Play 40, The Travelers to Emmaus
Play 40, THE TRAVELERS TO EMMAUS: FOOTNOTES
2 He being without sin, thus they honored his spirit
3 They shook him and jerked him until his limbs were all asunder
4 On account of the right order (progression) of plays that press on urgently
Play 40, THE TRAVELERS TO EMMAUS: EXPLANATORY NOTES
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 play is assigned to the Woolpackers and Woolbrokers in the Ordo paginarum, which gives the names of the disciples as Luke and Cleophas. Confusingly the running title over the pageant in the Register lists the Winedrawers, and at the head of the first page the Sledmen are noted in a later hand. In the shorter list in the Memorandum Book A/Y, the “Wolpakkers” are given the “Apparicio Christi peregrinis.”1 The play is based on the Gospel reading, Luke 24:13–35, for the Monday after Easter.2 It also follows roughly the structure of the liturgical Peregrinus,3 a form that was documented in England in an example from Lichfield that is contained in the Shrewsbury Fragments, which were somehow related to the York plays.4 The pageant’s relevance to the feast of Corpus Christi, a celebration of the Eucharist, is obvious, since the central event of the pageant was the revelation of Jesus in the breaking of the bread, unfortunately imperfectly preserved in the York manuscript. F. C. Gardiner perceptively comments concerning the structure of this play, on account of what had been seen in previous pageants and will be seen in the subsequent ones, that it “assures the audience of a universe in which pilgrimage will evolve along the successive stages of an achieved transcendence.”5 The long alliterative line appears in eight-line stanzas in the first 152 lines in the York play, while in the final section the verse adopts quatrains without abandoning alliteration.
9–10 The pageant has begun with a short speech by Luke, who is now joined by Cleophas. The text demands that they should be walking, as pilgrims. The most usual marks of a pilgrim are a staff, a distinctive hat, and a scallop shell. An early fifteenth-century set of panels in York Minster Chapter House shows them also with bare feet (YA, p. 97). For discussion see C. Davidson, From Creation to Doom, pp. 158–60.
14 Emax, this castell. Emmaus, identified as a castellum in the Vulgate (Luke 24:13), a mistaken translation of the Greek text, which specifies a village.
67–69 What are thes mervailes . . . wayes? Jesus, pretending ignorance, joins the two disciples, who are led to believe that he is a pilgrim returning from Jerusalem. The disciples will avoid towns for good reason, for they know that, on account of their relationship to Jesus, their lives may be in danger.
112 nowe is this the thirde daye. Identifying the day as Sunday, Easter day. The second disciple, Cleophas, will report that news has come of a remarkable sight; this has been relayed by the holy women who have witnessed the empty tomb and the angel messenger who “tolde thame ther Lorde was alyve” (line 120).
134–36 And also to Moyses gan he saie . . . and teched. See Luke 24:27: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him.”
154 her is a sege. Jesus will be seated for a meal. Depictions in the visual arts conventionally show his seat to be the place of honor. The table may already be outfitted with bread and other food and drink, or these are brought on by a servant without any delay.
157–58 Nowe blisse I this brede . . . you to feede. Jesus will bless the bread in a manner reminiscent of the ceremonial way in which it is done in the canon of the Mass, and will ask the disciples to eat “faithfully,” again phrasing that suggests offering the Eucharistic bread in Communion. The missing segment of text at line 159 unfortunately occurs at the point when they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread — and the point at which he disappears. Butterworth comments on the equivalent scenes in the Chester and Towneley plays, and indicates the importance of the disappearance happening like an instantaneous vanishing act to preserve the illusion (Magic, pp. 75–76).
185 Menskfully in mynde thes materes now merkis. The sight of Jesus at the blessing of the bread has left a mark on their minds. The concept needs to be understood by means of late medieval theory of vision, which, following the classic philosophers, involved impressions on the memory. The memory is like wax upon which images are imprinted or marked. See Plato, Theaetetus (191c), in Collected Dialogues, p. 897, and the discussion in Carruthers, Book of Memory, pp. 21–22.
Play 40, THE TRAVELERS TO EMMAUS: TEXTUAL NOTES
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 PERIGRINUS. So throughout in Reg.
That. In Reg, letter T is sketched in as strapwork initial enclosing outline of a face.
4 Reg: at right in margin by JC: hic de novo facto.
6 Reg: Hic caret in right margin (deleted).
9 Reg: at right, in margin: Hic de novo facto.
11 Reg: at right, in margin: De novo facto.
11–12 Lineation as in LTS.
12 brothere. So LTS, RB; Reg: brothe.
18 tales. Reg: letter s added by different scribe.
20 bales. Reg: letter s added by a different scribe.
83 Forthy. So RB; LTS: For-thy; Reg: For they.
85 of. Reg: of of.
87–88 Reg gives lines to I Perigrinus; LTS, RB reassign to II Perigrinus.
92 takkid. So LTS, RB; Reg: talkid.
96 Reg: thei putte hym appears at end of line; rearranged by LTS.
107 bolned. Letter l added by LH.
109 we. Reg has w written over h.
111 Israell. So LTS, RB; Reg: Iraell.
132 Reg: line 134 mistakenly entered here (deleted).
136–37 Lines reversed in Reg.
151 dowte. So RB; Reg, LTS: dowe.
156 Two lines following are missing in Reg.
159–60 Lines reversed in Reg. LTS suggests adding to beginning of line 159: To feed theron unterly.
181 wais. Reg: letter i interlined by LH.
186 preche. Altered from prechid in Reg.
it. Interlined in Reg.
193 bringe. RB queries whether us or you should follow this word.
Play 40, THE TRAVELERS TO EMMAUS: EXPLANATORY NOTE FOOTNOTES
Footnote 1 For discussion, see RB, pp. 456–57.
Footnote 2 York Missal, 1:128.
Footnote 3 Young, Drama of the Medieval Church, 1:471–76.
Footnote 4 Davis, ed., Non-Cycle Plays, pp. 4–7; see also the brief discussion in C. Davidson, Festivals and Plays, pp. 31–32.
Footnote 5 Gardiner, Pilgrimage of Desire, p. 147.
[The Woolpackers and Woolbrokers]
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