Play 6, The Expulsion from the Garden
Play 6, THE EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN: 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.
At the conclusion of the previous pageant, Adam and Eve have already been expelled from the garden. To be sure, a different angel must play the angel of the Expulsion here. Since in this case the angel, identified in the biblical account (Genesis 3:24) as a cherubim, traditionally holds a flaming sword, as in another panel in the East Window of the Minster (French, York Minster: The Great East Window, p. 51), the Armorers, or Furbishers, would seem to have been a logical choice for producers of this pageant, especially since over time this craft gravitated more toward weaponry than protective gear. However, while the Ordo paginarum says nothing about the sword, it does have the angel supplying Adam and Eve with a spade and spindle with which they are to begin their work. The Armorers’ most prosperous period was the early fifteenth century, though by 1444 they were pleading for aid for themselves and their pageant (REED: York: 1:62). The play is written in six-line stanzas, also including irregular stanzas of five lines.
47 fele fandyngis manyfolde. Middle earth, to which Adam and Eve have been banished, is a place of temptation that will mark the race from henceforth, even affecting St. Peter immediately after the Crucifixion when he denies his Lord three times.
58 Adam, have this. The angel hands the spade to Adam with an admonition that this will be needed for earning his living. The spade is generally taken to be Adam’s identifying symbol in the iconography of the later Middle Ages; see May, “Medieval Stage Property.”
70–74 Travell herto shalle thou ta . . . To man ay be. The point at which Eve presumably must receive the spindle from the angel. This seems verified by the following lines in which she laments that she can no longer have the kind of tranquility that she enjoyed in the garden but must work. Adam also refers to the tool that has been given him in line 77. For a typical depiction of Eve, seated outside and spinning at the left, and Adam working with his spade “in the sweat of his brow” to break up the hard ground at the right, see the Speculum humanae salvationis (Wilson and Wilson, Medieval Mirror, p. 145).
90–91 At prime of the day. / Be tyme of none alle lost had wee. The creation of the first parents took place at the beginning of the day (specifically at prime, the second of the canonical hours), and already by noon the Fall had taken place. The rapidity of the Fall is a medieval commonplace.
131 We mon go nakid. So in the garden, but now they cannot do this on account of their awareness of their bodies, of which they are ashamed. The biblical account has them dressed in skins (Genesis 3:21).
160 Dede wolde I be. A sign of despair, though in Adam’s case it will not be a sickness unto death, for he will be rescued from Limbo along with Eve by the second Adam, Jesus Christ, at the Harrowing. The despair here is not the remorse of Judas but of a penitent now that he has finished his blaming of Eve for his deed. Traditional gestures are beating one’s breast and wringing one’s hands, which would have been appropriate for Adam and Eve as they wend forth at the end of the pageant, presumably as they set off toward the next station where the pageant will be repeated.
Play 6, THE EXPULSION FROM THE GARDEN: 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 Alle. Space provided for large capital A, not added in Reg. This omission is a characteristic of texts entered by Scribe B.
69 Reg: added above line by JC as correction: “Eve for that thou begylyd hym so.”
159 ADAM. This edition; LTS and RB insert speech heading for Adam at line 161 following emendation by LH.
The Origenall Perteynyng to the Crafte of Armourers
Go To Play 7, Sacrificium Cayme et Abell