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Play 45, The Assumption of the Virgin (Thomas Apostolus)


1 That he was leader and Lord in their law made no difference

2 Rise up, my dearest one, my dove, tabernacle of glory, container of life, heavenly temple (see explanatory note)

3 Come forth Libanus [Lebanon], my spouse, come forth, thou shalt be crowned (see explanatory note)

4 Then don’t delay now my speaking for to prosper

5 Come, my chosen one, and I will place you on my throne / Because the king greatly desires your beauty (see explanatory note)

6 It will not work to question him; he will not be polite

7 Sirs, my message is intended to bring you some joy


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.

Prior to the Reformation, the Church in England celebrated the Assumption of the Virgin as a major feast on August 15. The Weavers’ pageant dramatizes the legend of the apostle Thomas, absent from her death and burial, who was believed to be returning from his mission in India when he encountered the Virgin Mary being taken up into heaven. To provide him with verification that he had seen her, she removed the girdle from around her waist and gave it to him. The Golden Legend offers a simpler account, only saying that he again was filled with doubt, as he had been after the Resurrection, and her “girdle that had encircled her body fell intact into his hands” as proof.1 The Assumption play at York, which appears to have been the most rich of all the York pageants in music, includes notation in the Register for Surge proxima and Veni de libano sponsa in two versions as well as two settings of Veni electa mea. Rastall has dated the compositions in the middle third of the fifteenth century.2 Since they are integral to the pageant, this would suggest a date when the play itself was re-written in alliterative verse. If heaven is a place rich in music, as was commonly assumed, the singing and likely playing of angel instrumentalists would have been given a very high priority. Angels at York are very commonly depicted as musicians, often performing on instruments.3 Practically speaking for polyphonic music at this time in York, the choices here would have been most likely portative organ and regals rather than the instruments played by minstrels, who were not expected to read music in score. Such instruments, along with harps, are noted in N-Town (Play 41, lines117 s.d., 314 s.d.).4 The York music for the Assumption involves a high level of musical sophistication, and may have been performed by twelve musicians, the number of roles for angels written into the text in the Register. This number of musicians could well have come from York Minster, though excellent musicianship may also be surmised at some of the parish churches and the monastic houses. The Ordo paginarum’s description of the apostle Thomas “preaching in the desert” is not a good fit with what is now present in lines 1–104; this again is indicative of the later date for the playtext as it appears in the Register. In the 1430s or thereabouts the Weavers were an extremely wealthy guild, unlike the same guild in the latter part of the century and in the following century after the migration of the industry to the West Riding.5 The verse appears in thirteen-line stanzas, marked again by alliteration as fully as important as rhyme.

1–97 Thomas rehearses his sorrow “waylyng and weping” over the by-now-familiar events of Christ’s Passion and emphasizes Jesus’ rejection by the Pharisees and his torments, with a more positive note introduced when he recognizes that he has been translated to the valley of Josephat, where, though he does not know it yet, Mary has been buried. Personal engagement over the Passion was encouraged, but Thomas’ tone may seem to some to be out of place here just as Mary Magdalen’s lament over the Crucifixion has been viewed as out of place after the assurances of the angel at the tomb (Play 38, lines 267–87).

98–104 I will steme of my stevene and sted here a stounde . . . for to bide. Embedded stage direction; he is to seat himself “on this banke.” The dramatic purpose is obvious, since he must remain visible through the singing of the angels and the rising of Mary from her grave. Presumably he does not look up to see the angels and Mary until his next speech, beginning at line 118.

after 104 Surge proxima mea. This item does not appear in any service book and, in both versions of the music, is unique to the York cycle. The second (designated the B version by Steiner in her transcriptions appended to Wall, “York Pageant XLVI”) substitutes propera for proxima. As Wall notes, the words echo terms often used to describe the Virgin Mary and derived from the Canticle of Canticles (e.g., 2:10 and 13). Dukta translates: “Rise up, my dearest one, my dove, tabernacle of glory, container of life, heavenly temple” (Music, p. 118). The rich imagery here of dove, tabernacle, temple, even “container of life” as applied to Mary had been developed by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and was a strong presence in fifteenth-century Mariology (see the useful commentary in M. Warner, Alone of All Her Sex, pp. 121–33), but in fact seems more immediately to have derived from the Golden Legend (Jacobus de Voragine, 2:95–97). John Stevens has noted that the scribe who inserted the music into the text was “perhaps one of the cantors of the cathedral” and that “he fully understood the notation he was using, with its complicated system of ligatures and coloured notes” (“Music of Play XLVI,” p. 466). For a more extended discussion of the songs in the Weavers’ pageant, see especially Rastall, Heaven Singing, pp. 121–37.

105–17 The angels then speak, in rapid fashion urging the Virgin to arise from her grave and come up with them to heaven. The terminology they use through the eighth angel’s speech — rose, lily, dove especially — is again reminiscent of the Canticle of Canticles. Iconography suggests angels supporting Mary within an aureole as she ascends to the heights of heaven, where her Son is located (see YA, pp. 105–07, and, for Torre’s description of the Virgin ascending with four angels surrounding her at the Bedern Chapel, O’Connor, “Bedern Stained Glass,” pp. 564 and 567).

after 117 Veni de libano sponsa, veni coronaberis. The text is a direct quote from the Canticle of Canticles 4:8: “Come from Libanus [Lebanon], my spouse, come from Libanus, come: thou shalt be crowned.” The reference to the crowned bride in this Old Testament passage was regarded as foreshadowing the Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin. Wall points out further connections of these words with the liturgy (“York Pageant XLVI,” p. 695).

118–23 Thomas now is to look up to see Mary (perhaps “babbe” in line 120 should read “berde,” i.e., Lady, as Beadle believes). Thomas sees her gleaming shape as she glides up, an indication of movement that is surely very gentle. He will also comment on the “melody” of the angels’ singing, here referring to Veni de libano. This will lead to Mary’s notice of him in the following lines and her command “do way all thi doutes” (he is still temperamentally doubting Thomas).

131–43 Exchanging “thy” for “my,” Thomas repeats Mary’s line, and then continues with a set of “Hail” verses to complete the thirteen-line stanza. These lines contain entirely conventional terminology in praise of the Virgin, regarded as most worthy of women, the second Eve, the remedy for human misery, and one who will intercede at the throne of the Most High for those who are devoted to her. She must be suspended above the earth at this time and remain so until line 200, after which she must very slowly be taken up as the dialogue continues.

166–67 I schall thee schewe / A token trewe. In response to Thomas’ complaint in lines 164–65 that his fellow apostles will not believe him. The token will be her “girdill” (line 169), which she must toss down to him. If this is to be done effectively, he must catch it.

170–78 Mary is compared to a tree, from “reverent rote” to “floure” and ”frewte.” There is a hint here of Jesse tree iconography in which she emerges at the top with the fruit of her womb, Jesus.

185–91 in sightte of my Sone ther is sittand . . . grace. She will “knele to that comely,” her Son, Jesus, in support of her followers, even when they have fallen into despair, if they beg her help. And she will prevail: “He schall graunte thame ther grace.”

193 womanne in childinge. As noted in commentary to Play 44, lines 143–50, prayers to the Virgin were believed to be particularly efficacious and especially needed at childbirth. A relic of her girdle at Westminster was lent out to women in childbirth.

202–08 Thomas’ farewells are spoken as Mary is received into heaven, and these again are laden with conventional Marian imagery.

after 208 Veni electa mea et ponam in te tronum meum / Quia concupivit rex speciem tuam. A liturgical text, a Matins responsory for the feast of the Assumption in the Use of York, in this case celebrating Mary’s arrival in heaven; see Rastall, “Heaven: The Musical Repertory,” p. 186. Dutka translates: “Come, my chosen one, and I will place you on my throne because the king greatly desires your beauty” (Music, p. 120). She is the elect bride of the Canticle of Canticles, the Sponsa united with the Sponsus, and, as the chosen one, will be placed on a throne beside the Sponsus who is Jesus.

218 God saffe you in feere. Thomas now comes to the disciples and greets them. There are four, not the eight specified in the Ordo paginarum. He is cheerful, but they react negatively immediately on account of their sorrow at the loss of Mary; see Andrew’s charge that he is bragging and boasting (line 226). They are the ones who now need to see a physical sign, which he will finally show at line 248. Since they will require more physical evidence, they will visit the tomb and search it only to find that the “glorious and goodely is gone fro this grave” (line 262).

282–83 Nowe knele we ilkone / Upponne oure kne. Embedded stage direction, followed by the apostles’ brief prayer to Mary in heaven, and then their departure to their various places of evangelizing, with Thomas having the final speech (lines 300–12).


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).

Title Thomas Apostulus. Reg: written as title, but also serving to designate speaker.

40 thei. . . ther. So RB; Reg, LTS: the . . . the.

47 were. So LTS, RB; Reg: we.

62–63 Reg: added by Scribe B in left margin.

104 Music for Surge proxima follows in Reg.

117 Music for Veni de Libano follows in Reg.

132 in. So LTS, RB; Reg: an.

187 who. This edition Reg, LTS: what; RB: who in.

189 swynke. So RB; Reg, LTS: synke.

208 Music for Veni electa mea follows in Reg.

236 has of-turned. So RB; Reg, LTS: of has turned.

250 message. So RB; Reg, LTS: messages.

256 Line misplaced in Reg (following line 258 in Reg).

312 Reg: songs follow, with music: Surge propera [sic] mea (second version), and Veni de Libano (second version).


Footnote 1 Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, 2:82.

Footnote 2 Personal communication from Richard Rastall; he had previously suggested dating the music between 1430 and 1450 (Heaven Singing, p. 134).

Footnote 3 See YA, pp. 185–92, for discussion and a list of instruments in the parish churches, Minster, and other locations that will show the majority played by angel instrumentalists. See also Remnant, “Musical Instruments.”

Footnote 4 See also Remnant, “Musical Instruments,” pp. 174–75.

Footnote 5 Palliser, Tudor York, pp. 208–11.

The Wefferes































































THOMAS   In waylyng and weping, in woo am I wapped,
In site and in sorowe, in sighing full sadde,
Mi Lorde and my luffe, loo, full lowe is he lapped:
That makes me to mourne nowe full mate and full madde.
What harling and what hurlyng that hedesman he hadde,
What breking of braunches ware brosten aboute hym,
What bolnyng with betyng of brothellis full badde.
Itt leres me full lely to love hym and lowte hym,
That comely to kenne.
Goddis Sone Jesus,
He died for us;
That makes me thus
To mourne amange many men.

Emange men may I mourne for the malice thei mente
To Jesus, the gentillest of Jewes generacioun.
Of wisdome and witte were the waies that he wente
That drewe all tho domesmen derffe indignacioun,
For douteles full dere was his diewe dominacioun.
Unkyndely thei kidde them ther kyng for to kenne
With carefull comforth and colde recreacioun,
For he mustered his miracles amonge many men,
And to the pepull he preched.
But the Pharases fers
All his resouns revers,
And to ther hedesmen rehers
That untrewe were the tales that he teched.

He teched full trewe, but the tirauntes were tened,
For he reproved ther pride, thai purposed thame preste
To mischeve hym, with malis in ther mynde have thei menyd,
And to accuse hym of cursednesse the caistiffis has caste.
Ther rancoure was raised, no renke might it reste,
Thai toke hym with treasoune, that turtill of treuthe;
Thei fedde hym with flappes, with fersnesse hym feste,
To rugge hym, to riffe hym: ther reyned no rewthe.
Undewly thei demed hym,
Thei dusshed hym, thei dasshed hym,
Thei lusshed hym, thei lasshed hym,
Thei pusshed hym, thei passhed hym,
All sorowe thei saide that it semed hym.

Itt semed hym all sorowe, thei saide in ther seggyng.
Thei skippid and scourged hym, he skapid not with scornes.
That he was leder and Lorde in there lawe lay no leggyng,1
But thrange on and thristed a croune of thik thornes.
Ilk tag of that turtill so tatterid and torne es
That that blissid body blo is and bolned for betyng,
Yitt the hedesmen to hynge hym with huge hydous hornes
As brothellis or bribours were belyng and bletyng.
“Crucifie hym,” thei cried.
Sone Pilate in parlement
Of Jesus gaffe jugement,
To hynge hym the harlottis hym hente;
Ther was no deide of that domesman denyed.

Denyed not that domesman to deme hym to dede,
That frendly faire foode that nevere offended.
Thei hied thame in haste than to hynge uppe there heede,
What woo that thei wroghte hym no wyght wolde have wende it.
His true titill thei toke thame no tome for to attende it,
But as a traitour atteynted thei toled hym and tuggid hym;
Thei schonte for no schoutis his schappe for to schende it,
Thei rasid hym on rode als full rasely thei rugged hym.
Thei persed hym with a spere
That the blode riall
To the erthe gun fall,
In redempcion of all
That his lele lawes likis to lere.

To lere he that likis of his lawe that is lele
Mai fynde in oure frende here full faithfull feste,
That wolde hynge thus on hight to enhaunce us in hele
And by us fro bondage by his bloode that is beste.
Than the comforte of oure companye in kares were keste,
But that Lorde so allone wolde not leffe us full longe.
On the thirde day he rose right with his renkis to reste;
Both flessh and fell fersly that figour gon fange
And to my brethir gonne appere.
Thai tolde me of this,
Bot I leved amys;
To rise flesshly, iwis,
Methought that it paste mans poure.

But the poure of that prince was presiously previd
Whan that soverayne schewed hymselffe to my sight.
To mene of his manhode my mynde was all meved,
But that reverent redused me be resoune and be right.
The woundes full wide of that worthy wight,
He frayned me to fele thame, my faith for to feste,
And so I did douteless, and doune I me dight;
I bende my bak for to bowe and obeyed hym for beste.
So sone he assendid
Mi felaus in feere
Ware sondered sere,
If thai were here
Mi myrthe were mekill amended.

Amendid were my mirthe with that meyné to mete,
Mi felaus in fere for to fynde woll I fonde;
I schall nott stedde in no stede but in stall and in strete,
Grath me be gydis to gette thame on grounde.
O soverayne, how sone am I sette here so sounde!
This is the Vale of Josophat, in Jury so gente.
I will steme of my stevene and sted here a stounde,
For I am wery for walkyng the waies that I wente
Full wilsome and wide.
Therfore I kaste
Here for to reste;
I halde it beste
To buske on this banke for to bide.

[ANGELS, SINGING]   Surge proxima mea columba
mea tabernaculum glorie vasculum vite, templum celeste.2

I ANGELUS   Rise, Marie, thou maiden and modir so milde.

II ANGELUS   Rise, lilly full lusty, thi luffe is full likand.

III ANGELUS   Rise, chefteyne of chastité, in chering thi childe.

IV ANGELUS   Rise, rose ripe redolent, in reste to be reynand.

V ANGELUS   Rise, douffe of that domesman all dedis is demand,

VI ANGELUS   Rise, turtour, tabernacle, and tempull full trewe.

VII ANGELUS   Rise, semely in sight, of thi Sone to be semande.

VIII ANGELUS   Rise, grathed full goodely in grace for to grewe.

IX ANGELUS   Rise uppe this stounde.

X ANGELUS   Come, chosen childe.

XI ANGELUS   Come, Marie milde.

XII ANGELUS   Come, floure unfiled.

VIII ANGELUS   Come uppe to the kyng to be crouned.

[ANGELS, SINGING]   Veni de libano sponsa, veni coronaberis.3

THOMAS   O glorious God, what glemes are glydand.
I meve in my mynde what may this bemene?
I see a babbe borne in blisse to be bidand
With aungelus companye, comely and clene.
Many selcouth sitis in sertis have I sene,
But this mirthe and this melody mengis my mode.

MARIA   Thomas, do way all thi doutes bedene,
For I ame foundynge fourthe to my faire fode,
I telle thee this tyde.

THOMAS   Who, my soverayne Lady?

MARIA   Ya, sertis I saie thee.

THOMAS   Whedir wendes thou, I praye thee?

MARIA   To blisse with my barne for to bide.

THOMAS   To bide with thy barne in blisse to be bidand!
Hayle, jentilest of Jesse in Jewes generacioun,
Haile, welthe of this worlde all welthis is weldand,
Haile, hendest enhaunsed to high habitacioun,
Haile, derworth and dere is thi diewe dominacioun.
Haile, floure fresshe florisshed, thi frewte is full felesome.
Haile, sete of oure Saveour and sege of salvacioun,
Haile, happy to helde to, thi helpe is full helesome.
Haile, pereles in plesaunce,
Haile, precious and pure,
Haile, salve that is sure,
Haile, lettir of langure,
Haile, bote of oure bale in obeyesaunce.

MARIA   Go to thi brethir that in bale are abiding
And of what wise to welthe I ame wendande
Withoute tarying thou telle thame this tithynge,
Ther mirthe so besse mekill amendande.
For Thomas, to me were thei tendande
Whanne I drewe to the dede, all but thou.

THOMAS   Bot I, Lady, whillis in lande I ame lendande,
Obeye thee full baynly my bones will I bowe.
Bot I, allas,
Whare was I thanne
When that barette beganne?
An unhappy manne
Both nowe and evere I was.

Unhappy, unhende am I holden at home,
What drerye destonye me drewe fro that dede?

MARIA   Thomas, sesse of thy sorowe, for I am sothly the same.

THOMAS   That wote I wele, the worthiest that wrapped is in wede.

MARIA   Thanne spare nott a space nowe my speche for to spede,4
Go saie them sothely, thou sawe me assendinge.

THOMAS   Now douteles, derworthy, I dare not for drede,
For to my tales that I telle thei are not attendinge,
For no spelle that is spoken.

MARIA   I schall thee schewe
A token trewe,
Full fresshe of hewe;
Mi girdill, loo, take thame this tokyn.

THOMAS   I thanke thee as reverent rote of oure reste,
I thanke thee as stedfast stokke for to stande,
I thanke thee as tristy tre for to treste,
I thanke thee as buxsom bough to thee bande,
I thanke thee as leeffe, the lustiest in lande,
I thanke thee as bewteuous braunche for to bere,
I thanke thee as floure that nevere is fadande,
I thanke thee as frewte that has fedde us in fere,
I thanke thee for evere.
If thay repreve me,
Now schall thei leve me.
Thi blissinge giffe me
And douteles I schall do my devere.

MARIA   Thomas, to do thanne thy devere be dressand,
He bid thee his blissinge that beldis aboven,
And in sightte of my Sone ther is sittand
Shall I knele to that comely with croune
That who dispaire be dale or be doune
With piteuous playnte in perellis will pray me;
If he swynke or swete, in swelte or in swoune,
I schall sewe to my soverayne Sone for to say me
He schall graunte thame ther grace.
Be it manne in his mournyng
Or womanne in childinge,
All thes to be helpinge
That prince schall I praye in that place.

THOMAS   Gramercy, the goodliest grounded in grace,
Gramercy, the lufliest Lady of lire,
Gramercy, the fairest in figure and face,
Gramercy, the derrest to do oure desire.

MARIA   Farewele, nowe I passe to the pereles empire;
Farewele, Thomas, I tarie no tyde here.

THOMAS   Farewele, thou schynyng schappe that schyniste so schire,
Farewele, the belle of all bewtes to bide here,
Farewele, thou faire foode,
Farewele, the keye of counsaile,
Farewele, all this worldes wele,
Farewele, oure hope and oure hele,
Farewele nowe, both gracious and goode.

[ANGELS, SINGING]   Veni electa mea et ponam in te tronum meum
Quia concupivit rex speciem tuam.5

THOMAS   That I mette with this may here my mirthe is amend;
I will hy me in haste and holde that I have hight,
To bere my brethir this boodeword my bak schall I bende
And saie thame in certayne the soth of this sight.
Be dale and be doune schall I dresse me to dight
To I fynde of this felawschippe faithfull in fere,
I schall renne and reste not, to ransake full right.
Lo, the menye I mente of I mete thame even here
At hande.
God saffe you in feere,
Say, brethir, what chere?

PETRUS   What dois thou here?
Thou may nowe of thi gatis be gangand.

THOMAS   Why, dere brethir, what bale is begune?

PETRUS   Thomas, I telle thee, that tene is betidde us.

THOMAS   Me forthinkith for my frendis that faithfull are foune.

JACOBUS   Ya, but in care litill kyndnes thou kid us.

ANDREAS   His bragge and his boste is he besie to bid us,
But and ther come any cares he kepis not to kenne;
We may renne till we rave or any ruth rid us
For the frenschippe he fecched us, be frith or be fenne.

THOMAS   Sirs, me mervailes, I saie yowe,
What mevis in youre mynde.

JOHANNES   We can wele fynde
Thou arte unkynde.

THOMAS   Nowe, pees thanne, and preve it, I pray yowe.

PETRUS   That thou come not to courte here unkyndynes thou kid us,
Oure treuth has of-turned us to tene and to traye;
This yere haste thou rakid, thi reuth wolde not ridde us,
For witte thou wele that worthy is wente on hir waye.
In a depe denne dede is scho dolven this daye,
Marie, that maiden and modir so milde.

THOMAS   I wate wele, iwis.

JOHANNES                           Thomas, do way.

ANDREAS   Itt forse noght to frayne hym, he will not be filde.6

THOMAS   Sirs, with hir have I spoken
Lattar thanne yee.

JOHANNES   That may not bee.

THOMAS   Yis, knelyng on kne.

PETRUS   Thanne tite can thou telle us some token?

THOMAS   Lo, this token full tristy scho toke me to take youe.

JACOBUS   A, Thomas, whare gate thou that girdill so gode?

THOMAS   Sirs, my message is mevand some mirthe for to make youe,7
For founding flesshly I fande hir till hir faire foode,
And when I mette with that maiden it mendid my mode.
Hir sande has scho sente youe, so semely to see.

ANDREAS   Ya, Thomas, unstedfaste full staring thou stode,
That makis thi mynde nowe full madde for to be.
But herken and here nowe:
Late us loke where we laid hir
If any folke have affraied hir.

JOHANNES   Go we groppe wher we graved hir,
If we fynde oughte that faire one in fere nowe.

PETRUS   Behalde, nowe hidir youre hedis in haste;
This glorious and goodely is gone fro this grave.

THOMAS   Loo, to my talking ye toke youe no tente for to traste.

JACOBUS   A, Thomas, untrewly nowe traspassed we have;
Mercy full kyndely we crie and we crave.

ANDREAS   Mercye, for foule have we fautid in faye.

JOHANNES   Mercye, we praye thee, we will not deprave.

PETRUS   Mercye, for dedis we did thee this daye.

THOMAS   Oure Saveour so swete
Forgiffe you all,
And so I schall.
This tokyn tall
Have I brought yowe youre bales to beete.

PETRUS   Itt is welcome, iwis, fro that worthy wight,
For it was wonte for to wappe that worthy virgine.

JACOBUS   Itt is welcome, iwis, fro that Lady so light,
For hir wombe wolde scho wrappe with it and were it with wynne.

ANDREAS   Itt is welcome, iwis, fro that salver of synne,

JOHANNES   Itt is welcome, iwis, fro the keye of oure kynne,
For aboute that reverent it rechid full right.

PETRUS   Nowe knele we ilkone
Upponne oure kne.

JACOBUS   To that Lady free.

ANDREAS   Blissid motte sche be,
Ya, for scho is Lady lufsome allone.

THOMAS   Nowe, brethir, bese besie and buske to be bownand,
To Ynde will I torne me and travell to teche.

PETRUS   And to Romans so royall tho renkis to be rownand
Will I passe fro this place, my pepull to preche.

JACOBUS   And I schall Samaritanus so sadly enserche,
To were tham be wisdome thei wirke not in waste.

ANDREAS   And to Achaia full lely that lede for to leche,
Will hy me to helpe thame and hele thame in haste.

JOHANNES   This comenaunt accordis;
Sirs, sen ye will soo,
Me muste nedis parte youe froo.
To Assia will I goo.
He lede you, that Lorde of all lordis.

THOMAS   The Lorde of all lordis in lande schall he lede youe
Whillis ye travell in trouble, the trewethe for to teche,
With frewte of oure feithe in firthe schall we fede youe,
For that laboure is lufsome, ilke lede for to leche.
Nowe I passe fro youre presence the pepull to preche,
To lede thame and lere thame the lawe of oure Lorde.
As I saide, us muste asoundre and sadly enserche
Ilke contré to kepe clene and knytte in o corde
Off oure faithe.
That frelye foode
That died on rode
With mayne and moode,
He grath yowe be gydis full grath.
engulfed; (see note)
In sadness
love; brought low
buffeting; violence; leader
breaking; were broken
swelling; beating; worthless fellows
teaches; worship
gracious one; know



those judges’ hostile
costly; rightful
showed; know
grievous; unhappy

turn around
leaders report

tyrants; angry
planned them quickly
harm; meant
wickedness; endeavored
turtledove; truth
blows; [held] fast
pull violently; tear; was found; mercy
Unjustly; judged
struck; hit violently

saying; (t-note)

pressed; thrust down
tiny piece; turtledove
livid; swollen; beating
rulers; hang; hideous
swindlers; bellowing; bleating; (t-note)

took hold
deed (hit); not executed

hurried; head (leader)
man; thought
legal rights; time; consider
convicted; pulled
held back; figure; injure
cross; brutally
pierced; spear
royal; (t-note)

true; learn

feast (spiritual)
hang; improve; well-being
cares; plunged
in the body; figure did take
brethren; did appear

believed amiss (wrongly)

passed; power

expensively proved

think; moved

asked; secure
(i.e., reverenced)

soon; ascended
all together
[sent] apart

fellows; attempt
remain; place; street
Directly; guides; come to them
Josephat; Jewry
control; voice; stay; time; (see note)

cast (decide)

hasten; (t-note)

(see note)

(see note)

lily; lovely; desirable

chief; suckling


dove; deeds; judging


lovely; fitting

endowed; grow

time (this instant)


(see note); (t-note)

gleams; gliding
youth (i.e., Lady); abiding (see note)

wondrous sights

going forth; child

child; dwell

abiding; (see note)
lineage; (t-note)
most worthy
worthy; dear; due
fruit; delicious
seat; throne
incline; wholesome

[soul’s] remedy
preventer; sickness
remedy; obedience


joy; is; (i.e., returning)



unworthy; regarded



(see note)

token (sign)

root (basis); (see note)
trust (rely on)



(see note)

whoever despairs; hill; (t-note)
toil; sweat; sickness; swooning; (t-note)
sue (beg)

childbirth; (see note)

(i.e., Give thanks)
loveliest; form (body)

most worthy

form; shines; brightly; (see note)
person (term of endearment)


(see note)

hurry; promised


run; not rest; search

all together; (see note)

ways; going

sorrow; happened [to]

am sorry; found

misery; show

busy; tell
if; sorrows; (i.e., wishes not to know)
continue; grief escape from
wood; fenland



(i.e., diverted); misery; suffering; (t-note)
been away; grief; help us

grave; she buried

am well aware

More recently

quickly; sign



walking bodily; person

message; she



search; buried

heed (give attention to)

did not attend; trust

wrongly; faulted [you] in faith


deeds; [to] you

good [in appearance]


abdomen; wear; joy

For scho bende it aboute hir with blossome so bright.

from; people
holy one; (i.e., was worn)

(see note)


busy; hurry; going
India; return; teach

men; speaking

Samaria; solemnly search out

land (people); heal
hurry; heal

agreement is suitable

part from you
[May] he lead

faith; woods; feed
person; heal

lead; teach
go apart; solemnly search out
in unity (accord)

noble one

cause (that); guides; diligent; (t-note)

Go To Play 46, The Coronation of the Virgin