by: Douglas Sugano (Editor)
from: The N-Town Plays 2007
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SYMEON I have be prest in Jherusalem here
And tawth Goddys lawe many a yere,
Desyrynge in all my mende
That the tyme were neyhand nere
In which Goddys Son shul apere
In erthe to take mankende,
Or I deyd that I myght fynde
My Savyour with myn ey to se.
But that it is so longe behynde,
It is grett dyscomforte onto me.
For I wax olde and wante my might
And begynne to fayle my syght,
The more I sorwe this tyde,
Save only as I telle yow ryght:
God of his grace hath me hyght
That blysful byrth to byde.
Wherfore now here besyde
To Sancta sanctorum wyl I go
To pray God to be my gyde,
To comfort me aftyr my wo.
[Here Symeon knelyth and seyth:
A, gode God in Trinité:
Whow longe shal I abyde thee
Tyl that thu thi Son thu doth sende,
That I in erth myght hym se?
Good Lord, consydyr to me!
I drawe fast to an ende,
That or my strenthis fro me wende.
Gode Lorde, send down thi Son
That I, with my ful mende,
Myght wurcheppe hym if I con.
Bothe with my fete and hondys to,
To go to hym and handele also
My eyn to se hym in certayn,
My tonge for to speke hym to
And all my lemys to werke and do,
In his servyse to be bayn.
Send forth thi Son, my Lord sovereyn,
Hastely, anon withowte teryenge,
For fro this world I wolde be fayn!
It is contrary to my levynge.
ANGELUS Symeon, leff thi careful stevene,
For thi prayer is herd in hevene.
To Jherusalem fast now wynne,
And ther shalt se, ful evene,
He that is Goddys Son, for to nemene.
In the temple ther thu dwellyst inne —
The dyrknes of orygynal synne
He shal make lyght and clarefye.
And now the dede shal begynne
Whiche hath be spokyn be prophecye.
SYMEON A, I thanke thee, Lord of Grace,
That hath grauntyd me tyme and space
To lyve and byde thys.
And I wyl walk now to the place
Where I may se thi Sonys face,
Which is my joye and blys.
I was nevyr lyghtere, iwys,
To walke nevyr here beforn!
For a mery tyme now is
Whan God, my Lord, is born.
ANNA PROPHETESSA Al heyl, Symeon! What tydyngys with yow?
Why make ye al this myrth now?
Telle me whedyr ye fare.
SYMEON Anne, prophetes, and ye wyst whow
So shulde ye — I make a vow —
And all maner men that are,
For Goddys Son — as I declare —
Is born to bye mankende!
Oure Savyour is come to sesyn oure care!
Therfore, have I grett merth to wende.
And that is the cawse I hast me
Onto the temple, hym to se,
And therfore lett me not, good frende.
ANNA Now blyssyd be God in Trinyté
Syn that tyme is come to be!
And with yow wyl I wende
To se my Savyour ende
And wurchepp hym also
With all my wyll and my ful mende.
As I am bound, now wyl I do.
[Et tunc ibunt ambo ad templum.
SYMEON In the temple of God, who undyrstod,
This day shal be offeryd with mylde mood
Which that is kynge of alle
That shal be skorgyd and shedde his blood,
And, aftyr, dyen on the rood,
Withowtyn cawse to calle;
For whos Passyon ther shal beffalle
Swych a sorwe bothe sharpe and smerte
That as a swerd perce it shalle,
Evene thorwe his moderys herte.
ANNA PROPHETISSA Ya, that shal be as I wel fende,
For redempcyon of all mankende,
That blysse for to restore,
Whiche hath be lost fro oute of mende
As be oure fadyr of oure owyn kende,
Adam and Eve beffore.
MARIA Joseph, my husbond, withowtyn mys,
Ye wote that fourty days nere is
Sythe my sonys byrth ful ryght.
Wherfore, we must to the temple, iwys,
Therfore to offre oure sone of blys
Up to his Fadyr in hyght.
And I in Goddys sight
Puryfyed for to be,
In clene sowle with al my might
In presence of the Trinyté.
JOSEPH To be purefyed have ye no need
Ne thi son to be offeryd, so God me spede;
For fyrst thu art ful clene,
Undefowlyd in thought and dede.
And anothyr, thi son, withowtyn drede,
Is God and man to mene.
Wherefore it nedyd not to bene
But to kepe the lawe on Moyses wyse
Whereffore we shal take us between
Dovys and turtelys for sacrefyce.
[Et ibunt ad templum.
SYMEON All heyl, my kyndely comfortour!
ANNA PROPHETISSA All heyl, mankyndys creatoure!
SYMEON All heyl, thu God of Myght!
ANNA PROPHETISSA All heyl, mankyndys Savyour!
SYMEON All heyl, bothe kynge and emperour!
ANNA PROPHETISSA All heyl, as it is ryght!
SYMEON All heyl, also Mary bryght!
ANNA PROPHETISSA All heyl, salver of seknes!
SYMEON All heyl, lanterne of lyght!
ANNA PROPHETISSA All heyl, thu modyr of mekenes!
MARIA Symeon, I undyrstand and se
That bothyn of my sone and me
Ye have knowynge clere.
And also in youre compané,
My sone desyryth for to be,
And therffore have hym here.
[Et accipiet Jhesum.
SYMEON Welcome, prynce withowte pere!
Welcome, Goddys owyn sone!
Welcome, my Lord so dere!
Welcome, with me to wone!
Suscepimus Deus misericordiam tuam. 1
Lord God, in magesté:
We have receyvyd this day of thee,
In myddys of thi temple here
Thy grett mercy as we may se.
Therfore thi name of grett degré
Be wurchepyd in all manere
Over all this werde, bothe fer and nere,
Yevyn on to the uterest ende;
For now is man out of daungere
And rest and pes to all mankende.
been [a] priest; (t-note)
taught; God’s; (t-note)
near at hand; (t-note)
Before I died
grow; lack; strength
the Holy of Holies; (see note)
take pity on me
[So] that; mind
from; gladly be
way of life
stop your sad speech; (t-note)
you shall see
to speak of
(see note); (t-note)
where you are going
prophetess, if you knew why; (t-note)
As you should
buy (redeem) mankind; (see note)
end our woes
don’t hinder me; (t-note)
And then both of them go to the temple; (t-note)
truth be told; (t-note)
He who is
scourged; [will] shed
die on the cross
sorrow; painful; (see note)
through; mother’s heart
well find; (see note); (t-note)
time out of mind
by; father; own kind
know; it is nearly; (see note)
Since my son’s; exactly
son of bliss
Nor; God help me
without a doubt
to mediate between
according to Moses
for the two of us; (see note)
Doves and turtledoves
And they (Mary and Joseph) go to the temple
healer of sickness
mother of meekness
And he (Simeon) welcomes Jesus
God’s own son
(see note); (t-note)
Even; most distant; (t-note)
[“Nunc dimittis seruum tuum Domine,” et cetera. 2 The psalme songyn every vers, and therqwyl Symeon pleyth with the child and qwhan the psalme is endyd, he seyth: (see note); (t-note)
Now lete me dye, Lorde, and hens pace,
For I, thi servaunt in this place,
Have sen my Savyour dere,
Whiche thu hast ordeyned beforn the face
Of al mankynde this tyme of grace,
Opynly to appere:
Thi lyth is shynand clere
To all mankyndys savacyon.
Mary, take youre childe now here
And kepe wel: this man is savacyon.
ANNA PROPHETISSA Ne I rowth nere to dye also,
For more than fowre skore yere and to
This tyme hath bede to se,
And sythe that it is come therto,
What Goddys wyl is with me to do,
Right evyn so mot it be.
JOSEPH Take here these candelys thre —
Mary, Symeon, and Anne —
And I shal take the fowrte to me
To offre oure child up, thanne.
MARIA Hyest Fadyr, God of powere:
Your owyn dere Son I offre yow here.
As I to your lawe am sworn.
Receyve thi childe in glad manere,
For he is the fyrst, this childe so dere,
That of his modyr is born.
But thow I offre hym yow beforn,
Good Lord, yit gyf me hym agen,
For my comforte were fully lorn
If we shuld longe asondyr ben.
[Mari leyth the childe on the autere.
JOSEPH Sere prest of the temple, now
Have here fyff pens unto yow,
Oure childe agen to take.
It is the lawe, as ye woot how.
CAPELLANUS Joseph, ye an do ryght anow
As for youre childys sake.
But othere offerynge yett must ye make.
And therfore take youre sone, Mary,
In meche joye ye may awake
Whylys he is in youre company.
MARIA Therto I am ful glad and fayn
For to receyve my childe agayn,
Ellys were I to blame;
And afterewarde, for to be bayn
To offre to God, in ful certayn,
As in my sonys name
With fowlys, bothe wylde and tame,
For in Goddys servyse I shal nevyr irke.
JOSEPH Lo, Mary, have here tho same
To do thi dewtys of Holy Kyrke.
[And ther Mary offeryth fowlys onto the autere and seyth:
MARIA Allmyghtyfful Fadyr, mercyful Kynge:
Receyvyth now this lytyl offrynge,
For it is the fyrst in degré
That youre lytyl childe so yynge
Presentyth today be my shewyng
To youre hygh magesté.
Of his sympyl poverté,
Be his devocyon and my good wylle,
Upon your awtere receyve of me
Youre sonys offrynge, as it is skylle.
die; hence pass; (see note)
guard him well; salvation; (see note); (t-note)
Nor am I reluctant to die; (t-note)
four score and two years
lived to see
three candles; (see note)
yet give him to me again
would be lost
Sir priest; (see note)
five pence; (t-note)
have done the right thing; (see note)
God’s service; get weary; (t-note)
those same ones
duties; Holy Church
son’s; fitting; (see note); (t-note)