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Play 27, Last Supper; Conspiracy with Judas


1 And let Jesus, my master, be hanged and drawn

2 Therefore, make sure you will respond to that (spiritual interpretation/intention).

3 Whic­h is to say, if you do not understand all this


Abbreviations: Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford 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.

The N-Town Passion Plays' use of place-and-scaffold staging allows for remarkable dramaturgical flexibility, but also suggests many different layers of symbolism in the action. This portion of Passion 1, in a particularly modern fashion, shifts rapidly from an outside Jerusalem scene (place) to the upper room (a large scaffold?), to the moot hall (a structure in the place), and a hellmouth (another structure at the edge of the place). About these N-Town plays and other large-scale East Anglian plays, Scherb observes: "The very breadth of the action in these plays takes on symbolic meaning as the dramatists attempted to convey the importance of the events they relate through the sheer physical scale of their productions. Large numbers of actors, framed by numerous scenic structures, give these plays a singular capacity to communicate large emotional effects" (Staging Faith, p. 57, noting Seale, Vision and Stagecraft, p. 14). On the liturgical component of this play — the Mandatum and the Eucharist — see Rastall's excellent discussion (Heaven Singing, pp. 272–78).

The play is written in thirteeners, octaves, and quatrains.

1 ordenawnce. This word and its variants appear repeatedly in Passion 1, possibly referring to a religious guild's patronage of this play. In general, "ordinaunce" also recalls the dicta for the church. See also Love's Mirrour, ed. Sargent, p. li.

1–16 Compare Chester 14.209–24.

9–16 See Luke 19:41–44. Also Matthew 24:2, prior to the Last Supper. The passage in N-Town is even less forgiving than in Luke and Matthew and perhaps reflects a Vindicta Salvatoris tradition. On the destruction of Jerusalem, see Siege of Jerusalem, notes to lines 1229 and 1231–32.

17 Maundé. Meredith traces this word back to the "mandatus" of the first antiphon sung at the washing of the feet on the Thursday before Easter, Maundy Thursday (PP, p. 179n459).

36, s.d. Clearly a conflation of stories. Gospel accounts do not identify Simon the Leper as the one who hosted the Last Supper, but he did host a supper in Bethany where a woman anointed Jesus' feet. Compare Matthew 26:6–16, Mark 14:3–9. Meredith cites the Metrical Life (lines 1938–69). Spector cites Robert de Boron's Roman du Saint-Graal (S 2:496).

53 calsydon. MED renders it "calcedoine," referring to the semi-precious stone chal­cedony which was also used to make prayer beads. Block (Bl, p. 403) cites Bede and Court of Sapience on the hardness of the stone, thus the gloss of "difficult." Spector notes that, according to medieval legend, this stone allowed believers to "show forth the light within them when called upon to give public display of faith" (S 2:496), which perhaps has bearing on the passage as well.

91–92 Compare John 11:49–50, 18:14. In these passages, Cayphas may also be refer­ring to Isaias 53:8.

101, s.n. GAMALYEL. Meredith and Spector mention him as part of the Jewish delegation who accused Jesus before Pilate (PP, p. 181n543s.d.; S 2:496). Meredith notes that Gamaliel is referred to in Acts 5:34 as a leading Pharisee and as Paul's teacher in Acts 12:3.

109–12 Rewfyn would execute Jesus according to fourteenth-century penalties for trea­son. Compare Leyon's punishment in lines 129–32. For a more detailed com­men­tary on East Anglian capital punishment, see Delaney, Impolitic Bodies, pp. 9–11.

119–20 On the destruction of the temple, see Siege of Jerusalem, pp. 4–5.

141 As a cursyd creature closyd all in care. N-Town is unique in introducing Mary Mag­da­lene into the Last Supper scene, along with her exorcism, her weeping and anointing of Jesus' feet, and her participation in the eucharistic feast itself. See Prosser (Drama and Religion, pp. 110–46, 201–05) on her importance as a peni­tential figure in the eucharistic process, especially for later medieval convents, where the role of women in the Passion is celebrated and which may well have had a role in the provenance of N-Town as Sugano points out: "For many late medieval women and mystics, the Magdalene was the sole medium through whom any believer could relive Christ's Passion" ("Apologies for the Magda­lene," p. 167). In his edition of the Passion Play Meredith relegates the scene to an appendix, but to do so is to underappreciate the centrality of women to this playwright's vision. For the N-Town playwright Mary Magdalene is "an apt symbol for this religion of Word and flesh . . . [who enjoys] apostolic authority along with that of the other disciples" (Coletti, Mary Magdalene, pp. 228–29).

158 fowlyd be fryth and fenne. "Sinned everywhere." Fryth is the woods and fenne refers to bogs, both dark, wild places.

162–204 Spector points out that the woman who anointed Jesus is unnamed in Matthew 26:6–7 and Mark 14:3 (S 2:497). But many stories concerning Mary Magdalene (and other Marys) were conflated in the Middle Ages. In John 11:1–2 and 12:1–3, she is called Mary of Bethany, who was sometimes identified as Mary Magdalene. See also Sugano, "Apologies for the Magdalene." For Mary Magda­lene's importance to Love's Mirrour, see the edition by Sargent, pp. xlvii–xlix.

167–79 Woman . . . Sum socowre God shal thee sende . . . Tyl deth doth her to deye. The exorcism of the fiends from Mary Magdalene was a favorite moment in medieval drama. Com­pare the Digby Mary Magdalene, lines 686–91, where, at Jesus' command — "vade in pace" — "seven dyllys shall devoide from the woman, and the Bad Angyll enter into hell with thondyr." In the Digby Magdalene the event occurs before the raising of Lazarus. In N-Town the placement is particularly apt as Jesus cleanses Mary of devils just after she cleanses his feet (see Coletti, Mary Magdalene, pp. 90–99). In the Poculi Ludique Societas (University of Toronto) production of the play in June of 2002, Mary was placed on a small platform staging area so that the seven sins, readily identified by iconographic costume, seemed literally to come screaming out of her body and flee through the audi­ence as thunder sounded and Satan himself was driven to hell. Mary seemed placid and beautiful in her cleansed condition. Compare the Poculi Ludique Societas pro­duction of the N-Town Pageants on 28–29 May 1988, in which identi­fiable fiends seemed to pour forth from Mary's body at Jesus' command, leaving her in Christ's grace, Tyl deth doth her to deye (line 179).

176–78 Wyckyd spyritys, I yow conjowre: / Fleth out of hir bodyly bowre! / In my grace, she shal evyr flowre. When Jesus conjures the wicked spirits to depart from hir bodyly bowre so that Christ's grace might evyr flowre in her, the corporeal metaphor echoes "the enclosed space of the Virgin Mary's body" from whence Jesus himself sprang as the "maydenys floure," demonstrating the concrete "corporeal trans­formation" whereby "her body ‘so ful of synne' is now metaphorically likened . . . to the fecundity . . . that the penitent woman has just attributed to Jesus and his mother. What was permeable by demons is now rendered open to Jesus' own productive, flowering grace" (Coletti, Mary Magdalene, pp. 90–91).

204, s.d. Cryst restyth and etyth . . . [with] his disciplis and Mary Mawdelyn. See Sugano ("Apologies for the Magdalene" pp. 165–71, esp. 170) on the theological contro­versy developing around the Magdalene's presence at the Last Supper.

243 fer from thi face. To James the Lesser, an integral part of hell's torment is simply one's separation from God.

253, s.n. THADEUS. The speaker also known as Jude or Judas. Compare the Procession of Saints, line 1281.

277 The princys of prestys. There is irony, not only in Judas' leaving the Last Supper to betray Christ, but in dealing the Prince of Princes to the princys of prestys, as he calls them.

304 mony makyth schapman. Proverbial, see Whiting M629, an adage that can be paraphrased as "money talks." See also Whiting M628.

305–06 "Glovesilver" was a medieval and early modern term for a judicial bribe. As it was customary for barristers to give a judge a pair of gloves, it also became cus­tomary to sew money into the glove's lining to reward the judge for a favorable decision and his discretion (OED, MED).

312 Although Judas refuses to forsake Rewfyn, he readily forsakes his master for money.

322–24 Not only is Leyon remarking on the similarity of the disciples' attire, but his com­ment recalls the Demon's prologue on fashionable attire (26.65–92) and foreshadows Jesus' commentary on clothing (lines 417–27).

348, s.d. Meredith astutely notices that the Jews' secrecy is theatrically emphasized by their making signs, "be contenawns" (PP, p. 182n662sd). In addition, this stage direction implies the simultaneity of the conspiracy and the Last Supper.

349–448 The foods and accouterments of the Last Supper come from the Passover feast dictated by Exodus 12. See Coletti, "Sacrament and Sacrifice."

357–64 These lines contrast the Demon's words of the Prologue to Passion 1 (26.65–92, 101–05).

372, s.d. oble. These are sacramental wafers. Meredith notes a parallel with the Mass (PP, p. 183n675).

382 This. Referring to the oble.

397–436 Spector notes that this section draws heavily from Rabanus' commentary in the Patrialogia Latina (S 2:498–99).

405–06 hed. Meredith observes that there is a pun on "hed," also referring to one's master or leader (PP, p. 183n676).

440 come forth seryattly. Meredith parallels this staging with the serving of the Eucha­rist (PP, p. 186n754). Compare 1 Corinthians 11:29.

460 ff. Spector cites many parallels with the Northern Passion (S 2:500–01) from here until 28.142.

465, s.d. levynt. I.e., "omit." It is interesting that the actor playing Demon has the option of saying this speech. Both Bevington and Meredith emend this stage direction to the effect that Judas shall meet with the Jews.

466–77 Spector cites an iconographic tradition in which Satan is present in the betrayal scene (S 2:500).

486 these chalys. "This chalice." The words of institution for the sacrament of the Eu­charist establish the chalice's symbol as the vessel for Christ's blood. The fig­ur­a­tive meaning (MED, 2c) implies that of "one's fate" is bound to the Newe Testament.

567 Betany. Meredith remarks that Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives are in the same general direction of Bethany (PP, p. 189n880 and n884sd); see, too, "Bethany ward" in the stage direction by line 571.


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.

Before 1, s.d. In the left-hand margin of the manuscript is a large sign of the cross against this stage direction and the following few lines.

4–7 MS: large play number 27 in right margin.

24 wylt. So PP, S. MS, Bl: wytl or wyll. Bev: wilt.

35 go. So MS, Bl, Bev, PP. S: gon.

36 comawndement. So PP, Bev, S. MS, Bl: comawdement.

53 PP emends this to read "cald Syon" (pp. 66, 180n495).

81 sowth. MS: wrowth sowth.

89 MS: capitulum missing.

121 constreyn. So PP, S. MS, Bl, Bev: conseyve. In the manuscript, the word seems to be conseyve and would fit in the line, but it does not rhyme with reyn in line 123.

130 it is. MS: is i it is.

141–268 This quire, quire O, was interpolated to include Mary Magdalene's exorcism as well as her anointing of Jesus' feet. It is interesting to note that lines 141–92 are written in thirteeners, likely from an older exemplar. The usual octaves and quatrains of the Passion Plays resume with line 198. The scribe made some attempt to reconcile the thirteeners with the oc­taves, as Judas' speech of lines 193–200 contains a rhyming triplet (lines 197–99), a feature usually found in the thirteeners. At the bottom of the folio is a stage direction: here judas caryoth comyth into the place followed by Jesus as the next speaker. These are crossed out. In addition, there are three alternate catchwords: now counterfetyd, myn hert is ryth, and as a cursyd. Clearly other versions of the play did not include this folio but continued from line 141 to line 205 or line 268. PP does not include lines 141–267 (*626–*752) in his text, but places them in an appendix (pp. 234–41).

144 I. MS: a letter has been canceled before.

164 anoynte. MS: anoyynoynte.

173 hylle. MS: hende hylle.

178 she. MS: x she.

204, s.d. MS: gohth here outh written at the end of the stage direction but canceled, indicating that, perhaps in one version or performance, the scribe wanted Mary Magdalene to exit.

206 Too. MS: Thoo, with deleting dot under the h.

211 synful. MS: fyn synful.

240 trespace. MS: one letter canceled before.

246 monye. MS: moy monye.

247 to. MS: þ to.

260 And. So PP, Bev, S. MS, Bl: Ad.

268 MS: remainder of fol. 151r blank except for scribbles at the bottom. A new quire, P, begins with line 269.

268, s.d. cownterfetyd. MS: cownter, remainder cropped.

271 encheson. MS: one letter canceled before.

291 what. MS: w written over another letter.

293, s.n. GAMALYEL. MS: cropped edge took the "l" away. Also true through line 341, s.n.

296 At the bottom of the page is a capital Q in a different hand. Scribbles in left margin of fol. 152v.

327 cum. So Bev. MS, Bl, PP, S: cvm.

342 lyth. MS: bryth lyth.

344 gleyvis. MS: le written over other letters.

348, s.d. Here the buschopys partyn in the place. MS: The H in Here, the þ in the, the b in buschopys, and the l in place have very tall ascenders that reach into the top margin.

     shal sodynly. So MS, Bl, Bev. PP, S omit shal.

349 John Hollond for written in the left margin of fol. 153v, in a different hand, along with some scribbles.

353 bredys. MS: letter canceled before the word.

369 Paschal lamb etyn have. MS: as in line 348, s.d., tall ascenders (h in paschal, l in lamb, h in have) reach into the top margin.

381 Bl remarks that this line in the manuscript is omitted and written in the margin where it is partially cut away, but is also repeated at the bottom of the page. All editors agree with the emendations which treat the line rendered (in red ink) at the bottom of the page as authoritative. Vertu and the re of rehercyd were likely cropped. All editors supply these.

396 wyttys. So MS, Bl, S. Bev: willys.

397 bred. PP emends bred to read lombe, but no other editors agree (PP, p. 174 n711). There is indecipherable scribbling in the left margin of fol. 154v.

     be. MS: ye is written but canceled.

402 man. MS: a word has been canceled before.

404 contrycyon. MS: contrycon.

426 not. MS: I not.

440 come. MS: I come.

     seryattly. MS: sey seryattly.

449, s.n. JHESUS. MS: speaker's name omitted.

     MS: hollond and some scribbles written in the left margin of fol. 155v.

462, 464 MS: capitula missing.

465, s.d. shal mete with hym. So MS, Bl, S. Bev adds there before shal. PP adds the devil before shal.

466, s.n. DEMON. MS: written bottom of fol. 155v and top of fol. 156r.

490 MS: capitulum missing.

504 drynkyth. MS: r written over first y.

511, s.d. MS: after the direction, Petrus is erased at the foot of the right margin.

514 wordys. MS: fo wordys.

524, s.n. MS: end of s.n. cropped.

524 MS: capitulum missing.

527, s.d. sythyn. MS: sythym.

528, s.n. MS: end of s.n. cropped.

560 yn. H: thou. PP: either yn or thu.

570 hall. So Bl, Bev, PP. S: all, citing a deleting dot under the h.

After 571 MS: no break between plays.
  [Here Cryst procedyth on fote with his dyscipulys after hym. Cryst wepyng upon the cyté, sayng thus: (t-note)







JHESUS O, Jherusalem, woful is the ordenawnce
Of the day of thi gret persecucyon!
Thu shalt be destroy with woful grevans
And thi ryalté browth to trew confusyon.
Ye, that in the ceté han habytacyon,
Thei shal course the tyme that thei were born,
So gret advercyté and trybulacyon
Shal falle on hem, both evyn and morwyn.

Thei that han most chylderyn sonest shal wayle
And seyn, "Alas! What may this meen?"
Both mete and drynk sodeynly shal fayle;
The vengeance of God ther shal be seen.
The tyme of comyng hes woo shal ben,
The day of trobyl and gret grevauns.
Bothe templys and towrys, they shal down cleen
O ceté! Ful woful is thin ordenawns!

PETRUS Lord, where wolte thu kepe thi Maundé?
I pray thee, now lete us have knowyng
That we may make redy for thee,
Thee to serve withowte latyng.
JOHANNES To provyde, Lord, for thi comyng,
With all the obedyens, we kan atende
And make redy for thee in althyng.
Into what place, thu wylt us send?

JHESUS Serys, goth to Syon, and ye shal mete
A pore man in sympyl aray
Beryng watyr in the strete.
Telle hym I shal come that way
Onto hym mekely, loke that ye say
That hese house I wele come tylle;
He wele not onys to yow sey nay,
But sofre to have all youre wylle.

PETRUS At thi wyl, Lord, it shal be don,
To seke that place, we shal us hye.
JOHANNES In all the hast that we may go,
Thin comawndement nevyr to denye.
fate; (see note)
(see note)
destroyed; pain
royalty brought; (t-note)

them; eve­ning; morning

have; most recently; (see note)

its woe

towers; fall completely
your fate

Passover meal; (see note)




his; come to
will; once

haste; (t-note)

  [Here Petyr and Johan gon forth, metyng with Symon Leprows (the Leper) beryng a kan with watyr, Petyr thus seyng: (see note)




PETRUS Good man! The prophete, oure Lord Jhesus,
This nyth wyl rest wythin thin halle.
On massage to thee he hath sent us,
That for his sopere, ordeyn thu shalle.
JOHANNES Ya, for hym and his dyscipulys alle —
Ordeyn thu for his Maundé
A paschall lomb whatso befalle,
For he wyl kepe his Pasch with thee.

SYMON What? Wyl my Lord vesyte my plase?
Blyssyd be the tyme of his comyng!
I shal ordeyn withinne short space
For my good Lordys welcomyng.
Serys, walkyth in at the begynnyng
And se what vetaylys that I shal take.
I am so glad of this tydyng;
I wot nevyr what joye that I may make!

With a message
supper; prepare

Prepare; Passover meal
lamb; happens

visit my place

prepare quickly
food; choose
know; speak of

  [Here the dyscypulys gon in with Symone to se the ordenawns (preparations), and Cryst comyng thedyrward, thus seyng:


JHESUS This path is calsydon be goostly ordenawns,
Wech shal convey us wher we shal be.
I knowe ful redy is the purvyaunce
Of my frendys that lovyn me.
Contewnyng in pees, now procede we,
For mannys love, this wey I take.
With gostly ey, I veryly se
That man, for man, an hende must make.
difficult by spiritual decree; (see note); (t-note)

Continuing; peace
spiritual eye; see
an end

  [Here the dyscipulys come ageyn to Cryst, Petyr thus seyng:


PETRUS All redy, Lord, is oure ordenawns
As I hope to yow plesyng shal be,
Seymon hath don at youre instawns.
He is ful glad, youre presens to se.

JOHANNES Allthyng we have, Lord, at oure plesyng
That longyth to youre Mawndé with ful glad chere.
Whan he herd telle of youre comyng,
Gret joye in hym than dyd appere.

to see

Everything; to our desire
is necessary for


  [Here comyth Symon owt of his hous to welcome Cryst.


SYMON Gracyous Lord, welcome thu be!
Reverens be to thee, both God and man.
My poer hous, that thu wylt se,
Weche am thi servaunt, as I kan.

JHESUS There, joye of all joyis to thee is sewre.
Symon, I knowe thi trewe intent.
The blysse of hefne, thu shalt recure —
This rewarde, I shal thee grawnt present.




  [Here Crist enteryth into the hous with his disciplis and ete the Paschal lomb. And in the menetyme, the cownsel hous befornseyd shal sodeynly onclose, shewyng the buschopys, prestys, and jewgys syttyng in here astat (their places) lyche as it were a convocacyone, Annas seyng thus:


























ANNAS Behold, it is nowth al that we do!
In alle houre materys, we prophete nowth.
Wole ye se wech peusawns of pepyl drawyth hym to
For the mervaylys that he hath wrowth!

Some othyr sotylté must be sowth,
For in no wyse, we may not thus hym leve.
Than, to a schrewde conclusyon we shal be browth,
For the Romaynes, than wyl us myscheve,

And take oure astat and put us to repreve,
And convey all the pepyl at here owyn request,
And thus, all the pepyl in hym shal beleve!
Therfore, I pray yow, cosyn, say what is the best.

CAYPHAS Attende now, serys, to that I shal seye!
Onto us all, it is most expedyent
That o man for the pepyl shuld deye
Than all the pepyl shuld perysch and be shent.

Therfor, late us werk wysely that we us not repent.
We must nedys put on hym som fals dede.
I sey for me, I had levyr he were brent
Than he shuld us alle thus ovyrlede.
Therfore, every man on his party, help at this nede,
And cowntyrfete all the sotyltés that ye kan.
Now late se ho kan geve best rede
To ordeyn sum dystruccyon for this man.

GAMALYEL Late us no lenger make delacyon,
But do Jhesu be takyn in hondys fast,
And all here folwerys to here confusyon,
And into a preson do hem be cast.
Ley on hem yron that wol last,
For he hath wrouth agens the ryth.
And sythyn, aftyr, we shal in hast
Jewge hym to deth with gret dyspyth.

REWFYN For he hath trespacyd agens oure lawe!
Me semyth this were best jewgement:
With wyld hors, lete hym be drawe,
And afftyr, in fyre, he shal be brent!

LEYON Serys, o thyng myself herd hym sey,
That he was Kyng of Jewys alle!
That is anow to do hym dey,
For treson to Cezar, we must it calle!

He seyd also to personys that I know,
That he shuld and myth serteyn
The gret tempyl mythtyly ovyrthrow,
And the thrydde day, reysynt ageyn!

Seche materys, the pepyl doth constreyn
To geve credens to his werkys alle.
In hefne, he seyth, shal be his reyn —
Both God and man, he doth hym calle.

REWFYN And all this day, we shuld contryve
What shameful deth Jhesu shuld have.
We may not do hym to meche myscheve,
The worchep of oure lawe to save.

LEYON Up on a jebet, lete hym hongyn be,
This jugement, me seemyth, it is reson,
That all the countré may hym se
And beware be his gret treson.

REWFYN Yet o thyng, serys, ye must aspye
And make a ryth sotyl ordenawns
Be what menys ye may come hym bye,
For he hath many folwerys at his instawns.

ANNAS Serys, therof we must have avysement
And ben acordyd or than we go.
How we shal han hym at oure entent,
Som wey we shal fynd therto.

MARIA MAGDALENE As a cursyd creature closyd all in care,
And as a wyckyd wrecche all wrappyd in wo,
Of blysse was nevyr no berde so bare
As I, myself, that here now go.
Alas, alas, I shal forfare
For tho grete synnys that I have do
Lesse than my Lord God sumdel spare
     And his grett mercy receyve me to!
Mary Maudelyn is my name.
Now wyl I go to Cryst Jhesu,
For he is lord of all vertu,
And for sum grace, I thynke to sew.
For of myself, I have grett shame.

A, mercy, Lord, and salve my synne!
Maydenys floure, thu wasch me fre.
Ther was nevyr woman of mannys kynne
So ful of synne in no countré!
I have be fowlyd be fryth and fenne,
And sowght synne in many a ceté,
But thu me borwe lord, I shal brenne
With blake fendys, ay bowne to be!
Wherfore, Kynge of Grace,
With this oynement that is so sote,
Lete me anoynte thin holy fote.
And for my balys thus wyn some bote
And mercy, Lord, for my trespace.

JHESUS Woman, for thi wepynge wylle,
Sum socowre God shal thee sende.
Thee to save, I have grett skylle,
For sorwefful hert may synne amende.
All thi prayour I shal fulfylle
To thi good hert, I wul attende
And save thee fro thi synne so hylle,
And fro sefne develys, I shal thee fende.
Fendys, fleth your weye!
Wyckyd spyritys, I yow conjowre:
Fleth out of hir bodyly bowre!
In my grace, she shal evyr flowre
Tyl deth doth her to deye.

MARIA MAGDALENE I thanke thee, Lorde, of this grett grace!
Now these sefne fendys be fro me flytt!
I shal nevyr forfett nor do trespace
In wurd, nor ded, ne wyl, nor wytt.
Now I am brought from the fendys brace
In thi grett mercy, closyd and shytt.
I shal nevyr returne to synful trace
That shulde me dampne to hell pytt.
I wurchep thee on knes bare.
Blyssyd be the tyme that I hedyr sowth,
And this oynement that I hedyr brought,
For now myn hert is clensyd from thought
That fyrst was combryd with care.

JUDAS Lord, me thynkyth thu dost ryght ylle
To lete this oynement so spylle!
To selle it, yt were more skylle,
And bye mete to poer men.
The box was worth of good moné —
Thre hundryd pens, fayr and fre!
This myght a bowht mete plenté
To fede oure power ken.

JHESUS Pore men shul abyde.
Ageyn the woman thu spekyst wronge,
And I passe forth in a tyde.
Of mercy is her mornyng songe.
[for] naught
our matters; profit not
Will; what crowds
marvels; has wrought

subtlety; sought; (t-note)
stop him
bad conclusion
then; ruin us

authority; disgrace
control; their


one; (see note)
Rather than; perish; destroyed

let; not be sorry
needs; deed
rather; burned
for his part
counterfeit; schemes
let [us] see who; advice
To design

delay; (see note)
have Jesus; in sure hands
his; their
worked; right
And then
Judge; humiliation

(see note)
horses; drawn
after; burned

Sirs; one; heard

enough to put him to death

can indeed
destroy; (see note)
third; raise it

compel; (t-note)

heaven; reign

too much harm

the gallows; hanged
reasonable; (t-note)

one; observe
subtle scheme
By what means; near

a decision
be agreed before

enveloped; (see note); (t-note)

woman; bereft
be lost
those; done
Unless; somewhat

to ask

Maiden’s child; wash me clean

sinned everywhere (wood and fen); (see note)

Unless; redeem me; burn
black fiends, forever bound
(see note)
ointment; sweet
feet; (t-note)
pains; relief

(see note)
Some help

sorrowful heart

from; ill; (t-note)
seven devils; defend
Fiends, flee
conjure; (see note)
Depart from; body

are from me flown
word; deed; will; thought
fiends’ embrace
enclosed and shut
condemn me

sought [you] here


buy food for poor
a lot of money
300 pence
have bought food
poor kin

will always be
short time
mourning / morning

  [Here Cryst restyth and etyth a lytyl and seyth, syttyng to his disciplis and Mary Mawdelyn: (see note); (t-note)













JHESUS Myn herte is ryght sory, and no wondyr is.
Too deth I shal go and nevyr dyd trespas.
But yitt, most grevyth myn hert evyr of this:
On of my bretheryn shal werke this manas;
On of yow here syttynge, my treson shal tras;
On of yow is besy, my deth here to dyth.
And yitt was I nevyr in no synful plas
Wherefore my deth shuld so shamfully be pyght.

PETRUS My dere Lord, I pray thee, the trewth for to telle:
Whiche of us ys he that treson shal do?
Whatt traytour is he that his Lord that wold selle?
Expresse his name, Lord, that shal werke this woo.
JOHANNES If that ther be on that wolde selle so,
Good mayster, telle us now opynly his name!
What traytour is hym that from thee that wolde go,
And with fals treson fulfylle his grett shame?

ANDREAS It is right dredfull, such tresson to thynke
And wel more dredful to werk that bad dede,
For that fals treson to helle, he shal synke!
In endles peynes, grett myscheff to lede.
JACOBUS MAJOR It is not I, Lord, for dowte I have drede
This synne to fulfylle cam nevyr in my mende!
If that I solde thee, thy blood for to blede
In doyng that treson, my sowle shulde I shende.

MATHEUS Alas, my dere Lord, what man is so wood
For gold or for sylvyr hymself so to spylle
He that thee doth selle for gold or for other good?
With his grett covetyse, hymself, he doth kylle!
BARTHHOLOMEUS What man soevyr he be of so wyckyd wylle,
Dere Lord, among us — tell us his name all owt,
He that to hym tendyth this dede to fulfille!
For his grett treson, his sowle stondyth in dowt.

PHILIPPUS Golde, sylver, and tresoour soone doth passe away,
But withowtyn ende evyr doth laste thi grace.
A, Lord, who is that wyll chaffare thee for monay?
For he that sellyth his Lord — to grett is the trespace.
JACOBUS MINOR That traytour that doth this orryble manace,
Both body and sowle, I holde he be lorn —
Dampnyd to helle pytt, fer from thi face,
Amonge all fowle fyndys to be rent and torn.

SYMON To bad a marchawnt that traytour, he is,
And for that monye, he may mornyng make!
Alas, what cawsyth hym to selle the Kyng of Blys?
For his fals wynnynge, the devyl hym shal take.
THOMAS For his fals treson, the fendys so blake
Shal bere his sowle depe down into helle pytt.
Resste shal he non have, but evyrmore wake,
Brennyng in hoot fyre, in preson evyr shytt.

THADEUS I woundyr ryght sore who that he shuld be,
Amongys us all bretheryn that shulde do this synne.
Alas, he is lorn; ther may no grace be
In depe helle donjeon, his sowle he doth pynne.
JHESUS In my dysche he etyht, this treson shal begynne.
Wo shal betydyn hym for his werke of dred.
He may be ryght sory swych ryches to wynne,
And whysshe hymself unborn for that synful ded.

JUDAS The trewth wolde I knowe as leff as ye,
And therfore, good sere, the trewth thu me telle:
Which of us all here, that traytour may be?
Am I that person that thee now shal selle?
JHESUS So seyst thiselff. Take heed att thi spelle.
Thu askyst me now, here, if thu shalt do that treson?
Remembyr thiself; avyse thee ryght welle!
Thu art of grett age and wotysst what is reson.

yet; heart
One; menace
One; plot
One; arrange
yet; condition; (t-note)

Say; woe

false treason
harm to endure


silver; to ruin
other goods




deal you away
Too; (t-note)
Damned; far; (see note)
foul fiends

Too evil a merchant
mourning; (t-note)
fiends; black

Burning; hot; shut

(see note)

dungeon; imprison
dish; eats, [who]
Woe; befall; fearful deed
such riches
wish; deed; (t-note)

as much as


Consider carefully
majority; know; right; (t-note)

  [Here Judas rysyth prevely (secretly) and goth in the place and seyt, "Now cownterfetyd": (t-note)














JUDAS Now cowntyrfetyd, I have a prevy treson,
My maysterys power for to felle.
I, Judas, shal asay be some encheson
Onto the Jewys hym for to selle.
Som mony for hym, yet wold I telle
Be prevy menys, I shal asay.
Myn intent I shal fulfylle,
No lenger I wole make delay.

The princys of prestys now be present.
Unto hem, now my way I take.
I wyl go tellyn hem myn entent;
I trow ful mery I shal hem make!
Mony I wyl non forsake
And thei profyr to my plesyng.
For covetyse, I wyl with hem wake,
And onto my maystyr, I shal hem bryng.

Heyl, prynsesse and prestys that ben present!
New tydyngys to yow I come to telle!
Yf ye wole folwe myn intent,
My mayster, Jhesu, I wele yow selle,
Hese intent and purpose for to felle,
For I wole no lenger folwyn his lawe.
Late sen what money that I shal telle,
And late Jhesu, my maystyr, ben hangyn and drawe.1

GAMALYEL Now, welcome, Judas, oure owyn frende!
Take hym in, serys, be the honde!
We shal thee both geve and lende,
And in every qwarel by thee stonde.

REWFYN Judas, what shal we for thi mayster pay?
Thi sylver is redy, and we acorde:
The payment shal have no delay,
But be leyde down here at a worde.

JUDAS Late the mony here down be layde,
And I shal tell yow as I kan.
In old termys, I have herd seyde:
"That mony makyth schapman."

REWFYN Here is thretty platys of sylver bryth
Fast knyth withinne this glove.
And we may have thi mayster this nyth,
This shalt thu have and all oure love.

JUDAS Ye are resonable chapmen to bye and selle.
This bargany with yow now shal I make!
Smyth up! Ye shal have al your wylle,
For mony wyl I non forsake.

LEYON Now, this bargany is mad ful and fast:
Noyther part may it forsake!
But, Judas, you must telle us in hast
Be what menys we shal hym take.

REWFYN Ya, ther be many that hym nevyr sowe
Weche we wyl send to hym in fere.
Therfor, be a tokyn, we must hym knowe
That must be prevy betwyx us here.

LEYON Ya, beware of that, for ony thynge!
For o dyscypil is lyche thi mayster in al parayl,
And ye go lyche in all clothyng,
So myth we of oure purpose fayl.

JUDAS As for that, serys, have ye no dowth.
I shal ordeyn, so ye shal not mysse.
Whan that ye cum, hym all abowth,
Take the man that I shal kysse.

I must go to my maystyr ageyn.
Dowth not, serys, this matere is sure inow.
GAMALYEL Farewel, Judas, oure frend serteyn!
Thi labour, we shal ryth wel alow.

JUDAS Now wyl I sotely go seke my mayster ageyn,
And make good face as I nowth knew —
I have hym solde to wo and peyn.
I trowe ful sore he shal it rew!
contrived; secret
master’s; overthrow
try; pretext; (t-note)

By secret means; try

high priests; (see note)

I believe; them
Money; not
watch over them

rulers; are

His; overthrow
Let’s see; make; (t-note)

sirs; by the hand
quarrel; stand; (t-note)



the merchant; (see note)

thirty pieces; bright; (see note)

If; master; night

businessmen; buy
Agreed!; what you wish
money; not forsake [you]; (see note)

bargain; firm
Neither party
in haste

have never seen him
by a sign
a secret

wary; anything
one disciple; like; dress; (see note)

sirs; doubt
plan it; fail
When; (t-note)

Doubt; sirs; enough
for certain
reward well

pretend; nothing
I am sure; regret

  [Here Judas goth in sotylly wheras he came fro.



ANNAS Lo, serys, a part we have of oure entent,
For to take Jhesu now, we must provyde
A sotyl meny to be present
That dare fyth and wele abyde.

GAMALYEL Ordeyn eche man on his party —
Cressetys, lanternys, and torchys lyth —
And this nyth to be ther redy
With exys, gleyvis, and swerdys bryth.

CAYPHAS No lenger, than, make we teryeng,
But eche man to his place hym dyth,
And ordeyn prevely for this thyng
That it be don this same nyth.
cunning mob
fight and stand their ground

each; for his part

Oil lamps; (t-note)
axes, spears; swords bright; (t-note)
longer, then; tarrying
ready himself
prepare secretly

  [Here the buschopys partyn in the place, and eche of hem takyn here (their) leve be contenawns (by gesturing), resortyng eche man to his place with here meny (retinue) to make redy to take Cryst. And than shal the place ther Cryst is in shal sodeynly unclose rownd abowtyn, shewyng Cryst syttyng at the table, and hese dyscypulys, eche in ere degré (his proper place), Cryst thus seyng: (see note); (t-note)






JHESUS Brederyn, this lambe that was set us beforn
That we alle have etyn in this nyth,
It was comawndyd be my Fadyr to Moyses and Aaron
Whan thei weryn with the chylderyn of Israel in Egythp.

And as we with swete bredys have it ete,
And also with the byttyr sokelyng,
And as we take the hed with the fete
So ded thei in all maner thyng.

And as we stodyn, so ded thei stond,
And here reynes, thei gyrdyn veryly,
With schon on here fete and stavys in here hond.
And as we ete it, so ded thei hastyly.
This fygure shal sesse: anothyr shal folwe therby
Weche shal be of my body that am youre hed,
Weche shal be shewyd to yow be a mystery
Of my flesch and blood in forme of bred.

And with fervent desyre of hertys affeccyon,
I have enterly desyryd to kepe my Mawndé
Among yow, er than I suffre my Passyon,
For of this, no more togedyr suppe shal we.
And as the Paschal lamb etyn have we,
In the Old Lawe was usyd for a sacryfyce;
So the newe lomb that shal be sacryd be me
Shal be usyd for a sacryfyce most of price.
Brethren; (see note); (t-note)
eaten; night
by; Moses

unleavened bread; eaten; (t-note)
bitter clover
head; feet

stood; did they stand; (see note)
their loins (kidneys); girded
shoes on their
did they
cease; follow
Which; head
Which; shown; by

entirely; Passover meal
Because; sup

sanctified by
most costly; (see note)

  [Here shal Jhesus take an oble (wafer) in his hand, lokyng upward into hefne to the Fadyr, thus seyng:


Wherefor to the Fadyr of Hefne that art eternall,
Thankyng and honor I yeld onto thee,
To whom be the Godhed I am eqwall,
But be my manhod, I am of lesse degré.
Wherefore I, as man, worchep the Deyté,
Thankyng thee, Fadyr, that thu wylt shew this mystery
And thus thurwe thi myth, Fadyr, and blyssyng of me,
Of this that was bred, is mad my body.

Thankfulness; yield
by; manhood

through your might
bread; made

  [Here shal he spekyn ageyn to his dyscipulys, thus seyng:














Bretheryn, be the vertu of these wordys that rehercyd be,
This that shewyth as bred to your apparens
Is mad the very flesche and blod of me,
To the weche thei that wole be savyd must geve credens.

And as in the Olde Lawe, it was comawndyd and precepte
To ete this lomb to the dystruccyon of Pharao unkende,
So to dystroy youre gostly enmye, this shal be kepte
For youre Paschal lombe into the werdys ende.

For this is the very lombe withowte spot of synne
Of weche Johan the Baptyst dede prophesy
Whan this prophesye he ded begynne
Seyng: "Ecce agnus Dey."

And how ye shal ete this lombe, I shal geve infformacyon:
In the same forme as the Eld Lawe doth specyfye,
As I shewe the gostly interpretacyon.
Therfore to that, I shal sey youre wyttys loke ye replye.2

With no byttyr bred, this bred ete shal be:
That is to say, with no byttyrnesse of hate and envye,
But with the suete bred of love and charyté,
Weche fortefyet the soule gretlyé.

And it schuld ben etyn with the byttyr sokelyng:
That is to mene, yf a man be of synful dyspocycyon,
Hath led his lyff here with myslevyng;
Therfore in his hert, he shal have byttyr contrycyon.

Also the hed with the feet, ete shal ye:
Be "the hed," ye shal undyrstand my Godhead,
And be "the feet," ye shal take my humanyté.
These tweyn, ye shal receyve togedyr, indede.

This immaculat lombe, that I shal yow geve,
Is not only the Godhed alone,
But bothe God and man, thus must ye beleve.
Thus, the hed with the feet, ye shal receyve echon.

Of this lombe unete, yf owth be levyth, iwys,
Yt shuld be cast in the clere fyre and brent:
Weche is to mene, yf thu undyrstand nowth al this,3
Put thi feyth in God, and than thu shalt not be shent.

The gyrdyl that was comawndyd, here reynes to sprede,
Shal be the gyrdyl of clennes and chastyté:
That is to sayn, to be contynent in word, thought, and dede,
And all leccherous levyng, cast yow for to fle.

And the schon that shal be youre feet upon
Is not ellys but exawnpyl of vertuis levyng
Of youre form-faderys, you beforn.
With these schon, my steppys ye shal be sewyng.

And the staf that in youre handys ye shal holde
Is not ellys but the exawmpyls to other men teche.
Hold fast youre stavys in your handys, and beth bolde,
To every creature, myn precepttys for to preche.

Also ye must ete this Paschall lombe hastyly,
Of weche sentens, this is the very entent:
At every oure and tyme ye shal be redy
For to fulfylle my cowmawndement.

For thow ye leve this day, ye are not sure
Whedyr ye shal leve tomorwe or nowth.
Therfor, hastyly every oure, do youre besy cure
To kepe my preceptys, and than thar ye not dowth.

Now have I lernyd yow how ye shal ete
Youre Paschal lombe that is my precyous body.
Now I wyl fede yow all with awngellys mete.
Wherfore to reseyve it, come forth seryattly.

PETRUS Lord, for to receyve this gostly sustenawns
In dewe forme, it excedyth myn intellygens,
For no man of hymself may have substawns,
To receyve it with to meche reverens.

For with more delycyous mete, Lord, thu may us not fede
Than with thin owyn precyous body.
Wherfore, what I have trespacyd in word, thought or dede
With byttyr contrycyon, Lord, I haske thee mercy.
by; are spoken; (t-note)
appears; sight; (see note)
made; blood
which; give

lamb; wicked
spiritual enemy
world’s end

Behold the Lamb of God


eaten; (see note); (t-note)

Which builds; greatly

bitter clover
life; with sin
heart; contrition; (t-note)

head; (see note)



each one

uneaten; any be left
bright fire; burned

then; damned

loins to cover
chaste; deed
living; set yourselves

none else; virtuous living
shoes; following

none else; examples; (t-note)

which meaning

though you live
Whether; live; not
hour; work diligently
then need you; fear


angel’s food
receive; one by one; (see note); (t-note)

due; comprehension
too much honor

sinned; deed

  [Whan our Lord gyvyth his body to his dyscypulys, he shal sey to eche of hem, except to Judas:

JHESUS This is my body, flesch, and blode
That for thee shal dey upon the rode.
blood; (t-note)
die; cross

  [And whan Judas comyth last, oure Lord shal sey to hym:

Judas, art thu avysyd what thu shalt take?
JUDAS Lord, thi body I wyl not forsake.

[And sythyn, oure Lord shal sey onto Judas:

JHESUS Myn body, to thee I wole not denye.
Sythyn thu wylt presume therupon,
Yt shal be thi dampnacyon, verylye.
I geve thee warnyng now beforn.
Have you considered



  [And aftyr that Judas hath reseyvyd, he shal syt ther he was, Cryst seyng:

On of yow hath betrayd me
That at my borde with me hath ete.
Bettyr it hadde hym for to a be
Both unborn and unbegete.
table; eaten
have been
unbegotten; (see note)

  [Than eche dyscypyl shal loke on other, and Petyr shal sey:

PETRUS Lord, it is not I!

  [And so alle shul seyn tyl thei comyn at Judas weche shal sey:

JUDAS Is it owth I, Lord?

[Than Jhesus shal sey:

JHESUS Judas, thu seyst that word.

Me thu ast solde that was thi frend.
That thu hast begonne, brenge to an ende.
aught; (t-note)

you have
What you have begun, bring

  [Than Judas shal gon ageyn to the Jewys, and yf men wolne, shal mete with hym and sey this spech folwyng or levynt (omit it) whether thei wyl, the devyl thus seyng: (see note); (t-note)






DEMON A! A! Judas derlyng myn!
Thu art the best to me that evyr was bore!
Thu shalt be crownyd in helle peyn,
And therof, thu shalt be sekyr forevyrmore!

Thow hast solde thi maystyr and etyn hym, also.
I wolde thu kowdyst bryngyn hym to helle every del,
But yet I fere he shuld do ther sum sorwe and wo
That all helle shal crye out on me that sel.

Sped up thi matere that thu hast begonne!
I shal to helle for thee to mak redy.
Anon, thu shalt come wher thu shalt wonne —
In fyre and stynk shalt sytt me by.

JHESUS Now, the Sone of God claryfyed is,
And God in hym is claryfyed also.
I am sory that Judas hath lost his blysse
Weche shal turn hym to sorwe and wo.

But now in the memory of my Passyon,
To ben partabyl with me in my reyn above,
Ye shal drynk myn blood with gret devocyon,
Wheche shal be shad for mannys love.

Takyth these chalys of the Newe Testament
And kepyth this evyr in youre mende.
As oftyn as ye do this with trewe intent,
It shal defend yow fro the fende.
darling; (see note); (t-note)

hell’s pain

master; eaten
could; entirely
fear; sorrow
at that time

to make ready
Soon; dwell



To be able to partake; reign

Which; shed; man’s

chalices; (see note)


  [Than shal the dysciplys com and take the blod, Jhesus seyng:

This is my blood that for mannys synne
Outh of myn herte, it shal renne.
man’s; (t-note)
heart; run

  [And the dyscipulys shul sett them agen ther thei wore, and Jhesus shal seyn:






Takyth hed, now bretheryn, what I have do,
With my flesch and blood, I have yow fed.
For mannys love, I may do no mo

Werfore, Petyr and ye everychon
Yf ye love me, fede my schep,
That for fawth of techyng, thei go not wrong,
But evyr to hem takyth good kep.

Gevyth hem my body, as I have to yow,
Qweche shal be sacryd be my worde,
And evyr I shal thus abyde with yow
Into the ende of the werde.

Hoso etyth my body and drynkyth my blood
Hol God and man he shal me take.
It shal hym defende from the devyl wood,
And at his deth, I shal hym nowth forsake.

And hoso not ete my body nor drynke my blood,
Lyf in hym is nevyr a dele.
Kepe wel this in mende for your good,
And every man save hymself wele.
heed; done

man’s; more

want of teaching
take good care of them

Give them
Which; by


Whoso eats; (t-note)

whoso does
none at all
in mind

  [Here Jhesus takyth a basyn with watyr and towaly (towel) gyrt abowtyn hym, and fallyth beforn Petyr on his o (one) kne. (t-note)

Another exawmpyl I shal yow showe,
How ye shal leve in charyté.
Syt here down at wordys fewe
And qwat I do, ye sofre me.

with few words; (t-note)
what; allow me to do

  [Here he takyth the basyn and the towaly and doth as the roberych (rubric) seyth beforn:



PETRUS Lord, what wylt thu with me do?
This servyce of thee, I wyl forsake —
To wassche my feet, thu shal not so!
I am not worthy, it of thee to take.

JHESUS Petyr, and thu forsake my servyce all,
The weche to yow that I shal do,
No part with me have thu shal,
And nevyr com my blysse onto!

PETRUS That part, Lord, we wyl not forgo!
We shal abey his comawndement.
Wasche hed and hond, we pray thee so;
We wyl don after thin entent.


if you
The which

head; hand

  [Here Jhesus wasshyth his dyscipulys feet by and by, and whypyth (wipes) hem and kyssyth hem mekely. And sythyn settyth hym down, thus seyng: (t-note)












JHESUS Frendys, this wasshyng shal now prevayll.
Youre lord and mayster ye do me calle,
And so I am withowtyn fayl,
Yet I have wasschyd yow alle.
A memory of this have ye shall
That eche of yow shal do to othyr
With umbyl hert submyt egal,
As eche of yow were otherys brother.

Nothyng, serys, so wele plesyth me
Nor no lyf that man may lede
As thei that levyn in charyté.
In efne, I shal reward here mede.
The day is come — I must procede
For to fulfylle the prophecy:
This nyth, for me, ye shal han drede
Whan noumbyr of pepyl shal on me cry.

For the propheys spoke of me,
And seydyn of deth, that I shuld take,
Fro whech deth I wole not fle,
But for mannys synne amendys make.

This nyth, fro yow be led I shal,
And ye, for fer, fro me shal fle.
Not onys dur speke whan I yow call,
And some of yow forsake me.

For yow shal I dey and ryse ageyn.
Un the thrydde day, ye shal me se
Beforn yow all walkyng playn
In the lond of Galylé.

PETRUS Lord, I wyl thee nevyr forsake,
Nor for no perellys, fro thee fle!
I wyl rather my deth take
Than onys, Lord, forsake thee!

JHESUS Petyr, yn ferthere than thu doyst knowe.
As for that promese, loke thu not make,
For or the cok hath twyes crowe,
Thryes thu shal me forsake.

But all my frendys that arn me dere,
Late us go — the tyme drawyth ny.
We may no lengere abydyn here,
For I must walke to Betany.

The tyme is come — the day drawyth nere —
Onto my deth I must in hast.
Now, Petyr, make hall thi felawys chere.
My flesch, for fere, is qwakyng fast.
become customary; (t-note)


one another
humble; equally
each other’s


heaven; give them their reward

night; have dread
When many

From which
man’s; amends

night, from
fear, from
Not once will you dare

On; third
in plain view

perils, from


it is beyond what; (t-note)
promise; look
before; twice

dear to me
Let; time; nigh
longer abide
(see note)

give comfort to all the fellows; (t-note)
fear; (t-note)

Go To Play 28, Betrayal; Procession of Saints