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Play 38, The Resurrection


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 York pageant, mounted by the Carpenters who are known to have supported their own religious guild devoted to the Resurrection,1 incorporates material typically associated with the liturgical Visitato Sepulchri but embeds it in the story of the four knights chosen by Pilate to guard the sepulcher. Their narrative may be read elsewhere, as, for example, in the Northern Passion, and they emerge as nearly necessary depictions on representations of the Resurrection.2 There is a strong connection in this pageant with image devotion, with a focus on seeing the rising of Jesus out of the tomb to the accompaniment of liturgical music, identified by Rastall as Christus resurgens, shared with the York Elevatio ceremony performed on Easter morning.3 The Harleian text of the Northern Passion indicates that anyone who “heres or redes” (line 20) the narrative will be given Christ’s blessing and a hundred days of pardon in Purgatory granted by Pope Innocent,4 and one would imagine that a similar blessing could likely have been expected from seeing and hearing the story as staged at Corpus Christi. At some point a copy of the York Resurrection was borrowed by a compiler of the Towneley collection, formerly thought to be the Wakefield cycle, and the two texts even share, as Beadle has noticed, a corrupt passage (York, lines 294–98; Towneley, lines 452–58).5 The Towneley version, which was derived from an independent copy of the play that is now lost, confirms the expected character designations for the Marys, with the first being Mary Magdalen, the second Mary the mother of James, and the third Mary Salome, and it also provides some readings that correct mistakes by the scribe who entered the play into the York Register. The York Resurrection, which in some ways is the climax of the York cycle, uses a six-line stanza.

1–36 The high priests have gone to Pilate and argue with him about the Crucifixion, which they claim was justified and reasonable. The Centurion will, however, contradict their assertions about its justice and even insist that Jesus “was Goddis Sone almyghty” (line 75).

86–97 In answer to Caiphas’ request for some “tokenyngis trewe” (line 81), the Centurion rehearses a list of remarkable signs, including an eclipse, that occurred at the Crucifixion. These are based on Matthew 27:51–54, and represent something “outside nature” that will be accepted as such by the audience (see Twycross, “Playing ‘The Resurrection,'” p. 279). Lines 93–94 are confused but refer to the arising of men from their graves in Matthew 27:52–53. Pilate, however, will dismiss the eclipse as a natural phenomenon (line 99), but more ominously Caiphas renews his charge of sorcery, for that is the only way he believes dead men could rise and walk (lines 103–04).

123–24 Such wondir reasouns as he redis / Was nevere beforne. Sharply distinguishing the York Pilate from the more hostile high priests. Thereafter Caiphas and Anna will launch into a rehearsal of their charges, now including their fear that Jesus’ body will be stolen from the grave (lines 147–48). Pilate agrees to guard the tomb and will appoint soldiers to do so.

183 On ilke a side latte us sitte doune. Embedded stage direction. The soldiers have arrived at the tomb and are taking their places at its four corners. They will sit, a convenient posture from which to show them sleeping. They are sometimes shown thus in iconography, and not infrequently take their places in niches in the tomb.

186 s.d. Tunc Jhesu resurgente. Rastall points out that this stage direction, by the main scribe, refers ahead to the speech by the first Mary as “warning her not to speak until Christ has risen from the tomb and left the playing area” (Minstrels Playing, p. 9n14). The silence of Jesus is striking when, if the usual iconography is maintained, he steps out of the coffer tomb, perhaps onto the back of one of the sleeping soldiers. As Sheingorn notes, this involved “a significant change in content from the Latin plays” and “underscored the theme of triumph which is an inseparable part of the celebration” (“Moment of the Resurrection,” p. 111). For further discussion, see C. Davidson, "Memory, the Resurrection, and Early Drama," pp. 3–37, and Twycross, “Playing ‘The Resurrection’.” Whether Jesus’ rising is accompanied by a “gret erthe dyn” or earthquake as the angel descends to roll back the stone (see Matthew 28:2, and the Pepysian Gospel Harmony, p. 102) we do not know, but it was feasible and would have been a stunning introduction to the action and the singing of the angel. The Coventry plays are known to have had a “baryll for the yerthe quake” (REED: Coventry, p. 474), but not for the Resurrection pageant.
Tunc angelus cantat Resurgens. This is added in a later hand, but likely represents long-standing practice. As noted above, the item must be Christus resurgens, of which several possibilities are available, the most likely of which is perhaps the antiphon (see Rastall, Minstrels Playing, pp. 35–36). Dutka translates: “Christ having risen from the dead dies now no more: death shall have no more dominion over him. [For the life he lives, he lives with God. Alleluia, Alleluia]” (Music, p. 115). The first soldier, who has heard the singing in his sleep, will report that they “herde never sen we were borne / . . . Suche melodie” (lines 384–86). The angel traditionally wears an alb, taking the description in Mark 16:5 of a white garment as a prescription. The Pepysian Gospel Harmony describes the angel as wearing “clothes als white as snow” and having a “visage als rede as fyre” (p. 102).

187 Allas, to dede I wolde be dight. Beginning the laments of the Marys, leading up to their discovery at the tomb.

195–96 he is medicyne / And bote of all. Still the first Mary refers to Jesus as “medicyne,” a medical solution to the problems of guilt and despair; see 1 Peter 2:24, which asserts, referring to Jesus’ Passion and suffering on the cross, “by whose stripes you were healed.” The actor playing Jesus who has just been seen by the audience will still seem to bear the wounds of his suffering, perhaps still wet, as the second Mary remembers them in the next speech.

203 graven under the grete. The grave, however, is almost certainly a coffer tomb, not one that is sunk into the ground.

213 anoynementis faire and clere. Mary I, identified in Towneley as Mary Magdalen, traditionally would have carried a jar containing ointment and spices, iconography in part conflating her (incorrectly) with the reformed prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon — an act which, as we have seen, plays a role in Judas’ plot to kill his Master (see Play 36, lines 129–54).

230 The hevy stone is putte aside. Suggesting the cover of the coffer tomb usually seen in depictions in the visual arts (see YA, pp. 91–92) rather than the stone which requires rolling away in Mark 16:3 and Luke 24:2, nor is it a tomb that can be entered, as in John 20:5 and in some liturgical dramas (see especially Ogden, “Visitatio Sepulchri: Public Enactment and Hidden Rite”).

235–40 Ye mournand women . . . . / Here in this place whome have ye sought? . . . Come nere and see. Compare the Quem queritis exchange in the liturgical Easter play, the Visitatio sepulchri, of which, however, there is no evidence in York service books.

243 The sudary. Love explains that the sudary was the head wrap that Jesus wore at his burial, but also indicates that the other “clothes that he was wrapped inne” were found (Mirror, p. 198). The grave clothes were presented as a prime piece of evidence of the Resurrection here as in such liturgical dramas as the well-known Fleury Visitatio (Young, Drama of the Medieval Church, 1:394–95). The sudary will be shown to the audience. While Twycross suggests that the effect, in contrast with the liturgical drama, is “curiously distant” (“Playing ‘The Resurrection,’” p. 293), we can hardly be sure that this was the case. It is not a relic like the Turin shroud, but it represents the actual cloth in which Jesus was buried and hence is likely to have had a devotional role in the drama.

260 To Galilé nowe late us wende. Mary II and Mary III go to inform the disciples of what they have seen.

267–88 Mary I’s lament, continued after the departure of the other Marys. This is made all the more urgent when it is remembered that this is Mary Magdalen, who is represented as the repentant “Sinner” and that this is a saint with whom personal identification was often very strong among some members of the audience. She is the woman who had a special love for Jesus, a point that is exploited tastelessly in the twentieth-century musical Jesus Christ Superstar. When she completes her lament, she must leave the stage, and just then the soldiers, who have been sleeping throughout the previous scene, rouse themselves to find that Jesus is gone from the grave.

310–11 Witte Sir Pilate of this affraye, / We mon be slone. While being witnesses to the Resurrection (note especially line 293a: “Rise uppe and see”), the soldiers are primarily motivated by their fear of being executed for dereliction of duty, here presented as a capital crime. At first they consider lying, but then resolve to tell the truth — that is, that it was a supernatural event; see line 332.

339 We dye but onys. Proverbial. See Whiting and Whiting, Proverbs, D243.

348ff. The soldiers, now back at Pilate’s court, will try to explain their failure. Caiphas and Anna, who are also present, recognize the importance of the event but of course misunderstand its essential character. They will make suggestions for what, in the current jargon, will be a “cover-up.” The knights will be bribed to remain quiet about the event. In Gréban’s Passion the soldiers insist on a large payment “because they are selling something very rare and precious: Truth” (Muir, Biblical Drama, p. 140).

450–51 Thus schall the sothe be bought and solde, / And treasoune schall for trewthe be tolde. Pilate emerges as a politician, one more interested in himself and in public relations affecting him, than in the truth. These words are followed by a mock benediction in which the audience is urged to hold this advice “ay in youre hartis,” a lesson quite at variance with the meaning of the Resurrection that the audience has just seen in representation.


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 PILATUS. Reg: entered by LH.

52 Reg: line omitted by Scribe B, inserted at right by LH.

68 At left in Reg, by LH: Hic deficit.

93 tremeled, and also manne. Compare Towneley: tremlyd as a man.

147 menne. Compare Towneley: dyscyplys.

158 to. So LTS, RB, after Towneley; Reg omits.

163 Reg adds, interlined in LH after knightis: Lorde.

175 I MILES. Added by LH in Reg.

186, s.d. Tunc Jhesu resurgente. Reg: stage direction by Scribe B, in red, and, at right, JC’s addition Tunc angelus cantat Resurgens.

188 werke. Compare Towneley: warlde.

198 hym on. This edition; Reg, LTS: on hym on; RB: on hym.

217 II MARIA. So LTS, RB; Reg: I Maria; compare Towneley: Maria Jacobi.

245 his. So LTS, RB; Reg: his his.

254 Reg: at left, by LH: Et hic deficit (deleted).

257 will. Reg: partially obscured by ink blot.

259 lende. So RB; Reg: layne; so too LTS who, however, notes lende must have been intended (p. 410n).

268 Man most of myght. This line, inserted by LTS from Towneley, replaces JC’s addition in Reg: A weryd wight. Regarded as extra-metrical by RB.

281 Compare Towneley: my gylt he was fortayn.

306 I MILES. So RB, after Towneley; Reg, LTS: III Miles.

326 Compare Towneley: thousand.

346 I MILES. By LH in Reg.

383 I MILES. By LH in Reg.

397 PILATUS. Canceled but marked stet in Reg by LH.

432 CAIPHAS. Added and ruled off in Reg by JC.


Footnote 1 York Memorandum Book B/Y, p. 254.

Footnote 2 See YA, pp. 91–95.

Footnote 3 Rastall, Minstrels Playing, p. 35; Sheingorn, Easter Sepulchre in England, p. 365; and see the discussion by King, York Mystery Cycle, pp. 158–61.

Footnote 4 Northern Passion, 1:249.

Footnote 5 See RB, p. 453.

The Carpenteres



























































































PILATUS   Lordingis, listenys nowe unto me:
I comaunde you in ilke degré
Als domesman chiffe in this contré
For counsaill kende,
Atte my bidding you awe to be
And baynly bende.

And Sir Cayphas, chiffe of clergye,
Of youre counsaill late here in hye,
By oure assente sen we dyd dye
Jesus this day,
That we mayntayne and stande therby
That werke allway.

CAYPHAS   Yis, sir, that dede schall we mayntayne;
By lawe it was done all bedene,
Ye wotte youreselve, withouten wene,
Als wele as we.
His sawes are nowe uppon hym sene,
And ay schall be.

ANNA   The pepull, sirs, in this same steede,
Before you saide with a hole hede
That he was worthy to be dede
And therto sware.
Sen all was rewlid by rightis rede,
Nevyn it no more.

PILATUS   To nevyn me thinketh it nedfull thyng.
Sen he was hadde to beriyng
Herde we nowthir of olde ne ying
Thithynges betwene.

CAYPHAS   Centurio, sir, will bringe thidings
Of all bedene.

We lefte hym there for man moste wise;
If any rebelles wolde ought rise
Oure rightwise dome for to dispise
Or it offende,
To sese thame till the nexte assise
And than make ende.

CENTURIO   A, blissed Lorde, Adonay,
What may thes mervayles signifie
That her was schewed so oppinly
Unto oure sight,
This day whanne that the man gune dye
That Jesus highte?

Itt is a misty thyng to mene;
So selcouth a sight was nevere sene
That oure princes and prestis bedene
Of this affray
I woll go weten withouten wene,
What thei can saye.

God save you, sirs, on ilke a side,
Worschippe and welthe in worldis wide.
With mekill mirthe myght ye abide
Boght day and nyght.

PILATUS   Centurio, welcome this tide,
Oure comely knyght.

Ye have bene miste us here among.

CENTURIO   God giffe you grace grathely to gang.

PILATUS   Centurio, oure frende full lang,
What is your will?

CENTURIO   I drede me that ye have done wrang
And wondir ill.

CAYPHAS   Wondir ill, I pray thee, why?
Declare it to this company.

CENTURIO   So schall I, sirs, telle you trewly
Withowten trayne.
The rightwise mane thanne mene I by
That ye have slayne.

PILATUS   Centurio, sesse of such sawe.
Thou arte a lered man in the lawe,
And if we schulde any witnes drawe
Us to excuse,
To mayntayne us evermore thee awe,
And noght reffuse.

CENTURIO   To mayntayne trouthe is wele worthi.
I saide you, whanne I sawe hym dy,
That he was Goddis Sone almyghty
That hangeth thore.
Yitt saie I soo, and stande therby
For evermore.

CAYPHAS   Ya, sir, such reasouns may ye rewe;
Ye schulde noght neveyn such note enewe,
But ye couthe any tokenyngis trewe
Unto us tell.

CENTURIO   Such woundirfull cas nevere yitt ye knewe
As now befell.

ANNA   We praye thee telle us of what thyng.

CENTURIO   All elementis, both olde and ying,
In ther maneres thai made mornyng
In ilke a stede,
And knewe be countenaunce that ther Kyng
Was done to dede.

The sonne for woo he waxed all wanne,
The mone and sterres of schynyng blanne,
The erthe tremeled, and also manne
Began to speke;
The stones that never was stered or thanne
Gune asondir breke,

And dede men rose, both grete and small.

PILATUS   Centurio, beware withall,
Ye wote oure clerkis the clipsis thei call
Such sodayne sight,
Both sonne and mone that sesoune schall
Lak of ther light.

CAYPHAS   Ya, and if dede men rose bodily,
That myght be done thurgh socery;
Therfore we sette nothyng therby
To be abaiste.

CENTURIO   All that I tell for trewthe schall I
Evermore traste.

In this ilke werke that ye did wirke
Nought allone the sonne was mirke,
But howe youre vaile raffe in youre kirke,
That witte I wolde.

PILATUS   Swilke tales full sone will make us irke
And thei be talde.

ANNA   Centurio, such speche withdrawe;
Of all thes wordes we have none awe.

CENTURIO   Nowe sen ye sette noght be my sawe,
Sirs, have gode day.
God graunte you grace that ye may knawe
The soth alway.

ANNA   Withdrawe thee faste, sen thou thee dredis,
For we schall wele mayntayne oure dedis.

PILATUS   Such wondir reasouns as he redis
Was nevere beforne.

CAIPHAS   To neven this noote no more us nedis,
Nowthere even ne morne.

Therfore loke no manne make ille chere;
All this doyng may do no dere,
But to beware yitt of more were
That folke may fele,
We praye you, sirs, of these sawes sere
Avise you wele.

And to this tale takes hede in hye,
For Jesu saide even opynly
A thyng that greves all this Jury,
And righte so may:
That he schulde rise uppe bodily
Within the thirde day.

And be it so, als motte I spede,
His lattar deede is more to drede
Than is the firste, if we take hede
Or tente therto.
To nevyn this noote methynke moste nede
And beste to do.

ANNA   Ya, sir, if all that he saide soo,
He has no myght to rise and goo
But if his menne stele hym us froo
And bere away.
That were tille us and other moo
A foule fraye,

For thanne wolde thei saie, evere ilkone,
That he roose by hymselffe allone;
Therfore latte hym be kepte anone
With knyghtes hende
Unto thre daies be comen and gone
And broght till ende.

PILATUS   In certayne, sirs, right wele ye saie,
For this ilke poynte nowe to purvaye
I schall ordayne if I may.
He schall not ryse,
Nor none schalle wynne hym thens away
On nokyns wise.

Sir knyghtis, that are in dedis dowty,
Chosen for chiffe of chevalrye,
As we ay in youre force affie
Bothe day and nyght,
Wendis and kepis Jesu body
With all youre myghte.

And for thyng that evere be maye
Kepis hym wele to the thirde day
And latis no man takis hym away
Oute of that stede;
For and thei do, suthly I saie,
Ye schall be dede.

I MILES    Lordingis, we saie you for certayne,
We schall kepe hym with myghtis and mayne;
Ther schall no traitoures with no trayne
Stele hym us froo.
Sir knyghtis, takis gere that moste may gayne
And lates us goo.

II MILES   Yis, certis, we are all redy bowne,
We schall hym kepe till oure rennowne.
On ilke a side latte us sitte doune
Nowe all in fere,
And sone we schall crake his croune
Whoso comes here.

Tunc Jhesu resurgente.

Tunc angelus cantat Resurgens.

I MARIA   Allas, to dede I wolde be dight,
So woo in werke was nevere wight;
Mi sorowe is all for that sight
That I gune see,
Howe Criste my maistir, moste of myght,
Is dede fro me.

Allas, that I schulde se his pyne,
Or yit that I his liffe schulde tyne;
Of ilke a myscheve he is medicyne
And bote of all,
Helpe and halde to ilke a hyne
That hym on wolde call.

II MARIA   Allas, who schall my balis bete
Whanne I thynke on his woundes wete?
Jesu, that was of love so swete
And nevere did ill,
Es dede and graven under the grete
Withouten skill.

III MARIA   Withowten skill the Jewes ilkone
That lovely Lorde has newly slayne,
And trespasse did he nevere none
In nokyn steede.
To whome nowe schall I make my mone
Sen he is dede?

I MARIA   Sen he is dede, my sisteres dere,
Wende we will on mylde manere
With oure anoynementis faire and clere
That we have broght
To noynte his wondis on sides sere
That Jewes hym wroght.

II MARIA   Goo we same my sisteres free.
Full faire us longis his corse to see,
But I wotte noght howe beste may be,
Helpe have we none.
And who schall nowe here of us thre
Remove the stone?

III MARIA   That do we noght but we wer moo,
For it is huge and hevy also.

I MARIA   Sistirs, a yonge childe as we goo
Makand mornyng,
I see it sitte wher we wende to
In white clothyng.

II MARIA   Sistirs, sertis, it is noght to hide:
The hevy stone is putte beside.

III MARIA   Sertis, for thyng that may betyde
Nere will we wende,
To layte that luffely and with hym bide
That was oure frende.

ANGELUS   Ye mournand women in youre thought,
Here in this place whome have ye sought?

I MARIA   Jesu, that to dede is brought,
Oure Lorde so free.

ANGELUS   Women, certayne here is he noght,
Come nere and see.

He is noght here, the soth to saie,
The place is voide that he in laye.
The sudary here se ye may
Was on hym laide.
He is resen and wente his way,
As he you saide.

Even as he saide so done has hee:
He is resen thurgh grete poostee.
He schall be foune in Galilé
In flesshe and fell.
To his discipilis nowe wende ye
And thus thame tell.

I MARIA   Mi sisteres dere, sen it is soo
That he is resen dede thus froo
As the aungell tolde me and yow too,
Oure Lorde so fre,
Hens will I never goo
Or I hym see.

II MARIA   Marie, us thare no lenger lende,
To Galilé nowe late us wende.

I MARIA   Nought tille I see that faithfull frende,
Mi Lorde and leche;
Therfore all this, my sisteres hende,
That ye forth preche.

III MARIA   As we have herde, so schall we saie,
Marie oure sistir, have goode daye.

I MARIA   Nowe, verray God as he wele maye,
Man moste of myght,
He wisse you, sisteres, wele in youre waye
And rewle you right.

Allas, what schall nowe worthe on me?
Mi kaytiffe herte will breke in three
Whenne I thynke on that body free
How it was spilte.
Both feete and handes nayled tille a tre
Withouten gilte.

Withouten gilte the trewe was tane,
For trespas did he nevere none.
The woundes he suffered many one
Was for my misse.
It was my dede he was for slayne
And nothyng his.

How might I but I loved that swete,
That for my love tholed woundes wete
And sithen be graven undir the grete,
Such kyndnes kithe?
There is nothing to that we mete
May make me blithe.

I MILES    What, oute allas! What schall I saie?
Where is the corse that herein laye?

II MILES    What ayles thee, man? Is he awaye
That we schulde tent?

I MILES    Rise uppe and see.

II MILES         Harrowe! For ay,
I telle us schente.

III MILES    What devill is this, what aylis you twoo,
Such noyse and crye thus for to make too?

II MILES    Why, is he gone?

III MILES    Allas, whare is he that here laye?

IV MILES   Whe, harrowe! Devill, whare is he away?

III MILES    What, is he thusgatis fro us wente,
That fals traitour that here was lente?
And we trewly here for to tente
Had undirtane.
Sekirlie, I telle us schente,
Holy ilkane.

I MILES    Allas, what schall we do this day
That thus this warlowe is wente his waye?
And savely, sirs, I dare wele saie
He rose allone.

II MILES    Witte Sir Pilate of this affraye,
We mon be slone.

III MILES    Why, canne none of us no bettir rede?

IV MILES   Ther is not ellis, but we be dede.

II MILES    Whanne that he stered oute of this steede
None couthe it kenne.

I MILES    Allas, harde happe was on my hede,
Amonge all menne.

Fro Sir Pilate witte of this dede,
That we were slepande whanne he yede,
He will forfette withouten drede
All that we have.

II MILES    Us muste make lies, for that is nede
Oureselve to save.

III MILES    Ya, that rede I wele, also motte I goo.

IV MILES   And I assente therto alsoo.

II MILES    An hundereth, schall I saie, and moo
Armed ilkone
Come and toke his corse us froo,
And us nere slayne.

I MILES    Nay, certis, I halde there none so goode
As saie the soth even as it stoode:
Howe that he rose with mayne and mode
And wente his way.
To Sir Pilate if he be wode,
This dar I saie.

II MILES    Why, dare thou to Sir Pilate goo
With thes tydingis and saie hym soo?

I MILES    So rede I, if he us sloo
We dye but onys.

III MILES    Nowe, he that wrought us all this woo,
Woo worthe his bonys.

IV MILES   Go we thanne, sir knyghtis hende,
Sen that we schall to Sir Pilate wende;
I trowe that we schall parte no frendes
Or that we passe.

I MILES    And I schall hym saie ilke worde tille ende,
Even as it was.

Sir Pilate, prince withouten pere,
Sir Cayphas and Anna in fere
And all ye lordyngis that are here
To neven by name,
God save you all, on sidis sere,
Fro synne and schame.

PILATUS   Ye are welcome, oure knyghtis kene,
Of mekill mirthe nowe may ye mene;
Therfore some tales telle us betwene
Howe ye have wroght.

I MILES    Oure wakyng, lorde, withouten wene,
Is worthed to noght.

CAYPHAS   To noght? Allas, sesse of such sawe.

II MILES    The prophete Jesu that ye wele knawe
Is resen and gone, for all oure awe,
With mayne and myght.

PILATUS   Therfore the devill hymselffe thee drawe,
Fals recrayed knyght.

Combered cowardis I you call;
Have ye latten hym goo fro you all?

III MILES    Sir, ther was none that did but small
When that he yede.

IV MILES   We wer so ferde downe ganne we falle,
And dared for drede.

ANNA   Hadde ye no strenghe hym to gaynestande?
Traitoures, ye myght have boune in bande
Bothe hym and thame that ye ther fande
And sessid thame sone.

I MILES    That dede all erthely men levand
Myght noght have done.

II MILES    We wer so radde ever ilkone
Whanne that he putte beside the stone,
We wer so stonyed we durste stirre none
And so abasshed.

PILATUS   What, rose he by hymselfe allone?

I MILES    Ya, sir, that be ye traste.

IV MILES   We herde never sen we were borne,
Nor all oure faderes us beforne,
Suche melodie, mydday ne morne
As was made there.

CAYPHAS   Allas, thanne is oure lawes lorne
For everemare.

II MILES    What tyme he rose good tente I toke.
The erthe that tyme tremylled and quoke,
All kyndely force than me forsoke
Tille he was gone.

III MILES    I was aferde, I durste not loke,
Ne myght had none,

I myght not stande, so was I starke.

PILATUS   Sir Cayphas, ye are a connyng clerke;
If we amysse have tane oure merke,
I trowe same faile;
Therfore what schalle worthe nowe of this werke,
Sais your counsaille?

CAYPHAS   To saie the beste forsothe I schall,
That schall be prophete to us all;
Yone knyghtis behoves there wordis agayne call
Howe he is miste.
We nolde for thyng that myght befall
That no man wiste.

ANNA   Now, Sir Pilate, sen that it is soo
That he is resynne dede us froo,
Comaundis youre knyghtis to saie wher thei goo
That he was tane
With twenty thousand men and mo,
And thame nere slayne.

And therto of oure tresorie
Giffe to thame a rewarde forthy.

PILATUS   Nowe of this purpose wele plesed am I,
And forther thus;
Sir knyghtis, that are in dedis dowty,
Takes tente to us,

And herkenes what that ye schall saie
To ilke a man both nyght and daye,
That ten thousand men in goode araye
Come you untill,
With forse of armys bare hym awaye
Agaynst your will.

Thus schall ye saie in ilke a lande,
And therto on that same comenaunde
A thousande pounde have in youre hande
To your rewarde;
And frenschippe, sirs, ye undirstande
Schall not be spared.

CAIPHAS   Ilkone youre state we schall amende,
And loke ye saie as we you kende.

I MILES    In what contré so ye us sende,
Be nyght or daye,
Wherso we come, wherso we wende,
So schall we saie.

PILATUS   Ya, and whereso ye tarie in ilke contré,
Of oure doyng in no degré
Dois that no manne the wiser be,
Ne freyne beforne,
Ne of the sight that ye gonne see
Nevynnes it nowthere even ne morne.

For we schall mayntayne you alwaye,
And to the pepull schall we saie
It is gretely agaynste oure lay
To trowe such thing.
So schall thei deme, both nyght and day,
All is lesyng.

Thus schall the sothe be bought and solde,
And treasoune schall for trewthe be tolde.
Therfore ay in youre hartis ye holde
This counsaile clene,
And fares nowe wele, both yonge and olde,
Haly bedene.
(see note); (t-note)
each rank
judge chief; country
without delay oblige

cause to die

a doubt

(i.e., come back upon him)

(i.e., without any dissent)



seize; court session

was named

portent; mention

reveal; doubt

Both; (t-note)


worthily to go


just man; mean

cease; words
learned; (t-note)



say (raise); matter anew

(see note)
ways; lamenting


moved ere then





veil was rent asunder; church

If; told

no respect


you are afraid

wondrous; tells; (see note)

speak of; matter; need





mention; matter

steal; (t-note)
bear [him]


let; anon

arrange; (t-note)

In no wise

deeds bold; (t-note)

always; trust

place (grave)



equipment; be helpful

bound (prepared)
for our reputation
(see note)
all together

Then Jesus being risen; (see note); (t-note)

Then the angel sings “[Christ] is arisen”

(see note)
[experienced by] a person; (t-note)

have seen

suffer (the loss of)
(see note)
hold (support); person

sorrows lessen

buried; earth; (see note)

(i.e., anywhere)

(see note)

together; (t-note)
we desire; body

Making mourning

(see note)

for whatever

seek; loved one

(see note)

(see note)

risen; (t-note)

(i.e., physically present)



[need] there; stay; (t-note)
(see note)


(see note)

miserable (unhappy) heart


true one; taken

deed; (t-note)

buried; earth
except that; meet



believe we are destroyed


in this way



[If] learns; (see note)




sleeping; went [away]

advise; go (prosper)

more; (t-note)
each one

(i.e., supernatural power)

even if; angered

once; (see note)

(i.e., Woe upon him)



(see note)



watching; doubt
Comes to naught

cease; words

awe (fear)


Encumbered (Miserable)

went forth

stupefied; fear

bound; bonds (ropes)



may you trust; (t-note)

attention (heed)
natural strength


stiff (with fear)

intelligent; (t-note)
taken; mark (aim)
[we] together
shall become

must; call back

would not


nearly slain






we instructed you

have seen



(see note)

Wholly indeed

Go To Play 39, The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalen