by: Douglas Sugano (Editor)
from: The N-Town Plays 2007
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I am an herde man þat hattyht sayyng amys.62–102 MS: lines 74–89, s.d. appear first, but are marked B. Lines 62–73 appear second, but are marked A. Lines 90–102 appear third in this passage and are marked C. The text reflects the ordering as marked. Bl renders the order in the manuscript, ignoring the compiler's attempt to reorder the material. Thus, in her edition, line 61 is followed by lines 74–89, which are then followed by lines 62–73.
I herde spekyng of a child of blys
Of Moyses in his law
Of a mayd a child xuld be borne.
W William dere
Joh Taylphott of parish
Bedonson wee that will no
when we paie when we would
we shal find nay
And [scribble] Evosund
John [at the bottom of the page]
|[Angelus ad pastores dicit: “Gloria in excelsis Deo."1|
ANGELUS Joye to God that sytt in hevyn
And pes to man on erthe grownde!
A chylde is born benethe the levyn
Thurwe hym many folke shul be unbownde!
Sacramentys ther shul be sefne,
Wonnyn thorwe that childys wounde.
Therfore, I synge a joyful stevene:
The flowre of frenchep now is founde,
God that wonyght on hygh.
He is gloryed, mannys gost to wynne;
He hath sent salve to mannys synne;
Pes is comyn to mannys kynne
Thorwe Goddys sleytys slygh.
PASTOR 1 Maunfras, Maunfras, felawe myne —
I saw a grett lyght with shene shyne!
Yit saw I nevyr so selkowth syne
Shapyn upon the skyes!
It is bryghtere than the sunnebem;
It comyth ryght ovyr all this rem!
Evyn above Bedleem
I saw it brenne thryes.
PASTOR 2 Thu art my brother, Boosras.
I have beholdyn the same pas!
I trowe it is tokenynge of gras,
That shynynge shewyght beforn:
Balaam spak in prophesye
A lyght shuld shyne upon the skye
Whan a sone of a mayd Marye
In Bedleem were iborn.
PASTOR 3 Thow I make lytyl noyse,
I am an herde that hattyht Moyse.
I herde carpynge of a croyse,
Of Moyses in his lawe,
Of a mayd, a barne born.
On a tre he shulde be torn,
Delyver folkys that arn forlorn —
The chylde shulde be slawe.
PASTOR 1 Balaam spak in prophecie:
Out of Jacob shuld shyne a skye,
Many folke he shulde bye
With his bryght blood —
Be that bryght blod that he shulde blede.
He shal us brynge fro the develys drede
As a duke most dowty, in dede,
Thorwe his deth on rode.
PASTOR 2 Amos spak with mylde meth:
A frute swettere than bawmys breth,
His deth shulde slen oure sowlys deth
And drawe us all from helle.
Therfore, such lyght goth beforn
In tokyn that the childe is born
Whiche shal save that is forlorn,
As prophetys gonne spelle.
PASTOR 3 Danyel the prophete thus gan speke:
Wyse God from woo us wreke,
Thi bryght hevyn thu tobreke
And medele thee with a mayde.
This prophecye is now spad.
Cryst in oure kend is clad:
Therfore, mankend may be glad
As prophetys beforn han seyd.
[“Gloria in excelsis Deo" cantent.
PASTOR 1 Ey, ey, this was a wondyr note
That was now songyn above the sky!
I have that voys ful wele, I wote —
Thei songe “Gle, glo, glory."
PASTOR 2 Nay, so mot y the, so was it nowth!
I have that songe ful wele inum;
In my wytt weyl it is wrought:
It was “Gle, glo, glas, glum."
PASTOR 3 The songe methought it was “Glory."
And aftyrwarde, he seyd us to
Ther is a chylde born shal be a prynce myghty!
For to seke that chylde, I rede we go.
PASTOR 1 The prophecye of Boosdras is spedly sped.
Now leyke we hens as that lyght us lede.
Myght we se onys that bryght on bed —
Our bale it wolde unbynde —
We shulde shodyr for no shoure.
Buske we us hens to Bedleem boure
To se that fayr fresch flowre,
The mayde mylde in mynde.
PASTOR 2 Lete us folwe with all oure myght,
With songe and myrth we shul us dyght
And wurchep with joye that wurthy wyght,
That Lord is of mankynne.
Lete us go forthe, fast on hye
And honowre that babe wurthylye —
With merthe, songe, and melodye.
Have do! This songe begynne.
(see note); (t-note)
on the earth
the heavenly lights
seven; (see note); (t-note)
Won through; child’s wounds; (t-note)
song; (see note)
glorified, man’s spirit
Through God’s sly devices; (t-note)
Shepherd 1; my fellow; (t-note)
Brilliance; (see note); (t-note)
wonderful a sign; (t-note)
burn thrice; (see note)
I think; grace; (t-note)
spoke; (see note)
herder called Moses; (t-note)
talk; cross; (see note)
star; (see note)
from fearing the devil
Through; a cross
spoke; mild manner; (see note)
child; balm’s breath
slay our soul’s
woe deliver us
Let them sing, “Glory to God in the highest."
wonderful song; (see note); (t-note)
I remember; voice; I think (ascertain)
They sang; (see note)
so might I thrive; not
said to us
to seek; suggest
speedily done; (see note)
once; fair [child]
shudder; rain shower; (t-note)
Hurry; Bethlehem town; (t-note)
follow; (see note)
[Tunc pastores cantabunt “Stella celi extirpavit" quo facto ibunt ad querendum Christum. 2; (see note)
PASTOR 1 Heyle, floure of flourys, fayrest ifownde!
Heyle, perle, peerles primerose of prise!
Heyl, blome on bedde! We shul be unbownde
With thi blody woundys and werkys full wyse!
Heyl, God grettest! I grete thee on grownde!
The gredy devyl shal grone grysly as a gryse
Whan thu wynnyst this worlde with thi wyde wounde3
And puttyst man to Paradys with plenty of prys!
To love thee is my delyte.
Heyl, floure fayr and fre,
Lyght from the Trynyté!
Heyl, blyssyd mote thu be!
Heyl, mayden fayrest in syght!
PASTOR 2 Heyl, floure ovyr flowrys fowndyn in fryght!
Heyl, Cryst kynde in oure kyth!
Heyl, werker of wele to wonyn us wyth!
Heyl, wynnere, iwys
Heyl, formere and frende
Heyl, fellere of the fende
Heyl, clad in oure kende!
Heyl, Prince of Paradys!
PASTOR 3 Heyl, Lord ovyr lordys that lyggyst ful lowe!
Heyl, kynge ovyr kyngys thi kynrede to knowe!
Heyl, comely knyth, the devyl to overthrowe!
Heyl, flowre of alle!
Heyl, werkere to wynne
Bodyes bowndyn in synne!
Heyl, in a bestys bynne,
Bestad in a stalle.
JOSEPH Herdys on hylle
Beth not stylle
But seyth youre wylle
To many a man:
How God is born
This mery morn —
That is forlorn
Fyndyn he can.
PASTOR 1 We shull telle
Be dale and hylle
How Harwere of Helle
Was born this nyght,
Myrthis to melle
And fendys to quelle,
That were so felle
Agens his ryght.
PASTOR 2 Farewel, babe and barne of blys!
Farewel, Lord that lovely is!
Thee to wurchep thi feet I kys.
On knes to thee I falle,
Thee to wurchepe I falle on kne.
All this werd may joye of thee!
Now farewel, Lorde of grett pousté!
Ya, farewel kynge of alle.
PASTOR 3 Thow I be the last that take my leve,
Yit, fayre mullynge, take it nat at no greve.
Now, fayre babe, wele mut thu cheve!
Fayr chylde, now have good day.
Fareweyl, myn owyn dere derlyng:
Iwys, thu art a ryght fayr thyng!
Farewel, my Lorde and my swetyng!
Farewel, born in pore aray.
MARIA Now ye herdmen, wel mote ye be,
For youre omage and youre syngynge
My sone shal aqwyte yow in hefne se,
And geve yow all ryght good hendynge.
Hail; flowers; found; (see note)
pearl, peerless primrose; price
bloody wounds; works
to the earth
horribly as a boar
in Paradise; riches
in the woodlands
noble one; country
good fortune to dwell with us
destroyer of the fiend
Shepherds; (see note); (t-note)
Whoever is lost
shall; (see note)
In valleys and hills
Mirth to bring
fair darling; do not grieve
may you fare
may; (see note)
reward; from heaven’s throne