by: Douglas Sugano (Editor)
from: The N-Town Plays 2007
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[Modo de doctoribus disputantibus cum Jhesu in templo.1
DOCTOR 1 Scripture sacre esse dinoscimur doctos:2
We to bere the belle of all manere clergyse.
DOCTOR 2 Velud rosa omnium florum flos:
Lyke on to us was nevyr clerke so wyse.
DOCTOR 1 Loke what scyens ye kan devyse
Of redynge, wrytynge, and trewe ortografye.
Amongys all clerkys we bere the prysse
Of gramer, cadens, and of prosodye!
DOCTOR 2 No clerke abyl to bere oure book
Of versyfyeng nor of other scyens!
Of swete musyke, whoso wyll look —
Seke no ferther but to oure presens!
Of dyaletyk we have the hygh excellence
Of sophestrye, logyk, and phylosophye!
Ageyn oure argemente is no recystence
In metaphesyk ne astronomye.
DOCTOR 1 Of calculacyon and negremauncye —
Also of augrym and of asmatryk —
O lynyacyon that longyth to jematrye —
Of dyetis and domys that longyth to phesyk —
In all this scyens is non us lyke
In Caton, Gryscysme, nor Doctrynal!
And for endytynge with retoryke
The hyest degré is oure be call.
DOCTOR 2 In grett canon and in cevyle lawe,
Also in scyens of polycye
Is non to us wurthe an hawe!
Of all cunnynge we bere the maystrye!
Therfore, in this temple we sytt on hye
And of most wurchep kepe the sovereynté:
Ther is on erthe no man so wurthye
The hygh stat to holdyn as we tweyn be.
JHESUS Omnis sciencia a Domino Deo est:
Al wytt and wysdam of God it is lent.
Of all your lernynge withinne youre brest
Thank hyghly that Lord that hath yow sent.
Thorwe bost and pryde, youre soulys may be shent.
Of wytt and wysdome, ye have not so mech
But God may make, at hese entente,
Of all youre connynge many man yow lech.
DOCTOR 1 Goo hom, lytyl babe, and sytt on thi moderys lappe,
And put a mokador aforn thi brest,
And pray thi modyr to fede thee with the pappe!
Of thee for to lerne, we desyre not to lest.
DOCTOR 2 Go to thi dyner, for that behovyth thee best!
Whan thu art athreste, than take thee a sowke!
Aftyr, go to cradyl therin to take thi rest,
For that canst thu do bettyr than for to loke on book.
JHESUS Stondynge that ye be so wytty and wyse —
Can ye owth tellyn how this werde was wrought?
How longe shal it laste? Can ye devyse
With all the cunnyge that ye han sought?
DOCTOR 1 Nay, all erthely clerkys that telle can nought!
It passyth oure wytt that for to contryve!
It is not possyble abought to be brought:
The worldys endyng no man kan descryve!
JHESUS How it was wrought, and how longe it shal endure?
That I telle be good delyberacyon.
Not only therof, but of every creature —
How it is wrought, I knowe the plasmacyon.
DOCTOR 2 Of thi wurdys I have skorne and derysyon!
How schulde a chylde that nevyr lettyr dude lere
Com to the wytt of so hygh cognysion
Of tho grete werkys that so wundyrfull were?
JHESUS All thynge is brought to informacyon
Be thre personys, oo God in Trynité.
And on of tho thre hath take incarnacyon,
Bothe flesch and blood of a mayd fre.
And be that myght of tho personys thre,
Hevyn and erth and all thynge is wrought.
And as it plesyth that hygh Magesté,
Allthynge shal leste and lenger nowght.
DOCTOR 1 I grawnt weyl allthynge that God dyde make,
And withowtyn hym, nothynge may be,
But o thynge thu seydyst, and that I forsake,
That oo God alone was personys thre.
Ryght onpossyble that is to me!
That on is thre I kannot thynke.
If thu canst preve it anon lett se,
For in oure hertys it may nevyr synke.
JHESUS In the sunne, consydyr ye thyngys thre:
The splendure, the hete, and the lyght.
As tho thre partys but oo sunne be,
Ryght so thre personys be oo God of myght.
DOCTOR 2 In very feyth, this reson is ryght!
But yitt, fayr babe, oo thynge we pray yow:
What do all tho thre personys hyght?
Us to enforme, ye sey to me now.
JHESUS The fyrst is calde the Fadyr of Myght;
The secunde the Sone of Wysdam and Wytt;
The Holy Gost the thyrde, of Grace he is hyght;
And in oo substauns all these thre be knyt.
DOCTOR 1 Another questyon I aske yow yitt:
Ye seyd on of these thre toke flesch and blood,3
And sche a clene mayde? I kannot beleve it —
Clene mayde and modyr nevyr yit in oo persone stood.4
JHESUS Lyke as the sunne doth pers the glas,
The glas not hurte of his nature;
Ryght so the Godhed entryd has
The Virgynes wombe, and sche mayd pure.
That maydonys childe shal do grett cure:
Convicte the devyl in the opyn felde,
And with his bolde berst fecch hom his creature,
Mankende, to save — his brest shal be the shelde.
DOCTOR 2 This childys doctryne doth passe oure wytt.
Sum aungel of hevyn I trowe that he be!
But blyssyd babe, of oo dowte yitt.
We pray yow, enforme us for charyté:
Which toke flesch of the personys thre,
Ageyn the fende to holde such batayle?
JHESUS The secunde persone, forsothe, is he
Shal fray the fende withowte fayle.
DOCTOR 1 Why rather he than any of that other?
The fyrst or the thyrde, why come they nowth?
JHESUS This is the cawse why, sertys, and non other.
Ageyn the secunde, the trespas was wrought
Whan the serpent Adam to synne browth.
He temptyd hym nowght be the Faderys myght.
Of the Gostys goodnes spak he ryght nowght,
But in connynge he temptyd hym ryght.
Myght is the Faderys owyn propyrté;
To the Gost aproperyd is goodnes.
In none of these tweyn temptyd he.
Mankende to synne, whan he dede dresse,
To the Sone connynge doth longe expres.
Ther with the serpent dyd Adam asay.
“Ete of this appyl,” he seyd no lesse,
“And thu shalt have connynge as God, verray.”
Thus the secunde person attrybute
Was only towchyd be temptacyon,
Wherfore hymself wyl hold the sewte
And kepe his propyrté fro maculacyon.
DOCTOR 2 This is an hevynly declaracyon!
Oure naturall wytt it doth excede!
So yonge a childe of such informacyon
In al this werld nevyr er non yede.
DOCTOR 1 We be not worthy to kepe this sete
Whyll that oure mayster is in presens.
The maystry of us, this childe doth gete!
We must hym wurchep with hygh reverens.
Come forth, swete babe of grett excellens,
The whysest clerke that evyr yett was born!
To yow we geve the hygh resydens,
Us more to teche as ye have done beforn.
two are the best of all clergy
As the rose of all flowers, (we are) the flower; (see note)
learning; conceive of; (t-note)
are the most eminent; (t-note)
grammar, rhetoric; versifying
can compare with us
For sweet music; (see note)
Against; argument; (t-note)
metaphysics nor; (see note); (t-note)
sorcery; (see note)
computing; art of measuring
use of lines in geometry; (see note)
diets; medical opinions
there is none like us
Cato, Graecismus; Doctrinale; (see note)
writing; rhetoric; (t-note)
ours for the asking; (t-note)
Everyone is worthless compared to us
we are the masters
position; two do
All wisdom is from the Lord God; (see note)
Be thankful; sent to you
at his will
cleverness; men such as you
bib on; (t-note)
From thee; to listen; (t-note)
dinner; fits thee
thirsty, then have a suck
read a book
world was made; (see note)
cannot tell that
to be done
world’s end; describe; (t-note)
was it made; (see note)
made; creation; (see note)
For; derision; (t-note)
did learn his letters; (t-note)
such high comprehension
those great works
made manifest as knowedge
By three; one; (see note)
one; those; taken
last and no longer
one; said; reject
one; three; conceive
prove; now let’s see
three; (see note)
those three; one
yet; one; ask you
those; call themselves
third; is called; (t-note)
pierce; (see note); (t-note)
maiden’s; go to great lengths
Defeat; in battle; (see note)
[the child’s] fair breast; (t-note)
His (Christ’s) breast
Against the fiend; battle
Who shall attack the fiend
of the others
reason why, certainly
Against; sin was committed
not by; Father’s
Spirit’s; spoke not
Holy Ghost assigned; (t-note)
when he did cause it
cunning is long associated
did tempt Adam; (see note)
attribute from defilement
never before has lived
seat [of honor]
mastery over us; has won; (t-note)
give; seat; (see note)
[Hic adducunt Jhesum inter ipsos et in scanno altiori ipsum sedere faciunt, ipsis in infer- ioribus scannis sedentibus, et ait Doctor 2:5
DOCTOR 2 So yonge a chylde, suche clergye to reche,
And so sadly to sey it, we woundyr sore:
Who was youre mayster who dede yow teche?
Of what man had ye this wurthy lore?
JHESUS My wytt and my lernynge is no yonge store.
Or this worde was wrought, allthinge dede I knowe.
Fyrst, or ye wore borne, yerys many score
Thorwe the myght of my Fadyr, my wytt in me dede flowe.
DOCTOR 1 Or that we weryn born? Nay, that may nat be!
The yongest of us tweyn is thre score yere of age!
And thiselfe art but a chylde — al men may wel se.
Late camst out of cradyl as it semyth be thi vesage.
JHESUS I am of dobyl byrth and of dobyl lenage:
Fyrst, be my Fadyr, I am without gynnynge,
And lyke, as he is hendeles in his hygh stage,
So shal I also nevyrmor have endynge.
For be my Fadyr, Kynge Celestyall
Without begynnyng, I am endles.
But be my modyr that is carnall,
I am but twelf yere of age — that is expres.
My body of yough doth shewe wyttnes
Which of my modyr here I dude take
But myn hygh Godhede, this is no lesse.
Allthynge in this worlde forsothe dude I make.
DOCTOR 2 Be youre fadyr that endles is —
Who is your modyr? Telle us, we pray!
JHESUS Be my Fadyr, the hygh Kynge of Blys,
A modyrles chylde I am, veray.
DOCTOR 1 Who was youre fadyr, to us than say,
Be youre modyr, a woman that was!
JHESUS I am fadyrles. As for that may
Of fleschly luste, she dude nevyr trespas.
DOCTOR 2 Telle us, I pray yow, what is youre name?
What hyght youre modyr, telle us also.
JHESUS Jhesu of Nazareth, I am the same,
Born of a clene mayd — prophetys seyd so.
Ysaye seyd thus: “Ecce virgo” —
A mayd shal conceyve in clennes a chylde,
Yitt ageyn nature and al kende, loo,
From all wem of synne, pure and undefylde.
Mary, the chylde of Joachym and Anne,
Ys that clene mayd, and her childe am I.
The frute of her wombe shal save every manne
From the grett dowte of the fyndys tormentry.
DOCTOR 1 All the clerkys of this worlde, trewly,
Cannot brynge this to declaracyon
Lesse than thei have of God Almyghty
Sum influens of informacyon!
DOCTOR 2 Now, jentyl Jhesu, we yow pray
Whyl that we stodye awhyle to dwelle
In cas mo dowtys that we fynde may
The trewth of hem ye may us telle.
JHESUS Goo, take youre stodye, and avyse yow well,
And all youre leysere I shal abyde.
If any dowtys to me ye mell,
The trewth therof I shall unhyde.
MARIA Alas, alas myn hert is wo!
My blyssyd babe awey is went!
I wott nevyr whedyr that he is go!
Alas, for sorwe myn hert is rent!
Jentyl husbond, have you hym sent
Out on herrande to any place?
But yf ye knowe were he ys bent,
Myn hert for woo asondyr wyl race.
JOSEPH On my massage I hym not sent,
Forsothe, good wyff, in no degré.
How longe is it that he hens went?
What tyme dude ye youre childe last se?
MARIA Trewly, gode spowse, not these days thre!
Therfore, myn herte is cast in care,
Hym for to seke wherso he be!
In hast, good husbonde, lete us forth fare!
JOSEPH Than to Hierusalem lete us streyte wende,
For kynred gladly togedyr wole gon.
I hope he is ther with sum good frende;
Ther he hath cosynys ryght many on.
MARIA I am aferde that he hath fon,
For his grett wyttys and werkys good
Lyke hym of wytt, forsoth, is non:
Every childe with hym is wroth and wood.
Also, my babe, my blys, my blood —
Whedyr art thu thus gon fro me?
My sowle, my swetyng, my frute, myn food —
Send me sum wurd where that thu be!
Telle me, good serys, for charyté —
Jhesu, my childe, that babe of blysse,
Amonge this compayné dude ye hym se?
For Godys hygh love — telle where he is!
DOCTOR 1 Of oo qwestyon I am bethought:
All of youre modyr, that blyssyd may —
In what governauns is she brought?
How is sche rewlyd be nyght and day?
JHESUS An old man Joseph, as I yow say,
Her weddyd be meracle onto his wyff,
Her for to fede and kepe alway
And bothyn in clennesse be maydonys o lyff.
DOCTOR 2 What nede was it her to be wedde
Onto a man of so grett age,
Lesse than thei myght bothe ago to bedde
And kept the lawe of maryage?
JHESUS To blynde the devyl of his knowlache
And my byrth from hym to hyde,
That holy wedlok was grett stopage,
The devyl in dowte to do abyde.
Also, whan sche shulde to Egypte gon
And fle from Herowde for dowte of me,
Becawse she shulde nat go alon;
Joseph was ordeyned her make to be.
My Fadyr, of his hygh magesté,
Her for to comforte in the way.
These be the cawsys, as ye may se,
Why Joseph weddyd that holy may.
MARIA A, dere childe! Dere chylde, why hast thu thus done?
For thee we have had grett sorwe and care!
Thy fadyr and I thre days have gone
Wyde, thee to seke of blysse ful bare.
JHESUS Why have ye sought me with evy fare?
Wete ye not wele I muste been
Amonge hem that is my Faderys ware,
His gostly catel for to ovyrsen.
MARIA Youre Faderys wyl must nedys be wrought.
It is most wurthy that it so be,
Yitt on youre modyr have ye sum thought
And be nevyrmore so longe fro me!
As to my thynkynge, these days thre
That ye absente have ben away
Be more lengere in ther degré
Than all the space of twelf yere day.
JHESUS Now for to plese my modyr mylde,
I shal yow folwe with obedyence.
I am youre sone and subjecte childe
And owe to do yow hygh reverence.
Home with yow I wyl go hens;
Of yow clerkys my leve I take.
Every childe shulde, with good dyligens,
His modyr to plese, his owyn wyl forsake.
DOCTOR 1 O, blyssyd Jhesu, with yow we wende!
Of yow to have more informacyon,
Ful blyssyd is youre modyr hende
Of whom you toke youre incarnacyon.
We pray yow, Jhesu, of consolacyon
At oure most nede of yow to have.
All that hath herd this consummacyon
Of this pagent, youre grace them save.
maturely; wonder greatly
teacher; did teach you
not recent; (see note)
cradle; by your face
double; lineage; (see note)
by my Father; beginning
endless; throne; (t-note)
by my mother
twelve years; is clear
youth; bear witness; (t-note)
Everything; truly did
[Swearing] by your father
[Swearing] by your mother; (t-note)
did never sin
I ask you
What is your mother called
pure maid; (see note)
“Behold, a virgin”
Yet against; natural law
great fear; fiend’s torment
cannot say this
ask you; (t-note)
study; to stay
don’t know where; gone
sorrow; heart; broken
you sent him; (t-note)
on an errand
Unless; bound; (t-note)
heart; break into pieces
On an errand
Truly; no way; (t-note)
In haste; go forth
Then; go directly
kin; would go together
cousins; many a one
Because of; wits; works
angry and raging
my darling, my son
one; I have thought
In whose keeping
say to you
both be virgins for life
(see note); (t-note)
Unless; have gone
to keep in doubt
when; went; (t-note)
fled; out of fear; (t-note)
ordained to be her mate
are the causes
Widely; seek; sorrowfully; (t-note)
heavy faces; (t-note)
Know you not well
them; Father’s business; (see note)
spiritual goods to oversee
Father’s; must be done
Yet of your mother
your entire twelve years
we will go; (see note)
heard; performance; (see note)
(see note); (t-note)