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Play 26, Conspiracy; Entry into Jerusalem


1 To get a thousand soul­s an hour seems to me [to be] but [a] small [feat]

2 Of stones to have made bread, but soon I failed

3 A traitor shall contrive to assure his [Jesus'] death

4 Of fine cordova­n, a good pair of long, pointed shoes

5 With two dozen fringes of kid leather, with points of fine silver

6 A waistcoat of fine cloth from Rheims, the best that may be bought

7 Padding, wool, or tufts — wherever it may be sought

8 I curse your hair with side locks hanging down to your collar

9 Lines 94–95: Both civil and canon law you [should] value not at all / Leave alone no part of God, but [let his whole body] with oaths be torn

10 You will call "pride" "honesty" and "human nature" "lechery"

11 "Wrath" [will be] "manhood" and "envy" [be] called "chastisement"

12 If I find rebels, not long shall they remain

13 As a primate (prelate) most prudent, I represent in the flesh

14 For if he continues, in due time our laws he will destroy

15 Two feet every man should have, if it were to be considered

16 He will take that as pleasing because of [the] fragrance


Abbreviations: Bev: Medieval Drama, ed. Bevington (1975); MED: Middle English Dictionary; PP: Passion Play, ed. Meredith (1990); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

1–4 ff. The speech marker designates the speaker as Demon, though he names himself Lord Lucifer and Sere Satan, thus heightening our awareness of the shape-shif­ter's loss of his identity after the Fall. Now he is only projections of limited func­tions he imagines might pertain.

13–20 Compare Isaias 14:12–15, Luke 10:18, 2 Peter 2:4, and Apocalypse 12:7–9.

16 Compare note to Banns, line 20.

17 drowe in my tayle. Meredith notes that this phrase could mean either "after me" or "in my retinue" (PP, p. 164). The phrase could also refer to Lucifer's self-con­scious storytelling ability as well as his arse.

19 tweyn agens on. Lucifer claims that one-third of the angels fell with him. Meredith comments that other medieval sources claimed that one-tenth of the angels fell (PP, p. 164).

22 I gan ther do play. This is a nice play on words. Lucifer remembers his fall as a power struggle that he still imagines he can win. He thinks of himself as playing a dramatic character who began a great epic struggle.

25–32 Fitzhenry observes: "It is Demon's retelling of the Temptation of Christ in his ‘Prologue' that demonstrates his multivalent status in the N-Town Passion se­quence. His revision of this story casts him simultaneously in the roles of repre­senter and represented, author and audience, perhaps ironically foreshadowing Christ's role in the N-Town ‘Last Supper' where Christ is at once signifier and signified, sacrificer and sacrificed" ("Politics of Meta­theater," pp. 22–43).

31 His answerys were mervelous: I knew not his intencyon. Though Demon "is the confident authorizer of his own signifying practices," his attempts to tempt Jesus here, as in Play 23, the Temptation, painfully "reveal the Demon's status as a failed dramatic author whose intent has been frustrated," exposing him as "an un­perceptive spectator who cannot read the signs that have been presented to him" (Fitzhenry, "Politics of Metatheater," p. 32). His only real success is as "a clownish breaker of wind" (p. 33).

48 Meredith traces this to Job 7:9 and to the matins of the Office of the Dead (PP, p. 166). Compare Langland, Piers Plowman, 18.149.

50 engynes. These are not only physical weapons, but schemes and strategies.

57 ordenawns. This word (and its variations) appears frequently in the Passion Plays to particular effect. On the whole, the word contrasts the many schemes against Jesus with what is "ordained" by God. The word is also frequently used by late medieval religious guilds in their own governance.

58 That in trost is treson. For this proverb, Spector cites the play Mankind, line 750, and Whiting T492 (S 2:490).

65–92 Lucifer satirizes three late fifteenth-century issues in England: 1) sumptuary laws that defined class by dress code; 2) tariffs on foreign imports, particularly cloth, like Holond (line 73); and 3) To maynteyn (line 90), the problem of English lords employing private men and armies to terrorize locals. Part of maintenance consisted of the lord's giving livery (colors or clothing) to his men, as Lucifer ap­pears to be doing here. See Kendall, Yorkist Age, pp. 208–10; Sponsler, Drama and Resistance, pp. 4–14. See also Bellamy, Crime and Public Order, pp. 95–96; Haward, "Economic Aspects of the Wars of the Roses"; and Spector, S 2:490.

109–16 Like many diabolical characters in late medieval drama, Lucifer renames the seven deadly sins. Although Sloth is not specifically mentioned, it could be conflated (in this case) with Glotenye as "rest" (line 115).

114 Seyse nere sessyon, lete perjery be chef. The assize courts were regional judicial sessions held by circuit-riding judges sent from London. Thetford, near Bury St. Edmunds, was known for its assize sessions. Fifteenth-century English courts were also known for their corruption. See Jacob, Fifteenth Century, pp. 549–50.

123 Meredith notes Lucifer's echoing Matthew 18:20 (PP, p. 170).

124 I devoyde. "I remove myself from this scene," but it could also serve as a clever self-deprecating pun that negates the significance of his presence and his work.

125–64 John the Baptist's speech that follows Lucifer's prologue makes the whole prologue a medieval débat because John addresses the main issues that Lucifer raises: Jesus' identity, the seven deadly sins, a life well-lived, and the inheritance of a believer. It could be argued, in addition, that this prologue is similar to an induction. See Scherb, "Liturgy and Community," pp. 480–82.

164, s.d. Both Meredith and Spector note Annas' costume (PP, p. 171, and S 2:493, s.d.). See also Squires, "Law and Disorder," pp. 272–85. Squires observes that Annas' two lawyers (doctors) are attired as fifteenth-century judges while Rewfyn and Leyon wear the striped robes of sergeants-at-arms. A parody of the contemporary legal climate is likely here. A statute of 1455, citing the rise of litigation in East Anglia, actually restricted the number of attorneys coming to the King's Courts from Norfolk and Suffolk (Reeves' History of English Law, 3:483).

194 Rewfyn and Leyon. As noted above, arrayed as sergeants-at-arms, but Spector notes that they are names of devils (S 2:493). Meredith says that "Ruffyn" is given as a devil's name in Chester 1.220 (PP, pp. 172–73).

196 Spector notes that Annas is Caiphas' father-in-law in John 18:13 (S 2:493).

199 Arfexe. This character is the Saracen messenger of line 164, s.d.

215–16 "I am the chief authority on Mosaic Law, / So my judgments are final"; Caiphas speaks with the voice of a tyrant.

219 "We must seek a way to bring him into disrepute" (PP, p. 174). Here, as in Woman Taken in Adultery, Jesus' adversaries attempt to control by manipulating public opinion.

223 jewgys of Pharasy. Traditionally, the Pharisees have been seen as a religiously and politically influential sect of Jewish society of Jesus' time, even Jesus' archene­mies. They have been seen as the learned upper class (or upper middle class) that had some control over religious practice. It is likely that this commonly held view of the Pharisees is too simple and, perhaps, unfair. See "Pharisees," Anchor Bible Dic­tionary.

244, s.d. ray tabardys . . . ray hodys. Here ray means "striped," a sign that they are lawyers. See note to 26.164, s.d.

288, s.d. Meredith clarifies this stage direction: "here clerkys" are Annas' and Caiaphas' lawyers; "the Pharaseus" are Rewfyn and Leyon (PP, pp. 174–75; see also Bev's staging diagram, p. 480).

309 eretyk and a tretour. Meredith notes that these are both fifteenth-century capital offenses (PP, p. 175).

319–20 The punishment that Annas' Doctor 1 prescribes for Jesus is twofold. The first sentence, that of being hanged and drawn (and quartered) would seem to be for the crime of treason. The second punishment, burning, would seem to be for heresy or sorcery (or both). It is interesting to note that the latter sentence for ecclesiastical offenses was not common, or even legal, until 1401, when Lollards were being brought to trial in England. There were dozens of such Lollardy tri­als in East Anglia in the fifteenth century, and some of them ended with burn­ings. See Pollack and Maitland, History of English Law, pp. 505, 511, 544–52. See also McSheffrey, Gender and Heresy, pp. 16–19.

334 nyne days. Meredith calls nine a mystical number (PP, p. 175).

341–42 These two unrhyming lines appear to stand alone.

348 Sum of myn dyscyplis. Note that the Bible says two disciples went forth (e.g., Luke 19:29, Matthew 21:1), but does not name them.

359, s.d.–360, s.n. Burgeys . . . BURGENSIS. These refer to a burgess who was a freeman of a town. Sometimes a burgess could also be a town magistrate or even a member of the House of Commons (MED).

385, s.d. and he wyl. Read "if he will."

386–441 Peter and John's preaching to the crowd keeps up the idea of disciples working in pairs (compare the Seventy of Luke 10:1). These two also become significant later.

404 Tweyn fete. Meredith cites Augustine who says: "Thy feet are thy charity. Have two feet, be not lame. What are thy two feet? The two commandments of love, of thy God, and of thy neighbor" (PP, p. 176n361–66). "Everyone should have two feet, if it should be considered, / Which should bear the more substantial spiritual body."

416–17 Contrast with Demon's prologue, lines 60–61.

426–27 Compare Zacharias 9:9.

449, s.d. in here shyrtys savyng. I.e., "only in their shirts." It is also possible that they are wearing hair shirts.

450–52 Meredith remarks that these lines echo the antiphon of the Palm Sunday service (PP, pp. 177–78n407–14).
450–51 Now blyssyd he be that in oure Lordys name / To us in any wyse wole resorte! A free translation of "Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini." The four-line speech that the first citizen has prepared to greet Christ on his entry into Jerusalem is probably meant to be spoken rather than sung as it would be if it were in Latin. Although no singing is mentioned in lines 450–53, the stage directions following the citizen's remarks (line 453, s.d.) clearly return the audience to the mode of celestial music as the children come forth with flowers that they cast before Jesus as they sing the Gloria laus (see Rastall, Minstrels Playing, pp. 87, 108–09).

453, s.d. Gloria laus. Meredith and Spector note that this is a processional hymn for Palm Sunday (PP, p. 178n410s.d.; S 2:494). Complete lyrics are in Dutka, Index of Songs, p. 29.

463 shewyd experyence. Meredith glosses this as "demonstrated" (PP, p. 178n420).


Abbreviations: Bev: Medieval Drama, ed. Bevington (1975); Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); PP: Passion Play, ed. Meredith (1990); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name.

3–6 MS: large play number 26 in right margin.

10 reward. MS: d written over another letter.

13 MS: to the right of this line, Wylliam Dere is written in another hand.

23 me thynkyth. So MS, Bl, Bev. PP, S: methynkyth. MS: letter canceled before me.

26 on. So MS, Bl, PP, S. Bev: one.
wiche. So MS, Bl, PP, S. Bev: whiche.

28 MS: at the bottom of fol. 136r is a capital N written in a different hand.

55 countyrfe. So MS, Bl, PP, S. Bev: countirfet.

58 trost. MS: r written over another letter.

68 Fro. MS: r written over an o.

72 sylver. MS: s written over a y.

73 Holond. MS: holond cloth.

85 schrewe thin here. MS: ovyr þin eyn and ovyr þin herys written as alternative above the line.

88 on. MS: either in or on.

91 repreve. MS: ll repreve.

103 newe. MS: w newe.

125, s.n. BAPTISTA. MS: Baptis, remainder cropped.

137 hande. MS: syde hande.

141 MS: Below this line two lines have been written and canceled: Be the ryth syde lyknyd dysperacyon / And the patthe betwyn bothyn.

148 sowe. MS: sewe or sowe.

163 declaracyon. So Bev, PP, S. MS, Bl: declararacyon.

173 contrary. So Bev, PP, S, Bl. MS: second r altered to an l (?).

176 to gef. So Bl, Bev, PP. S deletes to, reading punctuation before to as a delet­ing dot.

182 best. So Bev, S, PP. MS: be.

185 ff. MS: Annas as part of the speaker's name, referring to one of Annas' lawyers, has been added by a reviser. It was probably added to differentiate between Annas' and Caiaphas' discrete pairs of lawyers.

187 procede. So Bev, PP, S. MS: proce.

190 kepe. So Bev, PP, S. MS: ke.

195 perayl. So MS, S. PP, Bl: parayl. Bev: parail.

216 severe. MS: deuere canceled before seuere.

217 in. Supplied by S, PP, Bev. MS, Bl: omitted.

222 lawe. MS: ll lawe.

224 lawys he. MS: ll he.

225, s.n. DOCTOR 1. MS: Doct, remainder cropped.
225–33 MS: Cayphas confused with Annas by reviser.

226 fynde. MS: have fors fynde.

229 ageyns. MS: all kende ageyne.

230 to. MS: I to.

233 MS: Cayphas written in another hand below the s.n. Secundus Doctor.

240 be. MS: h be.

251 prevayle. MS: provayle.

252 MS: Below this line thow is written by another hand.

256 frende. So Bev, PP, S. MS, Bl: frede.

273, s.n. MS: Masan, with remainder cropped. 317, s.n.; 321, s.n.; and 329, s.n. are com­pletely missing or cropped.

285, s.n. CAYPHAS'. MS: C.

288, s.d. at. So Bev, S. PP: in. MS, Bl: and.

289 jewgys. MS: g written above the line.

292 jewgement. MS: after jewgement, alle is written above and crossed out.

300 MS: that oure lawys repeated below this line in another hand.

301 this. MS: possibly corrected to þis from þus.

306 is. So Bev, PP, S. MS, Bl: omitted.

317, s.n. ANNAS'. MS: An or Ann, remainder cropped.

321, s.n. ANNAS'. MS: An or Ann, remainder cropped.

324 comownys. MS: an extra letter before the m has been canceled.

325, s.n. CAYPHAS'. MS: Cayp, remainder cropped.
325 wechecrafte. MS: a letter has been canceled before.

328 trewthe. So Bl, Bev, PP. S: trowthe.
repent. MS: two letters have been canceled before pent.

After 342 MS: a s.d. and six lines are canceled, but read in the manuscript as following:
[Here enteryth the apostil Petyr, and Johan the Euangelyst with hym, Petyr seyng:
O, ye pepyl despeyryng be glad,
A gret cause ye have, and ye kan se:
The Lord of allthing of nowth mad
Is coming youre comfort to be.
All youre langorys salvyn shal he,
Youre helthe is more than kan wete.
This is clearly an earlier version of lines 385, s.d. through 391, recopied onto fol. 143, an interpolated quire. PP places this six-line section, with the s.d., after line 342 and connects the end with line 392.

343–91 In MS, these lines appear on an interpolated folio (fols. 143–143v, likely copied from the older "cycle") that contains a quatrain, followed by three thirteener stanzas, and ends with an octave that used to follow line 342. This folio was likely interpolated because an earlier version of Passion 1 did not have a scene in which the disciples prepare for Jesus' entry.

352 man. MS: mas.

361 best. MS: ff best.

362 pore. MS: a letter has been canceled before.

363 MS: Thus this best to take appears below the line.

367 I. MS: y I.

386 dyspeyryng. MS: last y written over an e.

397 be. So S. MS, Bev, PP: 2ye.

398 not be. MS: be inserted above the line.
denyid. MS: dey denyid.

416 redrure. So MS, Bl, Bev, PP. S: reddure.

441, s.d., 457 MS: a later hand added, here enterith þe fyrst prophete. PP notes this as evi­dence that this section was later adapted for a Palm Sunday procession or even a civic entry (p.177n398sd). A similar stage direction for a second prophet appears after line 457.

448, s.n. CIVES 4. MS: Ci, remainder cropped.

454–57 MS: missing speakers' names could indicate that the speaker is ius Cives, a child; or, as M suggests, iius Cives (p. 178n411sn).

460 At the bottom of fol. 145r another hand has written here entreth the parts off the ijde prophete and indicated that the stage direction should be inserted after line 460.

463 Bev emends it to read shewyd [by] experience (p. 496).

470 Davyd. MS: a written above the line.

482 MS: capitulum missing.

After 485 MS: no break between plays.

























DEMON I am youre Lord Lucifer that out of helle cam,
Prince of this werd and gret Duke of Helle,
Wherefore my name is clepyd Sere Satan
Whech aperyth among yow, a matere to spelle.

I am norsshere of synne to the confusyon of man,
To bryng hym to my dongeon, ther in fyre to dwelle.
Hosoevyr serve me, so reward hym I kan,
That he shal syng “Wellaway!” ever in peynes felle.

Lo, thus bountevous a lord, than, now am I
To reward so synners, as my kend is.
Whoso wole folwe my lore and serve me dayly
Of sorwe and peyne anow, he shal nevyr mys.

For I began in hefne, synne for to sowe
Among all the angellys that weryn there so bryth.
And therfore was I cast out into helle ful lowe,
Not withstandyng I was the fayrest and berer of lyth.

Yet I drowe in my tayle of tho angelys bryth
With me into helle — takyth good hed what I say!
I lefte but tweyn agens on to abyde there in lyth;
But the thrydde part come with me, this may not be seyd nay.

Takyth hed to youre prince, than, my pepyl everychon
And seyth what maystryes in hefne I gan ther do play.
To gete a thowsand sowlys in an houre, me thynkyth it but skorn1
Syth I wan Adam and Eve on the fyrst day!

But now, mervelous mendys rennyn in myn remembrawns.
Of on Cryst wiche is clepyd Joseph and Maryes sone.
Thryes I tempte hym be ryth sotylle instawnce
Aftyr he fast fourty days ageyns sensual myth or reson,
For of the stonys to a mad bred, but sone I had conclusyon.2
Than upon a pynnacle, but angelys were to hym assystent
His answerys were mervelous: I knew not his intencyon,
And at the last to veynglory, but nevyr I had myn intent.

And now hath he twelve dysypulys to his attendauns!
To eche town and cety he sendyth hem as bedellys,
In dyverce place to make for hym purvyauns.
The pepyl of hese werkys, ful grettly merveyllys:
To the crokyd, blynd, and dowm, his werkys provaylys.
Lazare, that foure days lay ded, his lyff recuryd!
And where I purpose me to tempt, anon he me asaylys —
Mawdelyn playne remyssyon, also he hath ensuryd.

Goddys Son he pretendyth, and to be born of a mayde,
And seyth he shal dey for mannys salvacyon;
Than shal the trewth be tryed and no fordere be delayd!
Whan the soule fro the body shal make separacyon,
And as for hem that be undre my grett domynacyon,
He shal fayle of hese intent and purpose, also.
Be this tyxt of holde remembryd to myn intencyon:
Quia in inferno nulla est redempcio.”

But whan the tyme shal neyth of his persecucyon,
I shal arere new engynes of malycyous conspir­acy:
Plenty of reprevys I shal provide to his confusyon!
Thus shal I false the wordys that his pepyl doth testefy!
His discipulis shal forsake hym, and here mayster denye.
Innoumberabyl shal his woundys be of woful grevauns!
A tretowre shal countyrfe his deth to fortyfye.3
The rebukys that he gyf me shal turne to his displesauns!

Some of hese dyscypulys shal be chef of this ordenawns
That shal fortefye this term: “That in trost is treson.”
Thus shal I venge be sotylté al my malycyous grevauns,
For nothyng may excede my prudens and dyscrecyon.

Gyff me youre love! Grawnt me myn affeccyon,
And I wyl unclose the tresour of lovys alyawns!
And gyff yow youre desyrys aftere youre intencyon!
No poverté shal aproche yow fro plentevous abundauns.

Byholde the dyvercyté of my dysgysyd varyauns,
Eche thyng sett of dewe naterall dysposycyon,
And eche parte acordynge to his resemblauns,
Fro the sool of the foot to the hyest asencyon:

Of fyne cordewan, a goodly peyre of long, pekyd shon,4
Hosyn enclosyd of the most costyous cloth of crenseyn;
Thus a bey to a jentylman to make comparycyon,
With two doseyn poyntys of cheverelle, the aglottys of sylver feyn;5

A shert of feyn Holond — but care not for the payment —
A stomachere of clere Reynes, the best may be bowth;6
Thow poverté be chef, lete pride ther be present,
And all tho that repreff pride, thu sette hem at nowth;

Cadace, wolle, or flokkys — where it may be sowth —7
To stuffe withal thi dobbelet and make thee of proporcyon:
Two smale legges and a gret body, thow it ryme nowth,
Yet loke that thu desyre to an the newe faccyon;

A gowne of thre yerdys — loke thu make comparison
Unto all degrees dayly that passe thin astat.
A purse withoutyn mony, a daggere for devocyon,
And there repref is of synne, loke thu make debat.

With syde lokkys I schrewe thin here, to thi colere hangyng down,8
To herborwe qweke bestys that tekele men onyth;
An hey, smal bonet for curyng of the crowne,
And all beggerys and pore pepyll have hem on dyspyte.
Onto the grete othys and lycherye gyf thi delyte.
To maynteyn thin astate, lete brybory be present,
And yf the lawe repreve thee, say thu wylt fyth
And gadere thee a felachep after thin entent.

Loke thu sett not be precept nor be comawndement,
Both sevyle and canoun, sett thu at nowth;
Lette no membre of God, but with othys be rent.9
Lo, thus this werd at this tyme, to myn intent is browth.
I, Sathan, with my felawus, this werd hath sowth,
And now we han it at houre plesawns!
For synne is not shamfast, but boldnes hath bowth.
That shal cause hem in helle to han inerytawns.

A beggerys dowtere to make gret purvyauns
To cownterfete a jentylwoman, dysgeysyd as she can.
And if mony lakke, this is the newe chevesauns:
With her prevy plesawns, to gett it of sum man,
Her colere splayed and furryd with ermyn Calabere or satan,
A seyn to selle lechory to hem that wyl bey.
And thei that wyl not by it, yet inow shal thei han,
And telle hem it is for love — she may it not deney.

I have browth yow newe namys, and wyl ye se why?
For synne is so plesaunt, to ech mannys intent.
Ye shal kalle “pride,” “onesté,” and “naterall kend,” “lechory”;10
And “covetyse,” “wysdam” — there tresure is present.

“Wreth,” “manhod,” and “envye” callyd “chastément” —11
Seyse nere sessyon, lete perjery be chef —
“Glotenye,” “rest” — let abstynawnce beyn absent,
And he that wole exorte thee to vertu, put hem to repreff.

To rehers all my servauntys, my matere is to breff,
But all these shal eneryth the dyvicyon eternal.
Thow Cryst, by his sotylté, many materys meef,
In evyrlastynge peyne with me dwellyn thei shal.

Remembre oure servauntys whoys sowlys ben mortall,
For I must remeffe for more materys to provyde.
I am with yow at all tymes, whan ye to councel me call.
But for a short tyme, myself I devoyde.
(see note)
called Sir; (t-note)
matter to declare


Woe is me; fierce

nature; (t-note)
will follow my teaching
enough; miss

Heaven; (see note); (t-note)

light; (see note)

drew; those; bright; (see note)
two to one; (see note)
third; denied

heed; everyone
deceits; caused; (see note)
Since; won

thoughts; (see note)
one; (t-note)
Thrice; insistence
might; (t-note)

Then; helping
(see note)
pride; wish

them; heralds
mute (dumb); prevail
soon; assails
full pardon; ensured

pretends to be
says; die; man’s
When; from
them; great
By; text of old
Because in hell, there is no redemption; (see note)

when; near
arrear; devices; (see note)
Innumerable; pain

plot; (see note)
saying; (see note); (t-note)
by subtlety

Give; Grant
reveal; love’s alliance
give yourself over to
from plentiful

disguised duplicity; (see note)
due natural order
sole; highest point; (t-note)

made of; crimson

fine linen; (t-note)

Though; in force

though; matches not
to have; fashion

three yards
social ranks; your estate

where reproof

living animals (lice); at night
high; covering the head
despise them; (t-note)
oaths; lechery give
your estate; thievery
reprove; fight; (t-note)
gather; posse

value; by
civil [law]; canon [law]

world; brought
fellows; world; sought
have; our pleasure
shy; bought it
them; have an inheritance

beggar’s daughter; provision
lack; way; (t-note)
secret pleasure
sign; buy
buy; enough; have

brought; names; (see note)

Assize courts; supreme; (see note)

name; too brief
enter; division
Though; stirs up

whose souls are
depart; matters
(see note)
remove; (see note)









JOHANNES BAPTISTA I, Johan Baptyst, to yow thus prophesye
That on shal come aftyr me and not tary longe.
In many folde more strengere than I
Of whose shon I am not worthy to lose the thonge.
Wherefore I councel thee, ye reforme all wronge
In youre concyens of the mortall dedys sevyn
And for to do penawns, loke that ye fonge,
For now shal come the kyngdham of hevyn.

The weys of oure Lord cast yow to aray
And therin to walk, loke ye be applyande
And make his pathys as ryth as ye may,
Keepyng ryth forth and be not declinande,
Neyther to fele on ryth nor on lefte hande,
But in the myddys, purpose yow to holde.
For that, in all wyse, is most plesande
As ye shal here whan I have tolde.

Of this wey, for to make moralysacyon:
Be the ryth syde ye shal undyrstonde mercy,
And on the lefte syde lykkenyd dysperacyon.
And the patthe betwyn bothyn — that may not wry —
Schal be hope and drede, to walke in perfectly,
Declynyng not to fele for no maner nede.
Grete cawsys I shal shoue yow why,
That ye shal sowe the patthe of hope and drede.

On the mercy of God, to meche ye shal not holde
As in this wyse, behold what I mene:
For to do synne, be thu no more bolde
In trost that God wole mercyful bene.
And yf be sensualyté, as it is ofte sene,
Synnyst dedly — thu shalt not therfore dyspeyre,
But therfore do penawns and confesse thee clene.
And of hevyn, thu mayst trost to ben eyre.

The pathe that lyth to this blyssyd enherytawns
Is hope and drede, copelyd be conjunccyon.
Betwyx these tweyn may be no dysseverawns:
For hope withoutyn drede is maner of presumpcyon,
And drede withowtyn hope is maner of dysperacyon.
So these tweyn must be knyt be on acorde.
How ye shal aray the wey, I have made declaracyon,
Also the ryth patthis agens the comyng of oure Lord.
(see note); (t-note)
times stronger
shoes; loosen

conscience; seven deadly sins
penance, look; begin

to prepare
turned astray
too far; right; (t-note)
hear when

to teach spiritually; (t-note)
By; right
likened to despair

Turning; too much; reason
reasons; show
seek; (t-note)

too much; depend upon

trust; will be
You sin mortally
yourself clean
trust to be an heir

lies; blessed
coupled by union
Between; two; difference

two; knit together
prepare; (t-note)
straight paths for

  [Here shal Annas shewyn hymself in his stage beseyn after a busshop of the hoold (old) lawe in a skarlet gowne. And over that, a blew tabbard furryd with whyte and a mytere on his hed after the hoold lawe, twey doctorys stondyng by hym in furryd hodys, and on beforn hem with his staff of astat. And eche of hem on here hedys a furryd cappe with a gret knop (knob) in the crowne, and on (one) stondyng beforn as a Sarazyn, the wich shal be his masangere, Annas thus seyng: (see note)









ANNAS As a prelat am I properyd, to provyde pes.
And of Jewys, jewge, the lawe to fortefye.
I, Annas, be my powere, shal comawnde, dowteles,
The lawys of Moyses, no man can denye.
Hoo excede my comawndement, anon ye certefye!
Yf any eretyk here reyn, to me ye compleyn.
For in me lyth the powere, all trewthis to trye,
And pryncypaly, oure lawys, tho must I susteyn.

Yef I may aspey the contrary, no wheyle shal thei reyn,12
But anon to me be browth and stonde present
Before here jewge wich shal not feyn,
But aftere here trespace to gef hem jugement
Now, serys, for a prose, heryth myn intent.
There is on Jhesus of Nazareth that oure lawys doth excede.
Yf he procede thus, we shal us all repent,
For oure lawys he dystroyt dayly with his dede.

Therefore be youre cowncel, we must take hede
What is best to provyde or do in this case,
For yf we let hym thus go and ferdere prosede,
Ageyn Sesare and oure lawe we do trespace.

ANNAS’ DOCTOR 1 Sere, this is myn avyse that ye shal do:
Send to Cayphas for cowncel, knowe his intent,
For yf Jhesu procede and thus forth go,
Oure lawys shal be dystroyd, thes se we present.

ANNAS’ DOCTOR 2 Sere, remembre the gret charge that on yow is leyd:
The lawe to kepe, which may not fayle.
Yf any defawth prevyd of yow be seyd,
The Jewys, with trewth, wyl yow asayl.
Tak hed whath cownsayl may best provayl!
After Rewfyn and Leyon, I rede that ye sende —
They arn temperal jewgys that knowth the perayl —
With youre cosyn Cayphas, this matere to amende.

ANNAS Now, surely this cowncel revyfe myn herte!
Youre cowncel is best as I can se.
Arfexe, in hast, loke that thu styrte
And pray Cayphas, my cosyn, come speke with me.

To Rewfyn and Leon, thu go also
And pray hem thei speke with me in hast,
For a pryncipal matere that have to do
Wich must be knowe or this day be past.

ARFEXE My soveryn, at youre intent, I shal gon.
In al the hast that I kan hy
Onto Cayphas, Rewfyn, and Lyon
And charge youre intent that thei shal ply.
designated; peace
judge; uphold

Whoever; report now
heretic lives here
lies; truths

soon; brought
their; who; hesitate
their trespass to give them; (t-note)
sirs, in plain words, hear
by his deeds

by; counsel
Against Caesar

Sir; advice; (t-note)
this see; presently

fault proved

heed what counsel; prevail
advise; (see note)
judges; peril; (t-note)
(see note)

counsel revives; heart
counsel; see
haste, look; start; (see note)

them; haste
most important
before this day

speed I can muster

request; follow

  [Here goth the masangere forth, and in the menetyme Cayphas shewyth himself in his scafhald, arayd lych to Annas, savyng his tabbard shal be red furryd with white, twey (two) doctorys with hym arayd with pellys (fur) aftyr the old gyse and furryd cappys on here (their) hedys; Cayphas thus seyng:








CAYPHAS As a primat most preudent, I present here sensyble13
Byschopys of the lawe with al the cyrcumstawns.
I, Cayphas, am jewge with powerys possyble
To distroye all errouris that in oure lawys make varyawns.
All thyngys I convey be reson and temperawnce,
And all materis possyble, to me ben palpable.
Of the lawe of Moyses, I have a chef governawns
To severe ryth and wrong in me is termynable.

But ther is on Cryst that in oure lawys is varyable.
He perverte the pepyl with his prechyng ill.
We must seke a mene onto hym reprevable,
For yf he procede, oure lawys he wyl spyll!

We must take good cowncel in this case:
Of the wysest of the lawe that kan the trewthe telle,
Of the jewgys of Pharasy, and of my cosyn Annas.
For yf he procede, be prossesse oure lawys he wyl felle.14

CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 1 Myn lord, plesyt yow to pardon me for to say
The blame in yow is, as we fynde,
To lete Cryst contenue thus day be day
With his fals wichcraft, the pepyl to blynde.
He werkyth fals meraclis ageyns all kende
And makyth oure pepyl to leve hem in.
It is youre part to take hym and do hym bynde
And gyf hym jugement for his gret syn.

CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 2 Forsothe, sere, of trewth this is the case:
Onto oure law ye don oppressyon,
That ye let Cryst from you pace
And wyl not don on hym correxion!
Let Annas knowe youre intencyon
With prestys and jewgys of the lawe,
And do Cryst forsake his fals oppynyon,
Or into a preson lete hem be thrawe.

CAYPHAS Wel, serys, ye shal se withinne short whyle —
I shal correcte hym for his trespas.
He shal no lenger oure pepyl begyle;
Out of myn dawngere he shal not pas!

due formalities
are clear
(see note)
To judge; final; (t-note)

one; who; inconstant; (t-note)

way to reprove him; (see note)

Pharisees; cousin; (see note)

may it please you; (t-note)
allow Christ [to]; by

false miracles contrary to all nature; (t-note)
believe in them; (t-note)
bind him

sir, truly; (t-note)
offer him

priests; judges
make Christ; doctrine
prison; thrown; (t-note)

sirs; see

longer; fool
power; pass

  [Here comyth the masangere to Cayphas, and in the menetyme, Rewfyn and Lyon schewyn hem (themselves) in the place in ray (striped) tabardys furryd and ray hodys, abouth here neckys furryd, the massangere seyng: (see note)







MASANGER Myn reverent sovereyn, and it do yow plese,
Sere Annas, my lord, hath to you sent.
He prayt you that ye shal not sese
Tyl that ye ben with hym present.

CAYPHAS Sere, telle myn cosyn I shal not fayl.
It was my purpose, hym for to se
For serteyn materys that wyl prevayle
Thow he had notwth a sent to me.

MASANGER I recomende me to youre hey degré;
On more massagys I must wende.
CAYPHAS Farewel, sere, and wel ye be.
Gret wel my cosyn and my frende.

[Here the masager metyth with the jewgys, sayng:

MASANGER Heyl, jewgys of Jewry, of reson most prudent!
Of my massage to you, I make relacyon:
My lord, Sere Annas, hath for you sent,
To se his presens withowth delacyon.

REWFYN Sere, we are redy at his comawndement,
To se Sere Annas in his place.
It was oure purpose and oure intent
To a be with hym withinne short space.

LEYON We are ful glad his presence to se,
Sere, telle hym. We shal come in hast.
No declaracyon therin shal be
But to his presens, hye us fast.

MASANGER I shal telle my lord, seris, as we say:
Ye wyl fulfulle al his plesawns.
REWFYN Sere, telle hym we shal make no delay,
But come in hast at his instawns.

[Here the masangere comyth to Annas, thus seyng:

MASANGER My lord, and it plese you to have intellygens:
Ser Cayphas comyth to you in hast.
Rewfyn and Lyon wyl se youre presens
And se yow here, or this day be past.

ANNAS Sere, I kan thee thank of thi dyligens.
Now ageyn my cosyn I wole walk.
Serys, folwyth me onto his presens,
For of these materys, we must talk.

asks; cease


be effective; (t-note)
not sent word; (t-note)

high rank
errands; go

Greet; (t-note)



have been

let us hurry



if it; news; (t-note)


to my cousin

  [Here Annas goth down to mete with Cayphas, and in the menetyme, thus seyng:


CAYPHAS Now, onto Annas let us wende,
Ech of us to knowe otherys intent.
Many materys I have in mende,
The wich to hym I shal present.

CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 1 Sere, of all othere thyng, remembre this case:
Loke that Jhesus be put to schame.
CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 2 Whan we come present beforn Annas,
Whe shal rehers all his gret blame.
Each; the others’


We; repeat; crimes

  [Here the buschopys with here clerkys and the Pharaseus mett at the myd place, and ther shal be a lytil oratory with stolys (stools) and cusshonys clenly beseyn, lych as it were a cownsel hous, Annas thus seyng: (see note); (t-note)












ANNAS Welcome, Ser Cayphas and ye jewgys alle!
Now shal ye knowe all myn entent.
A wondyr case, serys, here is befalle
On wich we must gyf jewgement
Lyst that we, aftyre the case, repent
Of on Cryst, that “Goddys Sone” some doth hym calle.
He shewyth meraclys and sythe present
That he is Prynce of Prynces alle!

The pepyl so fast to hym doth falle!
Be prevy menys as we aspye
Yf he procede, son sen ye shalle
That oure lawys, he wyl dystrye.

It is oure part, this to deny.
What is youre cowncell in this cas?
CAYPHAS Be reson, the trewth here may we try.
I cannot dem hym withouth trespace
Because he seyth in every a place
That he is Kyng of Jewys in every degré!
Therfore he is fals, knowe wel the case:
Sesar is kyng, and non but he!

REWFYN He is an eretyk and a tretour bolde
To Sesare and to oure lawe, sertayn!
Bothe in word and in werke, and ye beholde —
He is worthy to dey with mekyl peyn!

LEYON The cawse that we been here present
To fortefye the lawe and trewth to say:
Jhesus ful nere oure lawys hath shent!
Therfore, he is worthy for to day!

ANNAS’ DOCTOR 1 Serys, ye that ben rewelerys of the lawe,
On Jhesu, ye must gyf jugement.
Let hym fyrst ben hangyn and drawe
And thanne his body in fyre be brent.

ANNAS’ DOCTOR 2 Now shal ye here the intent of me:
Take Jhesu that werke us all gret schame!
Put hym to deth! Let him not fle,
For than the comownys, thei wyl yow blame.

CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 1 He werke with wechecrafte in eche place —
And drawyth the pepyl to hese intent.
Bewhare, ye jewgys! Let hym not passe!
Than be my trewthe, ye shal repent!

CAYPHAS’ DOCTOR 2 Serys, takyth hede onto this case,
And in youre jewgement be not slawe.
Ther was nevyr man dyd so gret trespace
As Jhesu hath don ageyn oure lawe.

ANNAS Now, bretheryn, than wyl ye here myn intent?
These nyne days, let us abyde.
We may not gyf so hasty jugement,
But eche man inqwere on his syde.
Send spyes abouth the countré wyde
To se and recorde and testymonye.
And than hese werkys he shal not hyde
Nor have no power hem to denye.

CAYPHAS This cowncell acordyth to my reson.

ANNAS And we all to the same.

give judgment; (t-note)
Unless; feel sorry for
one; God’s
performs miracles; then claims

By secret means; spy
soon see
destroy; (t-note)

By reason
judge; sin

state of affairs

heretic; traitor; (see note)
Caesar; certainly

die; much pain

To uphold
nearly; destroyed
to die

Sirs; rulers; (t-note)
hanged and drawn; (see note)

causes us

commoners; you; (t-note)

witchcraft; (t-note)
his will
Beware; judges
Then by; troth; (t-note)

judgment; slow


then; hear
wait; (see note)

on his own

then his works
to deny them

(see note)






JHESUS Frendys, beholde the tyme of mercy,
The whiche is come now withowt dowth!
Mannys sowle in blys, now shal edyfy,
And the Prynce of the Werd is cast owth!

Go to yon castel that standyth yow ageyn.
Sum of myn dyscyplis, go forth ye to.
There shul ye fyndyn bestys tweyn,
An asse tyed and her fole, also.
Unlosne that asse and brynge it to me pleyn.
Iff any man aske why that ye do so,
Sey that I have nede to this best, certeyn,
And he shal not lett yow, youre weys for to go,
That best brynge ye to me.
APOSTOLUS 1 Holy prophete, we gon oure way.
We wyl not youre wourd delay.
Also, sone as that we may
We shal it brynge to thee.
Man’s; be exalted
World; out

behind you
disciples; (see note)
shall; find two beasts
Untie; directly
beast, certainly


  [Here thei fecch the asse with the fole, and the Burgeys seyth: (see note)





BURGENSIS Herke ye, men! Who gaff yow leve,
Thus this best for to take away?
But only for pore men to releve
This asse is ordayned, as I yow say.
PHILIPPUS Good sere, take this at no greff.
Oure mayster us sent hedyr this day.
He hath grett nede, withowt repreff.
Therfore, not lett us, I thee pray,
This best for to lede.
BURGENSIS Sethyn that it is so, that he hath yow sent,
Werkyth his wyll and his intent.
Take this beste as ye be bent
And evyr wel mote ye spede.

JACOBUS MINOR This best is brought ryght now here, lo!
Holy prophete, at thin owyn wylle,
And with his cloth anon also,
This bestys bak we shal sone hylle.
PHILIPPUS Now mayst thu ryde whedyr thu wylt go,
Thyn holy purpos to fulfylle.
Thy best ful redy is dyth thee to.
Both meke and tame, the best is stylle,
And we be redy also.
Iff it be plesynge to thi syght,
Thee to helpe anon forth ryght.
Upon this best that thu were dyght,
Thi jurney for to do.
gave you permission
beast; (t-note)
to relieve; (t-note)
provided for; (t-note)
sir; grief
do not prevent us; (t-note)

beast; you wish
may you prosper


beast’s back; cover

beast; ready for you

beast; prepared for you

  [Here Cryst rydyth out of the place and he wyl, and Petyr and Johan abydyn stylle. And, at the last, whan thei have don ther prechyng, thei mete with Jhesu. (see note)













PETRUS O, ye pepyl dyspeyryng, be glad!
A grett cawse ye have, and ye kan se:
The Lord that allthynge of nought mad
Is comynge youre comfort to be!
All your langoris, salvyn shal he!
Youre helthe is more than ye kan wete.
He shal cawse the blynde that thei shal se,
The def to here, the dome for to speke!

Thei that be crokyd, he shal cause hem to goo
In the wey that Johan Baptyst of prophecyed:
Sweche a leche kam yow nevyr non too!
Wherfore what he comawndyth, loke be applyed!
That som of yow be blynd, it may not be denyid,
For hym that is youre makere, with youre gostly ey, ye shal not knowe.
Of his comaundementys, in yow gret necglygens is aspyed.
Wherefore def, fro gostly heryng, clepe yow I howe.

And some of yow may not go, ye be so crokyd,
For of good werkyng in yow is lytyl habundawns.
Tweyn fete hevery man shuld have, and it were lokyd,15
Wyche shuld bere the body gostly, most of substawns:
Fyrst is to love God above all other plesawns;
The secunde is to love thi neybore as thin owyn persone;
And yf these tweyn be kepte in perseverawns,
Into the celestyal habytacyon, ye arn habyl to gone.

Many of yow be dome. Why? For ye wole not redresse
Be mowthe youre dedys mortal, but therin don perdure,
Of the wych, but ye have contrycyon, and yow confesse.
Ye may not inheryte hevyn, this I yow ensure.
And of all these maladys, ye may have gostly cure,
For the hevynly leche is comyng now, for to vicyte.
And as for payment, he wole shewe yow no redrure,
For with the love of yowre hertys, he wole be aqwhyte.

JOHANNES Onto my brotherys forseyd rehersall,
That ye shuld geve the more veray confydens,
I come with hym as testymonyall
For to conferme and fortefye his sentens.
This Lord shal come without resystens
Onto the cetyward, he is now comyng!
Wherefore dresse you with all dew dylygens
To honowre hym as youre makere and kyng.

And to fulfylle the prophetys prophesé,
Upon an asse he wole hedyr ryde
Shewyng yow exawmple of humylyté,
Devoydyng the abhomynable synne of pryde
Whech hath ny conqweryd all the werd wyde,
Grettest cause of all youre trybulacyon.
Use it hoso wole, for it is the best gyde
That ye may have to the place of dampnacyon.

Now, brothyr, in God, syth we have intellygens
That oure Lord is ny come to this ceté,
To attend upon his precyous presens,
It syttyth to us, as semyth me,
Wherfore to mete whit hym — now go we.
I wold fore nothyng we where to late.
To the cetéward, fast drawyth he!
Me semyth he is ny at the gate!

[Here spekyth the foure ceteseynys, the fyrst thus seyng:

CIVES 1 Neyborys, gret joy in oure herte we may make
That this hefly kyng wole vycyte this cyté!
CIVES 2 Yf oure eerly kyng swech a jorné shuld take
To don hym honour and worchepe, besy shuld we be!
CIVES 3 Meche more than to the hevynly kyng bownd are we,
For to do that shuld be to his persone reverens.
CIVES 4 Late us than welcom hym with flowrys and brawnchis of the tre,
For he wole take that to plesawns becawse of redolens.16
despairing; (see note); (t-note)
reason; if you can
everything; nothing made

miseries, heal
blind; see
deaf to hear; mute (dumb)

crippled; them

Such a doctor has never come to you
see to it; (t-note)
is perceived
spiritual; I ought to call you

walk; crippled
works; abundance
(see note)
spiritual body
two; with perseverance
(heaven); able to go

mute; will

physician; visit
harshness; (see note); (t-note)
hearts; paid

brother's aforesaid words
true belief
corroborate; speech

prepare yourselves; due

prophet’s; (see note)
will ride here
Driving out
nearly; wide world

Practice it whoso will

Since; the knowledge
nearly; city

It is fitting
meet with
not be late for anything
Toward the city
It seems to me; nearly


heavenly; visit
earthly; such; journey

Muc­h; bound
Let; (t-note)

  [Here the foure ceteseynys makyn hem redy for to mete with oure Lord goyng barfot and barelegged, and in here shyrtys savyng, thei shal have here (their) gownys cast abouth theme. And qwan thei seen oure Lord, thei shal sprede ther clothis beforn hyme, and he shal lyth and go therupon. And thei shal falle downe upon ther knes all atonys (at once), the fyrst thus seyng: (see note)

CIVES 1 Now, blyssyd he be that in oure Lordys name
To us in any wyse wole resorte!
And we beleve, veryly, that thu dost the same,
For be thi mercy shal spryng mannys comforte!
Lord’s; (see note)
will come
by; man’s

  [Here Cryst passyth forth. Ther metyth with hym a serteyn (certain number) of chylderyn with flowrys and cast beforn hyme. And they synggyn “Gloria laus,” and beforn, on seyt (one says): (see note)







Thow sone of Davyd! Thu be oure supporte
At oure last day whan we shal dye!
Wherefore, we alle atonys to thee exorte,
Cryeng, “Mercy, mercy, mercye!”

JHESUS Frendys, beholde the tyme of mercy,
The wich is come now, withowtyn dowth.
Mannys sowle in blysse now shal edyfy,
And the prynce of the werd is cast owth!
As I have prechyd in placys abowth
And shewyd experyence to man and wyf,
Into this werd Goddys Sone hath sowth
For veray love, man to revyfe.

The trewthe of trewthis shal now be tryede,
And a perfyth of corde betwyx God and man,
Wich trewth shal nevyr be dyvide,
Confusyon onto the fynd Sathan.

PAUPER HOMO 1 Thu Sone of Davyd! On us have mercye!
As we must stedfast belevyn in thee!
Thi goodnesse, Lord, lete us be nye,
Whech lyth blynd here and may not se.

PAUPER HOMO 2 Lord, lete thi mercy to us be sewre,
And restore to us oure bodyly syth.
We know thu may us wel recure
With the lest poynt of thi gret myth!

JHESUS Yowre beleve hath mad you for to se
And delyveryd you fro all mortal peyn.
Blyssyd be all tho that beleve on me
And se me not with here bodyly eyn.
help; (t-note)
at once

without a doubt
Man’s; be exalted; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)
world; sought
true; revive

perfect accord

Son; (t-note)

least bit; might

belief; made
their; eyes

  [Here Cryst blyssyth here eyn (their eyes) and thei may se, the fryst seyn:

PAUPER HOMO 1 Gromercy, Lord of thi gret grace!
I that was blynd now may se!
PAUPER HOMO 2 Here I forsake al my trespace
And stedfastly wyl belevyn on thee.
Many thanks; (t-note)



Go To Play 27, Last Supper; Conspiracy with Judas