trick (deception)

call up; crowd; good men; (t-note)
clever; a crowd; ere

(see note)


deceiver; evil
expounding; wicked

(i.e., are irrelevant)
reward (bribe)
has taken hold
boy (peasant)



speak [to]

feign such; punish
excessive; (see note)

too; assist
(i.e., have him brought)
let; approve
acts; order

alert; aware

we fear nothing [concerning] him

(i.e., get about it)

Unclothe; beat; clout; (see note)
obedient; willing

rascal (reprobate); go


urge; more; (t-note)
go quickly; lead; (t-note)

in trouble are; placed
insist great; occurred

clutches; beaten; struck

lashed, beaten; surrounded

shouted at; struck violently; hit
annoyance; broadcast; (t-note)

fellow here

spot; (see note)
Unless he fashions; trick
try; question; practices; (t-note)

am astonished; (see note)

anger (violence)

fellows; affliction causes; roar
Are; mad

[that] such


are; mad; strength fails

shafts shook
worthless fellow; on every side

bow down

(i.e., draw and quarter); (t-note)
on every side; blow (wave)
bow; rascal; low
deceivers; falsehood

power; prevent

lie, hear you, rascal (fool)
would admit it

hold them
tipped over; hold
Unknown to us


seemed; (t-note)

man; subtlety; sect; seized

man; attempts; discomfitted

nose; infected
chicken heart

blow; wheezed

tried [to perform]

allowed yourselves; overcome
unhappy (fainthearted) caitiffs

(see note)
strength; prove
(i.e., bowed not once)

most fearful; found
message; bear

strongest; danger
(i.e., hold up)
eagerly; bound

obeyed; words (command)
big (strong) men
are; fierce; men; go
lads; tall

(i.e., hurry)
rush (proceed)

quickly; the way

game (sport)

men; live; town
fierce; assailed

Know; [only] thought [so]


suspect; deceptive

ask ere; (i.e., go away)

lads; listen; orders
Take up; brightly; shine
persons; breadth; hair; (t-note)
Immediately; pain


shakes; (i.e., is disgraced)

settles; sinks down

twists; moves
shatters, bursts
let my hand be hacked off

boast; vented

speak; there is no need
abominably; repays him

death; drawn [and quartered]

(see note)
[away] from
On his way
staunchly; (i.e., to the dock)


lowest; called

reputation; (t-note)

twisted; wrong

rose up; in my might [could]
deed; mind

rascal; discourteously

made a huge effort

Quickly; let; go
verdict; properly prescribe
(i.e., to behold [publicly])


By; (see note)

royally; rose

know; convict; (t-note)

believe (respect)

serious allegation

of earth; (see note)
well-being; wield

evilly; fare
(i.e., accuse me of)

are mad; entire crowd
man; lying; perceive

we want you to know

never release

pay [the penalty]


We are not allowed; (see note)

entirely; [your] hearts
(see note)
go; way

well you know it

struck down

ere; go; be sorry [for]
walk; place

Whip; blows
Twist; too; until


tear off; clothes; (see note)

wretch (brawler); hurry

take off; gear (clothes); give

are pulled off quickly; ragged garments


bound; blows

leap (i.e., be vigorous); harry (beat)
set out; deceiver

move in on him cruelly; blows
red; blows



neck, until; sweats; (t-note)

force; blows; (t-note)

fiercely assail

Attack; blows

annoyance; niggard; naps

strike at; blows

blows; unscathed; goes


pity; offers

game; lore

garment; payer


strong; strife; bestir

blows; chastise

course [of action]; tear

your; test
?chameleon (tarandre); (see note)


is overcome; swear [to you]; (see note)


die; deed; are

wretch; bonds (ropes); (see note)

fool; befall

briar; (see note)

purple (royal) garment; pall; (see note)


halls (i.e., at court); (see note)

thrust; vigorously

brains; come


stirring up of strife; sorrows
seize; give; reed; (see note); (t-note)



Hail, royal king; king of the Jews; (see note)
weak; dumb (worthless)


fellow; strength

[mock] worship; working (striving)

let lead; quickly; stay here; (see note)


quickly let


burdened; body; cause suffering
are astonished and curse
beaten (bruised)

blushes; livid; (t-note)
speaking; cease
high; behold the man; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)

[missing pages, see textual note]

strength; man; defend; (t-note)

Then he washes his hands; (t-note)

bonds (ropes); untie; (t-note)


granted to me

Hear; place; (see note)

damn; death

criminal; hang; haste

Amidst; most

torment; pain; experience
do not stop until

wise; go
rascal; as you desire

teach; no lore; (t-note)

cords; body bind

pull until; strength
fast (secure); (see note)

(see note)


dead bodies unburied

drag; quickly; cross

waning [of moon]; walking

Go To Play 34, The Road to Calvary