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Item 36, The Legend of the Resurrection


1 Lines 261–62: Nor was a mother to her child / Ever half as good [as Jesus was to mankind]


Abbreviations: GL: Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend; NP: F. Foster, The Northern Passion;

Title No title or incipit. The title used here has been taken from the few scholarly descriptions of the text (i.e., in Guddat-Figge, Catalogue of Manuscripts, and in Blanchfield, “Idiosyncratic Scribe”). The text begins three-quarters down the leaf of fol. 138v, immediately after the colophon of the preceding item.

9 thei toke ther gate. See lines 1825–34 of The Northern Passion (item 28). This opening section is based on Matthew 27:62–66.

14 He wold ryse up the thyrd dey. This line has been emended, and two lines are missing from the start of the following stanza; Rate’s copy-text may have been defective here.

55 Pylat callyd to hym knyghtys. A line is missing from the beginning of this stanza. In The Northern Passion and in Matthew 27, the soldiers are in the service of the Jews, not Pilate.

57 Syr Cosdram and Syr Emorant. The origin of these names for the knights is unknown, though they appear in the N-Town play “Guarding of the Sepulcher” as Amoraunt, Arphaxat, Cosdram, and Affraunt (see introduction to the text). The names are vaguely French, as if these knights belonged in a chivalric romance. Metlizki has pointed out another “Sir Amoraunt,” a Saracen giant who fights Guy of Warwick (Matter of Araby in Medieval England, pp. 196–97). “Olde” in line 56 presumably means “mature” here, and not “elderly.”

73 Ther if ther com syche two. As comparison to the boasts made by the soldiers in the N-Town play makes clear, the knights make increasingly ludicrous boasts; Sir Gemerant is promising to fight off two thousand (not merely two) tomb robbers. The comic qualities of both the knights and their extravagant language locates them firmly in the tradition of the miles gloriosus, the “braggart soldier” of Plautus and other classical dramatists.

96 Syr Amorant seyd, “Lysten to me. A line is missing from this stanza, and in line 99 “hede” is clearly a mistake for “fet.” See lines 1955–58 of the Cambridge Dd.1.1 text of The Northern Passion (NP, 2:232): “Than seyde on, herken to me / Us behovith ful war to be. / On behoveth at his hevid to wake / Another at his fet good keping to make.”

111 thei had no power to wake. For a medieval audience, the lassitude of the knights at the sepulcher would be implicitly compared with the candlelight vigils performed by the faithful at the Easter sepulchers constructed in parish churches throughout England; see Sheingorn, Easter Sepulchre in England, pp. 57–58.

150 Jeromy. The prophecy mentioned in lines 153–55 seems to be that of Isaiah 9:6–7, but various texts in Jeremiah were often used as prophecies of Christ as well.

157 Danyell. Though several parts of the Book of Daniel were also often cited as prophecies of Christ, the prophecy described in lines 158–60 is a reference to Isaiah 53:5 (as interpreted by John 1:29).

212 Mary Jacobye. Mary, mother of James the Lesser, is mentioned in the accounts of the Resurrection in Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10. Many medieval legends consider her the half-sister of the Virgin Mary, and she is often identified as the same Mary known as Mary Cleophas.

213 Mary Mawdeleyn and Salomé. Mary Magdalene is the one visitor to the sepulcher mentioned in all four gospels; see Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:10, and John 20:1. She was very widely venerated in the later Middle Ages and particularly cherished as the epitome of the repentant sinner and as a model of devotion to the body of Christ, the hallmark of fifteenth-century piety. Mary Salome is named in Mark 16:1 and was often considered the same as the Mary who was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of the apostles James the Greater and John, mentioned in Matthew 27:56.

221 Thi wyll be do. Raphael’s response echoes the Lord’s Prayer (Pater Noster).

227 Thus seyd the apostyll Seynt John. The deliverance of Joseph of Arimathea is not mentioned in the Gospel of John; the various medieval versions of the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus were the primary source for this legend (see GL, 1:221).

242 how sche seyd. This line and lines 244–45 have been emended; Rate (or possibly his copy-text) has confused the pronouns referring to the speaker of lines 245–82, but it is clearly Mary Magdalene.

257 my herte wyll breke. Mary Magdalene’s response is characteristic of the emotional, affective piety commonly associated with her.

269 It were grete doute. This stanza is defective, possibly due to the addition of a line in the first half of the stanza.

306 He seyd to hyre full stylle. Presumably a stanza in which the angel speaks to Mary Magdalene has been mistakenly omitted.

328 And in the garthyn. See John 20:14–18, where the encounter takes place near the sepulcher.

349 To Oure Lady Mary. The first two lines of this stanza have been lost.

359 When his dyssiplus this word herde. On the placement of these two stanzas, see the introduction to this item.

371 Two palmers in that tyde. The following episode is based on the account in Luke 24:13–33.

383 Among us whyll that he yede. Rate (or possibly his copy-text) has rendered this stanza defective by altering the rhyme of line 385, which was probably “befall.” He then added line 388, perhaps in an attempt to provide a near-rhyme for line 385.

392 agreved alle. The line clearly ought to end “agreved,” for the sake of rhyme with line 395. Rate may have added the word as part of his alterations to the previous stanza (see note to line 383), in an attempt to provide a rhyming line for line 389.

397 Of Moyses and of Isay. See Luke 24:27.

438 That ilke dey. The following episodes (the appearances to the ten apostles and to Thomas) are based on the account of John 20:19–29.

454 I ame com in thorow my vertu. As Jacobus de Voragine makes clear in the Golden Legend’s treatment of the Resurrection, the miraculous ability of the risen Christ to enter into the sealed room was often compared to his miraculous birth from the “sealed” womb of the Virgin Mary as well as the escape from the sealed sepulcher (GL 1:217).

468 When he com besyde the ston. This seems to be a reference to Christ’s appearance to Peter after the Resurrection, an event that is referred to in Luke 24:34 but without specifying a time or place. Peter Comestor’s Historia scholastica is the likely source of the claim presented here; see also GL 1:220.

474 Mary, Peter, and Seynt John. A Mary is not mentioned in the gospel account, but her inclusion here is consistent with the medieval tendency to see both the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene as fully involved in the life and ministry of the apostles.

497 And put it in hys wonde. For a late medieval audience, Thomas’s touching of the wound in Christ’s side was not simply a means of overcoming his doubts, but an illustration of the way the wounds acted as the “entry” into Christ’s body and thus God’s mercy. See The Wounds and the Sins (item 38).

552 I slepyd no slepe. This line could be emended to read “slepyd on slepe,” which would make the appearance of the angels to Arfax a dream vision and also remain consistent with the earlier episode in which the soldiers could not stay awake. Otherwise, the line suggests a split between the tradition in which the soldiers slept through the Resurrection (as presented elsewhere here and in the N-Town “Guarding of the Sepulcher”) and the more common one in which the soldiers witnessed the Resurrection but are rendered awe-struck and powerless to intervene. See Woolf, English Mystery Plays, p. 407, n. 20.

570 The kyghtys ther wey nom. See Matthew 28:11–15.

594 And suere be ther god Mahune. Heathen knights swear by “Mahound” in many medieval texts, regardless of time or place; see the N-Town “Guarding of the Sepulcher,” line 305, where Ameraunt swears by “Seynt Mahownd.”

605a AMEN QUOD RATE. The text ends at the bottom of fol. 144v; Rate has left the bottom margin beneath this colophon blank.


Abbreviations: see Explanatory Notes.

14 He wold. MS: And a.

78 Cosdram seyd, “So. MS: Cosdram so.

87 this many and. MS: this and (many is added above the rest of the line).

114 I. MS: he.

157 MS: this whole line is written in the right margin.

161 Therfor. MS: The for.

163–64 MS: Lines transposed. Line 163 is written in the right margin.

178 me. MS: hym.

208 sorow and strong. MS: sorow strong.

211 MS: Repeats lines 182–210 here, with variants presented in italics:


To Jhesu ayen on hyght
Jhesu blyssed mote thou be
Fader and God in Trinyté
Now is all comeplyght
They seyd thou that arte so gode
That wold honge upon the Rode
To save all mankynd
Blyssed mote the tyme be
That we myght thee here se
Jhesu that arte so hende.
Lord Jhesu Hevyn Kynge
This dey grante us thi blyssing
Iff it thi wyll be
All this werld aught to be blythe
That thou arte rysen fro deth to lyve
Suete is the love of thee
My blyssing seyd Jhesu have ye
And all thei that leve onne me
Todey and ever more
Manys soule that was fro blysse caught
With my blode I have hyte bought
Oute of peynes sore
Here I kepe to dwell note (marked for deletion) nought
Into other stedys is my thought
To fete oute one of myne
That had me in grave brought
My love he hath dere bought
With sorow and strong pyne
Come with me he seyd Gabryell
And leve thou here Raphaelle
212 The one. MS: Th o one (initial o is scratched out).

242 how sche. MS: on he.

244 The Mary Maudeleyn. MS: The Maudeleyn and Mary.

245 Sche. MS: He.

261 Ne. MS: Not.

270 We. MS: The.

274 thos. MS: that.

276 slepe. MS: sle.

279 MS: and tell me how it follows this line.

281 With oyntmentys. MS: an illegible letter is marked for deletion between these two words.

285 MS: this whole line is written in the right margin.

286 sey. MS: seyd.
MS (in margin): Angelus.

359 MS: lines 420–473 have been interpolated here. See introduction to this text.

407 With Jhesu. MS: With added in margin before the line.

427 Anon. MS: Alon.

445 som. MS: son.

446 hem he gan. MS: hem gan.

455 Tho schyte beth. MS: They schyte both.

459 apostyllys. MS: apostyll and.

488 John. MS: Jhesu.

510 thei. MS: ye.

517 it. MS: yt it.

565 we. MS: we we
not fle. MS: not f fle (initial f is scratched out).

572 hym grete. MS: hym telle grete (telle is marked for deletion).

574 awntres lere. MS: awtres here lere (here is marked for deletion).

576 Hym. MS: Here.




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When Jhesu was in grave leyd,
The bysschop unto another seyd,
“The best rede that we can done,
To Syr Pylate we wyll gone
    To aske hym conseyll.
Withouten hym we may not do
The thingys that touch the croune unto,
    Withoutyn any feyle.”

The Jues thei toke ther gate,
To thei com to Syr Pylate.
    To hym thei gan to sey
That “Jhesus seyd in hys lyve
Thyng that made us to stryve:
    He wold ryse up the thyrd dey,

“And bryng the Jewys in blame.”
Than seyd Syr Pylate sone anone,
“So ne schall it not gon;
It were to us grete schame.”

Syr Pylat was so grym,
Cayfas he callyd to hym
    To aske hym counseylle.
“Cayfas,” he seyd, “I thee beseche,
What to do thou me teche,
    Withouten any faylle.

“The prophetys,” he seyd, “that were wyse,
Seyd that Jhesus schuld aryse
    Upon the thyrd dey
And bryng mans saule out of helle.”
“That is a lesyng, I thee telle,”
    Cayfas gan to sey.

“Pylate, do as I thee kend:
Foure knyghtys thou thether send,
    Bold men and wyse.
And do them for to wake the stone
Tyll the thyrd nyght be gone,
    That Jhesus not up ryse.

“And Joseph of Aramathy allso,
Into prison late hym go,
    For doute of hys treson.
For yf Jhesus be stolne awey,
My hede to wede I wyll ley
    Yt is thourght hys encheson.”

And than Syr Pylate sone on hyghe
Send into Aramathy
    Joseph for to take,
And dyde hym in a depe prison,
Depe in a strong dongeon,
    For Jhesus Crystys sake.

He made a ston walle befor the dore,
And grete othys Pylate suere
    He schuld ther lye and dye.
A hole was in the walle wrought,
Ther hys mete was to hym brought
    That he had to hys lyverey.

Pylat callyd to hym knyghtys,
    Olde men that were wyse:
Syr Cosdram and Syr Emorant,
Syr Arfax and Sir Gemarant,
    And told hem hys avyse.

“Com forth Syr Amorant,
Syr Arfax and Syr Gemorant,
    And Cosdram the prowde.
Go and loke wele to that stone
Tyll the thyrd dey be agone,
    That no man com ther aboute.”

Syr Emerand seyd than,
“Thoff ther com a thousand men,
    Therof I ne reche.
Bot I sle them in a stound
And make them falle to the grond,
    Hew me all to flyches.”

Syr Gemerant seyd tho,
“Ther if ther com syche two,
    Stond I therof no doutes.
Bot if I do hem sle,
Saffly hew thou me
    All to smale cloutys.”

Syr Cosdram seyd, “So mote I thé,
Thoff ther com sych thre,
    I giff not therof an haw.
That ilke dey that he upryste
That is callyd Jhesu Cryst,
    I wyll be all to-draw.”

Syr Arfax seyd, “I dred no dele;
We wyll kepe the sepulker wele
    Agen the thyrd nyght.
Thoff all thei be twenty this many and some
To the sepulker were icom,
    Thei schall dyghe anon ryght.”

When the knyghtys had thus seyd,
Syr Pylate was ryght wele apayd
    And gave hem hys blyssyng,
And bad hem be as trew as stele
For to kepe the sepulkyr wele,
    Withouten any slepyng.

Syr Amorant seyd, “Lysten to me:
Us behovyth slyghe to be.
One behovyth at hys hede to wake,
Another at hys hede take,
    That he go not awey.

“Kepe we wele both sydys,
What aventour so be tydys,
    That Jhesus not owte come.
If any com to hym here,
Smyte of hys hed in fere,
    Bot he be sone inome.”

Thus ganne the knyghtys to manas,
And drew ther suerdys in that place,
    The knyghtys everychone.
And a grete slepe thei gane take,
That thei had no power to wake
    When Jhesus wold forth gone.

Syr Amorant seyd, “Alas, alas,
For never so slepy I was,
    For all my lyffys dey.
Me behovyth to rest me a stound,
Thoff I wyst to be bound
    And with a wyld horse drawe.”

Syr Gemorant seyd so than,
“So sore onne slepe now I ame,
    I ne may no lenger wake.
Me behovyth my hede doune lye,
What so Pylate or Cayphas sey,
    Or what noys so thei make.”

Syr Cosdram seyd “What ayles me?
I ne may with myn eyghen se;
    I may not wake longe.
Me behoveth to rest me a thraw,
To the cokys have thrys crow,
    Thoff I schuld be heyghe honge.”

Thus gan the knyghtys to slepe.
They had no power for to wake
    When Jhesus wold upryse.
And Jhesus, as it was hys wylle,
Oute of the sepulcour he rose full stylle
    And seyd on this wyse:

“Fadere,” he seyd, “that arte in heven,
With word with myght and with steven,
    Now I thanke thee
That thou wold late me be born
To save mankynd that was forlorn.
    Mych hast thou done for me.

“I fast in erth fourty deys
To fullfyll the olde lawys
    That here was sete in lond.
Fader, now I have fullfyllyd
That mankynd had myssegylte,
    So as I understond.

“Now is fullfyllyd the profecy
That was seyd of Jeromy
    And of other mo:
That a chyld schuld be born
To save mankynd that was forlorn
    Out of peyn and wo.

“Now it is all comply
And fullfylled the prophesy
    That seyd Danyell:
That a lombe schuld com beforn
And by the folke that were forlorn,
    Mankynd to save wele.

“Therfor I have my blod spyld
And now the prophesy fullfylde
    Of that ilke lombe.
Herkyns Fader, if thou wylte,
Whether I have bought mans gylte
    With hede, fote, and hond.

“I was nayled thourht hond and fote,
And for man saule my lyve I lete
    And many peynes gan to fonde.
Man, if that thow wer kynde,
Thys dey thou awe to have in mynde,
    If thou it wold understonde.”

He callyd up with myld stevyn
Unto hys Fader in hevyn,
    And ryght as it was hys wylle:
“Fader that arte fulle of myght,
Send doune an angell bryght
    To comforth me wele stylle.”

Ther com angelle Gabryell
With hys felow Raphaelle
    To Jhesu agen onne hyght.
“Jhesu, blyssed mote thou be,
Fader and God in Trinyté;
    Now is alle complyght.”

They seyd, “Thou that arte so gode,
That wold hong upon the rode
    To save all mankynd,
Blyssed mote the tyme be
That we may thee here se,
    Jhesu, that arte so hende.

“Lord Jhesu, Hevyn Kyng,
Thow grante us all thi blyssing,
    If it thi wylle be.
For all this werld aught to be blythe
That thou arte rysen fro deth to lyve;
    Suete is the love of thee.”

Jhesu seyd, “My blyssing have ye
And all that beleve on me,
    Todey and ever more.
Manys saule, that was becaught,
With my blod I have hym bought
    Out of peynes sore.

“Here I kepe to duell nought;
In other stedys is my thought,
    To fette oute one of myne
That hade me in grave brought.
My love he hath dere bought
    With sorow and strong pyne.

“Come with me,” he seyd, “Gabryele,
And leve thou here, Raphaelle,
    To kepe the thre Marys.
The one is Mary Jacobye,
Mary Mawdeleyn and Salomé;
    Thou schall gyffe them ansuere.

“And sey that I ame rysen and gone
Oute of my grave stone;
    Make them glad and blythe.
Sey I ame gon to Galylé
With full grete dygnité,
    And rysen fro deth to lyve.”

“Lord,” seyd the angell, “thi wyll be do,
Both in hevyn and erth also,
    As thou arte Hevyn Kynge.
I schall kepe the Marys thre,
And wele ansuerd schall thei be
    Thorow all thing.”

Thus seyd the apostyll Seynt John
That Jhesus in hys wey was gon
    To Jherusalem, that syté.
To the prison he went onne hyghe
To Joseph of Aramathé,
    Ther hym deliverd to be.

Herkyns all that be hend,
I schall thou telle word and ende
    Of the Marys thre:
How thei sought suete Jhesu
With ontementys of grete vertu
    Hys wondys to alyghe.

Full wo were thei that he was dede,
Bot thei couth non other rede,
    Bot wepyd with ther eyghen.
Lystens now how sche seyd,
How sche gan hyr feleys rede,
    The Mary Maudeleyn.

Sche seyd to Mary Jacobé
And to Mary Salomé,
    “What is your best rede?
Now my Lord is slaw
And with Jues all to-draw;
    Synfull is that dede.

“For he myssegylt never man
That any tonge tell canne,
    Ne never no trespas.
Sych a deth, I understonde,
Was never don in no londe,
    Ne non so synfull was.

“Alas,” sche seyd, “my herte wyll breke
When that I here of Jhesu speke.
    He was so myld of mode:
Never yit was none so myld,
Ne the moder to the chyld
    Nether halve so gode.1

“Alas,” sche seyd, “that I ame wo,
For that I may not com hym to
    Hys body for to se.
Thyder to go it were grete doute,
For the foure knyghtys stoute,
    As it thinkys me.

“It were grete doute theder to gon,
We syngle wemen thre.
Go thou Mary Jacobé
And byde me ther alone,
No noys thou ne make.
And of thos foure knyghtys
Wete anon ryghtys
Whether thei slepe or wake.

“If that thei slepe, anon late se;
Hastely come anon to me
    And tell me how it is.
And we schall wend to suete Jhesu
With oyntmentys of grete vertu
    And se hym ther he is.”

Mary wente forth in that sted
As Mawdeleyn hyr had bede,
    By hyrselve alon.
And sey an angell feyr and bryght,
Was com fro hevyn lyght,
    Dyde rest hym on that stone.

“Gode men,” sche seyd, “what do ye?
If that ye wake, now speke with me,
    As ye be knyghtys hend.”
The knyghtys lay styll and slepyd fast.
Sche lete hem lye and have ther reste;
    Agen sche gan to wende.

When that sche com to them agene,
Sche seyd to Mary Maudeleyn,
    “Go we in Crystys name,
For the knyghtys slepe everychon.
Savely we may theder gone
    Withoutyn any blame.”

The thre Marys forth thei went
And com to that moniment,
    As it was Crystys wylle.
When the angell gan hem sene,
He spake to Mary Maudeleyne,
    He seyd to hyr full stylle.

Thre Marys that be to Jhesu dere
To the sepulkyr com in fere
    And lokyd in the stone.
Ther fond thei ryght nought
Bot ryche clothes wele wrought,
    And Jhesu was forth gone.

When that Maudeleyn was ware
That Jhesu hyr lord was not ther,
    Sche suonyd and fell to the grond.
The two Marys that stode hyre by,
For hyr thei were full sory
    In that ilke stonde.

Anon Maudeleyn gan to sey,
“Were is my Lord that here ley
    In this monyment?”
The angell ansuerd here agene,
“In Galalyé thou may hym sene:
    Thether he is wente.”

Anon the Maudeleyn Mary
To Galaly gan hyr hyghe
    With Jhesu for to mete.
And in the garthyn feyre and styll,
As it was Oure Lordys wylle,
    To hym sche gan to speke.

Anon the Maudeleyn Mary
Fell on hyr kneys and began to cry,
    And seyd, “Jhesu, thyn ore!
Late me do, Lord, as intente,
To hele thee with this oyntment,
    Thy wondys that are sore.”

Jhesu seyd, “Woman, com not hend.
Into other stedys I must wende,
    My nedys to fullfylle.
Go to my moder and Seynt Jhon
And to the apostolys everichon,
    And sey to hem full stylle.

“Sey I ame resyn fro deth to lyve.
Thorow vertu of my wondys fyve
    The fend I have overcom.”
The Maudeleyn forth went
To do Jhesus commandment;
    To Jerusalem sche is gone,

    To Oure Lady Mary.
When sche fond hem all in fere,
Sche grete hem with glad chere,
    That feyr compeny,

And bade them all be glad and blyth.
Sche seyd, “Jhesus is rysen fro deth to lyve,
    As I you telle may.
For sothe, as ye may here of me,
I spake with hym in Galalé
    Thys ilke same dey.”

When his dyssiplus this word herde,
With mych joy forth thei ferde
    For love of that tyding,
Save one discypull that ther was
Of Ynde — his name was Thomas;
    He seyd it was a lesyng.

“How myght a man ryse from deth to lyve
That sufyrd sych wondys fyve?
    Man that myght never be.
For nothyng that any man may sey,
Never leve that I ne may,
    Bot if that I it se.”

Two palmers in that tyde
The castell of Eamas com besyde,
    And Jhesu Cryst ther thei mette.
In palmers wede Jhesu went also,
And when thei spake together tho,
    Jhesu them feyr grete.

And askyd what men thei were,
And what thing that they sought ther,
    And why thei were sory.
They ansuerd and seyd, “Wotys thou nought
How Jhesu was to deth brought
    On the mounte of Calvery?

“Among us whyll that he yede,
He told us of that ilke dede
What schall after the thyrd dey that syth.
The thyrd dey after, he dyd sey,
He schuld ryse fro deth to lyve that dey,
And schew hym with hys wondys fyve
    Among hys dyscipulus alle.

“And now is the thyrd dey gone,
And word of hym had we non;
    Therfor we be agreved alle.”
Jhesu ansuerd them agen,
“Now me thinke ye agrevyd ben,
    A party myssbelevyd.

“Have not ye herd in prophesy
Of Moyses and of Isay
    And wryten in story
That Jhesu schuld on the thrid dey
Aryse up as God veray
    And sty to his glory?”

Glad were thei of that he seyd,
And went in hys felowrede
    Tyll agen the nyght.
Therin thei toke all in fere,
And sett them don at ther soper
    With Jhesu in that plyght.

They had spred both bord and cloth,
And Jhesu Cryst betwen hem both
    At the soper he sate.
The bred he toke upon the borde
And blyssed it with holy worde,
    And brake it after that.

By the brekyng thei hym knew,
Bothe be hyde and by hew,
    And seyd it was Jhesu.
And as he sate betwen hem, I sey,
He vanysched sone fro hem awey
    Thorow hys holy vertue.

Than thei gan to make grete mone,
For Jhesus Cryst was fro them gone,
    And thei wepyd with ther eyghen.
Cleophas seyd, “For soth it is,
Jhesu Cryst arysen is —
    Both we hym sene!”

Than seyd the palmer Lucas,
“Anon here with us he was;
    We couth hym not knowyn.
The prophesy he us undyde
And sate with us in that stede;
    The blame is all oure awne.”

To Jerusalem swyth he yede,
And told all hys feloys-rede
    That were in grete longyng.
And seyd, “Feloys, for iwys,
Jhesu Cryst arysen is —
    Thys is no lesynge.”

That ilke dey what so befall,
The apostylls toke ther leve all
    At on paleys of stone.
Dores and wyndos thei sperd faste;
Of the Jues thei were agast,
    And Thomas was oute gon.

And as thei were in grete longyng
Of Jhesu to have som tyding,
    Amonge hem he gan to stond.
All thei were in full grete care,
A gost thei weyned that it were;
    He schewyd them fote and hond.

Jhesu seyd, “Pes among you be,
And drede ye not me,
    Thoff I be com so late.
I ame God and man Jhesu;
I ame com in thorow my vertu,
    Tho schyte beth dore and gate.”

When Jhesu had thus iseyd,
He was gon sone in a breyd,
    And in ther come Thomas.
The apostyllys seyd, “Iwys,
Jhesu Cryste rysen is;
    Ryght now here he was!”

Thomas ansuerd and began to stryve.
“Ther may no man ryse fro deth to lyve
    That sofyrd wondys syche.”
Peter ansuerd agene,
“Of Jhesu thou schall have a syght
    Ryght sone privelyche.”

(When he com besyde the ston,
Of Jhesu he had a syght anon
    Besyde the monyment.
Bot Thomas wold it leve nought
That ther was sych a meracle wrought,
    That Jhesus forth was went.)

Mary, Peter, and Seynt John,
And the apostyllus everychon,
    They spoke to Thomas of Ynde:
“Prophetys that were wyse
Seyd that Jhesus schuld aryse
    To save all mankynde.

“Thomas of Ynde,” thei seyd all,
“Thou arte in wanhope falle
    And in mysbyleve.
Cry hym mersy, we thee rede,
Or body and saule thou arte bot dede,
    Withoutyn any endyng.”

Thomas gan to wepe sore;
He durst not speke a word more
    To John ne to Mary.
Forth in hys wey he gan to gon
Tyll he unto Galalé com,
    Jhesu mersy to cry.

Every wey as he yede,
Mersy of Jhesu he bede.
    In that ilke stounde.
Jhesu Cryst agen hym com,
And be the ryght hond he hym nome
    And put it in hys wonde.

“Thomas,” he seyd, “levyst thou not yit
That I was nalyd thorow hondys and fete
    Upon the rode tre,
And now I ryse fro deth to lyve?
Ther agene may no man stryve;
    The soth thou may se.”

“Lord,” Thomas began to sey,
“Now beleve it I wele may,
    In this ilke stond.
Mannys soule that was caught
With thi blod thou hast it bought
    Out of hell grond.”

Jhesu seyd, “Blyssed mot thei be
That beleve and not it se,
    And on my uprysing.
And whoso that beleve it nought,
Into helle he schall be brought,
    Withoutyn any endyng.”

When Jhesus had seyd thus
As it hys wyll was
    To Thomas of Ynde,
Thomas lokyd after hym anon;
Whetherward Jhesus wold gon,
    He couth hym nowher fynde.

Late we now Jhesus and Thomas be,
And of the foure knyghtys speke we
    That kepyd the moniment,
What noys thei gan make
When thei were fro slepe awake
    And Jhesus was forth wente.

Syr Amorant styrte up anon:
“Alas, he hath don awey the ston
    That on the tombe ley!
It was an hevy ston withall;
I wote not how it is befall.
    It is remevyd awey.”

Syr Gamorant seyd tho,
“Is Jhesu Cryst from us go
    Oute of the monyment?
What schall we sey to Syr Pylate?
Now he is rysen and gon hys gate,
    Sertys we be schente.”

Syr Cosdram seyd, “Alas this dey!
Is Jhesu scapyd awey?
    Oute of this lond we muste fle,
For if we com Pylat beforne,
With wyld hors we schall be torne —
    Full syker may we be.”

Syr Arfax seyd, “Be now stylle.
Thys is do by Godys wylle,
    As ye may at me here.
Com ther no man Jhesu to stelen,
Nother hys body awey to beryn;
    Therof I make you syker.

“I slepyd no slepe this nyght.
Fro heven I saw com a lyght —
    Sych one saw I never none.
Syxty thousand angellus bryght
Com agen hym this same nyght
    When Jhesu wold forth gon.

“Ther com with them sych a smelle,
As it hade be bame every dele
    And other spysery.
With hem Jhesu gan forth glyde;
He bad an angell ther abyde
    To kepe the Marys thre.

“We wyll sey as we haffe se;
Out of this lond we wyll not fle
    For no kyns thing.
We wyll take the ryght gate,
To we com to Syr Pylate
    And tell hym this tydyng.”

The knyghtys ther wey nom,
To thei to Syr Pylat com
    And feyre thei gon hym grete.
“Pylat,” thei seyd, “wylt thou here,
Of us may thou awntres lere
    Of this vary prophete.

“Hym we wakyd this nyght,
He is a man of mekyll myght
    And of a grete posté:
Hymselve hath lyft up the ston.
Whether that he wold, he is gon
    Into Galalé.”

Than seyd Pylat, “Sey not so,
If that ye wene wele to do,
    Nother be dey ne nyght.
Bot sey hys dyssiples come
And hys body fro you nome
    With grete stryff and myght.

“And ye schuld gode mede have,
Also mych as ye wold crave
    Of sylver and of gold.”
Than were the knyghtys ryght feyn —
They wend thei schuld be sleyn —
    And seyd as Pylat wold.

And suere be ther god Mahune,
“We wyll it not telle in feld ne towne,
    Ne of non other thyng,
Bot that Jhesu dyssipullus com
And hys body fro us nome
    With full grete fyghtyng.”

This is trew that I you telle,
As is the trew gospell,
    Withoutyn lesyng.
They that this talkyng herd sey,
God send hem grace to take the wey
    To the blysse without endyng.
(see note)
bishop (i.e., Caiaphas)
best advice we can follow

pertain to royal authority

their way; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)






[So] that

For fear of his treachery

head as a wager
because of him

put him

allotted to him

(see note)

(see note)


care not
Unless; in an instant

flesh (i.e., bloody pieces)

(i.e., twice as many); (see note)
I stand in no doubt

Safely (freely)

may I prosper; (t-note)

hawthorn berry (i.e., I care little)

drawn apart

no bit (not at all)



(see note)
sly (prudent)

Whatever adventure (chance) may happen

Cut off his head together
Unless he is quickly captured

make threats

each one

[Such] that; (see note)

On any day of my life
a while
Even if I thought

Despite what

a while
Until the cocks

in this way

with voice


done wrong

by Jeremiah; (see note)


(see note); (t-note)
pay for



through hand and foot
man’s soul; gave up




To meet Jesus in joy




trapped (deceived)

my thoughts are elsewhere


watch over; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
(see note)

(see note)

In all things

(see note)

[for] him to be delivered

the story and [its] conclusion

ointments of great effect
allay (treat)

knew no alternative

(see note); (t-note)
advise her companions


best advice
drawn apart


(see note)
Jesus spoken of



seems to me

(see note)

Nor make any noise
Discover immediately



in that time
had commanded
[Who] had come

Back she began to go



spoke; peacefully; (see note)





same time

in reply

is gone


(see note)

your mercy
as [was my] intention


I must go elsewhere

humbly (privately)


(see note)
all together

(see note); (t-note)


a lie

[A] man [like that]

pilgrims; (see note)

pilgrim’s clothes

greeted them kindly

And [Jesus] asked

Do you not know

(see note)

shall [happen] after the third day


are distressed; (see note)
in reply
Partly unbelieving (in doubt)

Moses and Isaiah; (see note)


fellowship (company)
Until [they came] to nightfall

in that manner; (t-note)


appearance and manner


could not recognize him
place (time)



(see note)
a palace


his feet and hands (i.e., his wounds)

power; (see note)
Though the door and gate are shut; (t-note)


Truly; (t-note)


such wounds


[i.e., Peter (see note)]

not believe

(see note)

Beg him for mercy
or [in] body and soul you are dead


same place
came to him
(see note)

Against this no man can argue


may; (t-note)



guarded the tomb

rose up

I do not know how it happened

gone on his way

We can be sure [of that]

hear from me

(see note)

Came to him

As if it had been balm in every way

go forth
to wait there

have seen
no reason whatsoever
direct way

took their way; (see note)

if you will listen
miracles learn; (t-note)

watched; (t-note)


Wherever he wished



as you might want

had thought
as Pilate wished

Mahound (Mohammed); (see note)
i.e., anywhere


Without lie
heard this story told

(see note)
Go To Item 37, Saint Margaret, introduction
Go To Item 37, Saint Margaret, text