Play 35, Harrowing of Hell (2); Appearance to Mary; Pilate and Soldiers
Play 35, HARROWING OF HELL (2); APPEARANCE TO MARY; PILATE AND SOLDIERS: FOOTNOTES1 Then the knights will sleep. Anima Christi will come from hell with Adam and Eve, Abraham, John the Baptist, and others
2 Then the soul of Christ will go to revive his body, and when it is revived, let Jesus say
3 Thereupon the knights at the sepulcher will awaken, and the First Knight says
4 Here Pilate, Cayphas, and Annas will privately consult among themselves. When they are done he (Annas) says
Play 35, HARROWING OF HELL (2); APPEARANCE TO MARY; PILATE AND SOLDIERS: EXPLANATORY NOTES
Abbreviations: PP: Passion Play, ed. Meredith (1990); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.
This play is written in tail-rhymed octaves.
Before 1, s.d. Meredith notes (PP, p. 219n1367sd) that there is no mention of such a procession in the Banns, but rather of Jesus’ frightening the knights.
10 my grett trespace. Adam claims his guilt, and has spent sufficient time in Purgatory for his original sin. Compare 2.165 ff.
73–80 Spector cites the Middle English Harrowing of Hell, ed. Hulme.
89–90 Salve, sancta parens . . . All heyl, modyr. Spector identifies this as from the Introit for Lady Masses (S 2:521). This appearance first to the Virgin Mary is unique to N-Town. In other cycles Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene or the three Marys (Magdalene, Jacobi, and Salome in York, Towneley, and Chester). This privileging of the Blessed Virgin Mary emphasizes the Son’s love of his mother and, through its reiteration of the Hail Mary of the Assumption (see Play 41), elevates the Marian adoration that gave us the Mary Play and will conclude in the Ascension Play, which is also unique to this cycle. Christ’s appearance to the three Marys will come later, after the soldiers awaken and sound the alarm to Pilate and Cayphas, as in other cycles.
89–136 Meredith observes that although this scene between Jesus and his mother appears in no other English plays, it does appear in the Meditationes, Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend, and in the Vita Christi (PP, p. 221n1456). See also Martin Stevens, Mystery Cycles, p. 252.
105–06 All this werlde . . . Shal wurchepe you. "While Christ’s suffering allows for mankind’s salvation, Mary’s sinless body made the process possible, for had he not been born of her, there would be no salvation. Just as his wounds demand gratitude and worship, so does Mary’s nurturing role merit her the devotions of mankind" (Kinservik, "Mary’s Body," p. 197).
133 But this joy now passyth all sorwe. Perhaps the allusion is to John 16:21–22, where Jesus anticipates the joy of the Resurrection, the sorrow and pain a mother feels in the birthing process which is forgotten once the child is born, or, in this instance, reborn.
137 ff. The poet changes the verse form to the skipping meter of short lines and tupple rhymes, to reflect the anxiety of the soldiers as they awaken, bestirring themselves after the more significant arousal has already taken place. The hasty rhythms set a comic tone for Pilate’s "What? What? What? What?" (there are four soldiers, after all), lines 169 ff.
206–08 Pilate threatens the four knights with crucifixion. Note that in the Crucifixion scene, Judeus 1 says to Christ: "Take good eyd to oure corn, / And chare awey the crowe" (32.212–13).
261–62 Proverbial. See Whiting M490, G296.
264 Proverbial. See Whiting B105.
265 this counsell. Refers to bribing the knights.
279 See explanatory note to 27.305-06.
289–92 "Now, ye mighty men, as you are called — from this point on, you will not talk."
Play 35, HARROWING OF HELL (2); APPEARANCE TO MARY; PILATE AND SOLDIERS: TEXTUAL NOTESAbbreviations: Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); PP: Passion Play, ed. Meredith (1990); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.n.: stage name.
1–8 MS: very large play number 35 in right margin.
21 MS: h all.
forgovyn. So MS. Bl: for-govyn. PP: forʒovyn. S: forgevyn.
40–41 MS: in the left margin in a reviser’s hand, is Nota anima caym ("Note: soul of Cain."). Following line 40 is a speaker’s name, Anima Caym, presumably with a speech to be spoken between lines 40 and 41, before Anima Christi’s speech.
56 MS: word or words erased in right margin.
57, s.n. BELIALL. MS: to the left of the speaker’s name a few words have been erased.
58 on. MS: inserted above an erased word.
64 MS: below this line, in the left margin beside lines 65–72, and to the right of lines 63–66 is another revision by Scribe B. See PP, p. 253 and S 2:520. Below is PP’s reconstruction of this revision.
Beliall: I shal nevyr com from helleClearly, as seen in the note above to 40–41, Scribe B was interested in having Cain added to the cast as a character, presumably to confirm his condemnation in Hell for being a murderer.
[Nota ye devyll
Thought many be gon, I am glad, etc.
. . .
Hens I wyll ye bere.
[and than Cayme shal sey:
Now is your foo, etc.
Before 73 MS: fol. 192v marked 190.
82 rede. PP notes that the handwriting in the manuscript is unclear (p. 221n1449). The Middle English word is either "red" or "rade," both adverbs meaning "quickly" or "readily." Da suggests the color red (p. 330).
106 you. MS: written above the line.
111 I am resyn. MS: I aresyn, with a dot and curved line above the a and another curved line under the a.
113 MS: a letter canceled before ben.
123 is. MS: written above the line.
137–44 MS: two lines written as one.
142 revid. MS: rewi revid.
153–68 MS: two lines written as one.
177, s.n. MS: 3 Miles.
185–92 MS: two lines written as one.
206 wel. So PP, S. MS, Bl: we.
213 he. MS: d he.
lake. MS: k lake.
281–304 MS: two lines written as one, separated by various punctuation.
289 men of. MS: men of men of.
After 304 MS: no break between plays.
[Tunc dormyent milites. Et veniet Anima Christi de inferno cum Adam et Eva, Abraham, Johan Baptista, et aliis.1; (see note)
ANIMA CHRISTI Come forthe, Adam and Eve, with thee,
And all my fryndys that herein be!
To paradys come forthe with me,
In blysse for to dwelle.
The fende of helle, that is your foo,
He shal be wrappyd and woundyn in woo.
Fro wo to welthe now shul ye go
With myrthe evyr more to melle.
ADAM I thanke thee, Lord, of thi grett grace
That now is forgovyn my grett trespace.
Now shal we dwellyn in blysful place,
In joye and endeles myrthe.
Thorwe my synne, man was forlorn,
And man to save, thu wore all torn
And of a mayd in Bedlem born,
That evyr blyssyd be thi byrthe.
EVA Blyssyd be thu, Lord of Lyff!
I am Eve, Adamis wyff.
Thu hast soferyd strok and stryff
For werkys that we wrought.
Thi mylde mercy haht all forgovyn;
Dethis dentys on thee were drevyn.
Now, with thee, Lord, we shul levyn,
Thi bryght blood hath us bowth.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA I am thi cosyn; my name is Johan.
Thi woundys hath betyn thee to the bon.
I baptyzid thee in Flom Jordon
And gaff thi body baptyze.
With thi grace now shul we gon
From oure enmyes, everychon,
And fyndyn myrthis many on
In pley of paradyse.
ABRAHAM I am Abraham, fadyr trowe,
That reyned after Noes flowe.
A sory synne Adam gan sowe
That clad us all in care.
A sone, that maydenys mylk hath sokyn,
And with his blood oure bonde hath brokyn,
Helle logge lyth unlokyn
Fro fylth with frende we fare.
ANIMA CHRISTI Fayre frendys, now be ye wunne!
On yow shyneth the sothfast sunne!
The gost that all grevaunce hath gunne
Ful harde I shal hym bynde!
As wyckyd werme thu gunne apere
To tray my chylderyn that were so dere;
Therfore, traytour, hevermore here
Newe peynes thu shalt evyr fynde!
Thorwe blood I took of mannys kynde,
Fals devyl, I here thee bynde!
In endles sorwe I thee wynde
Therin evyrmore to dwelle.
Now thu art bownde; thu mayst not fle,
For thin envyous cruelté
In endeles dampnacyon shalt thu be,
And nevyr comyn out of helle.
BELIALL Alas! Herrow, now am I bownde
In helle gonge to ly on grownde!
In hendles sorwe, now am I wounde;
In care evyrmore to dwelle;
In Helle logge I lygh alone.
Now is my joye awey al gone,
For all fendys shul be my fone!
I shal nevyr com from Helle.
ANIMA CHRISTI Now is your foo boundyn in Helle
That evyr was besy, yow for to qwelle.
Now wele I rysyn flesch and felle
That rent was for youre sake.
Myn owyn body that hynge on rode —
And be the Jewys nevyr so wode —
It shal aryse both flesch and blode,
My body now wyl I take.
consumed and enclosed; woe
From woe; shall
forgiven; (see note)
beatings and strife
has forgiven all; (t-note)
joys many a one
reigned; Noah’s flood
a virgin’s milk; sucked
Hell’s lodge lies unlocked
From; friends; go; (t-note)
worm (serpent); began to appear
To betray; children
Through; man’s form
hell’s cesspool; lie; (t-note)
fiends shall; foes
busy; you; to kill
the whole body
hung on the cross
[APPEARANCE TO MARY]
[Tunc transiet Anima Christi ad resuscitandum corpus quo resuscitato dicat Jhesus: 2; (t-note)
JHESUS Harde gatys have I gon,
And peynes sofryd many on:
Stomblyd at stake and at ston,
Nygh thre and thretty yere.
I lyght out of my Faderys trone
For to amende mannys mone.
My flesch was betyn to the bon;
My blood I bledde clere.
For mannys love I tholyd dede,
And for mannys love I am rysyn up rede.
For man I have mad my body in brede,
His sowle for to fede.
Man, and thu lete me thus gone,
And wylt not folwyn me anone;
Such a frende fyndyst thu nevyr none
To help thee at thi nede.
Salve, sancta parens, my modyr dere!
All heyl, modyr, with glad chere!
For now is aresyn with body clere
Thi sone that was dolve depe.
This is the thrydde day that I yow tolde:
I shuld arysyn out of the cley so colde.
Now am I here with brest ful bolde;
Therefore no more ye wepe.
MARIA Welcom, my Lord! Welcom, my grace!
Welcome, my sone and my solace!
I shal thee wurchep in every place.
Welcom, Lord God of Myght!
Mekel sorwe in hert I leed
Whan thu were leyd in dethis beed,
But now my blysse is newly breed:
All men may joye this syght.
JHESUS All this werlde that was forlorn
Shal wurchepe you, bothe evyn and morn;
For had I not of yow be born,
Man had be lost in helle.
I was deed, and lyff I have;
And thorwe my deth, man do I save.
For now I am resyn out of my grave;
In hevyn, man shal now dwelle.
MARIA A, dere Sone, these wurdys ben goode.
Thu hast wel comfortyd my mornyng moode.
Blyssyd be thi precyous bloode
That mankende thus doth save.
JHESUS Now, dere modyr, my leve I take.
Joye in hert and myrth ye make,
For deth is deed, and lyff doth wake.
Now I am resyn fro my grave.
MARIA Farewel, my sone! Farewel, my childe!
Farewel, my Lorde, my God so mylde!
Myn hert is wele that fyrst was whylde.
Farewel, myn owyn dere love!
Now, all mankynde beth glad with gle,
For deth is deed, as ye may se!
And lyff is reysed, endles to be
In hevyn dwellynge above.
Whan my sone was naylyd on tre,
All women myght rewe with me,
For grettere sorwe myght nevyr non be
Than I dede suffyr, iwys.
But this joy now passyth all sorwe
That my childe suffryd in that hard morwe,
For now he is oure alderers borwe
To brynge us all to blys.
Through grievous paths; (see note)
pains suffered; a one
Nearly thirty-three years
descended; Father’s throne
man’s; suffered death
Hail, holy mother; (see note)
third; told you of
Great sorrow; suffered
When; laid; death’s bed
lost; (see note)
honor; evening; (t-note)
would have been
well; wild; (t-note)
sorrow; (see note)
redeemer of us all
[PILATE AND SOLDIERS]
[Tunc evigilabunt milites sepulcri, et dicit Primus Miles: 3
AMERAUNT Awake! Awake!
Hillis gyn qwake!
And tres ben shake
Ful nere atoo!
Wyttys ben revid;
Erys ben devid;
I am servid so!
ARFAXAT He is aresyn, this is no nay!
That was deed and colde in clay,
Now is resyn, belyve this day!
Grett woundyr it is to me!
He is resyn by his owyn myght,
And forth he goth his wey ful ryght.
How shul we now us qwytte
Whan Pylat doth us se?
COSDRAM Lete us now go
And ryght evyn so
As we han sayn
The trewth we sey:
That out of clay
He is resyn this day
That Jewys han slayn.
AFFRAUNT I holde it best,
Lete us nevyr rest,
But go we prest
That it were done.
All heyl, Pilatt
In thin astat!
He is resyn up latt
That thu gast dome.
PYLAT What? What? What? What?
Out upon thee! Why seyst thu that?
Fy upon thee, harlat!
How darst thu so say!
Thu dost myn herte ryght grett greff!
Thu lyest upon hym, fals theff!
How shulde he rysyn ageyn to lyff
That lay deed in clay?
AMERAUNT Ya, thow thu be nevyr so wroth,
And of these tydandys nevyr so loth.
Yitt goodly on ground, on lyve he goth,
Qwycke and levynge man!
Iff thu haddyst a ben ther we ware,
In hert, thu shuldyst han had gret care —
And of blysse a ben ryght bare,
Of colore, bothe pale and whan.
PYLAT Or ye com there,
Ye dede all swere
To fyght in fere
And bete and bynde!
All this was trayn!
Your wurdys wore vayn,
This is sertayn.
Yowe fals I fynde.
ARFAXAT Be the deth the devyl deyd,
We were of hym so sore atreyd
That, for fer, we us down leyd,
Ryght evyn upon oure syde.
Whan we were leyd upon the grounde,
Stylle we lay, as we had be bounde.
We durst not ryse for a thowsand pounde,
Ne not for all this worlde so wyde!
PYLAT Now fy upon youre grett bost!
All youre wurchep is now lost
In felde, in town, and in every cost,
Men may you dyspravyn.
Now all youre wurchep, it is lorn:
And every man may yow wel scorn,
And bydde yow go syttyn in the corn
And chare awey the ravyn.
COSDRAM Ya, it was hygh tyme to leyn oure bost,
For whan the body toke agen the gost,
He wold a frayd many an ost —
Kynge, knyght, and knave!
Ya, whan he dede ryse out of his lake,
Than was ther suche an erthequake,
That all the worlde it gan to shake!
That made us for to rave!
AFFRAUNT Ya, ya! Herke, felawys what I shal say!
Late us not ses be nyght nor day,
But telle the trewth ryght as it lay
In countré where we goo.
And than, I dare ley myn heed
That thei that Crystys lawys leed,
They wyl nevyr ses tyl they be deed,
His deth that brought hym too.
AMERAUNT Be Belyall, this was now wele ment.
To this cowncell lete us consent.
Lett us go tellyn with on assent —
He is resyn up this day.
ARFAXAT I grawnt therto and that forthryght
That he is resyn by his owyn myght,
For ther cam non be day nor nyght
To helpe hym owte of clay.
PYLAT Now, jentyl serys, I pray yow all —
Abyde stylle, a lytyl thrall
Whyll that I, myn cowncel call
And here of ther councell.
AMERAUNT Syr, att youre prayour, we wyl abyde
Here in this place a lytel tyde.
But tary not to longe, for we must ryde —
We may not longe dwelle.
PYLAT Now, jentyl serys, I pray yow here
Sum good cowncel, me to lere,
For sertys, serys, without dwere,
We stounde in right grett dowte.
CAYPHAS Now trewly sere, I yow telle,
This matere is both fers and felle —
Combros it is therwith to melle,
And evyl to be browth abowte.
ANNAS Syr Pylat, thu grett justyse,
Thow thu be of wittys wyse,
Yit herke ful sadly with good devyse
What that thu shalt do.
I counsel thee be my reed:
This wundyrful tale, pray hem to hede.
And upon this, geve hem good mede,
Bothe golde and sylver also.
And, sere, I shall tell yow why
In youre erys prevyly,
Betweyn us thre serteynly.
Now herk, serys, in youre erys.
(see note); (t-note)
nearly in two
Wits are snatched; (t-note)
Ears are deafened
On your throne
Whom you judged
Shame on you
heart; great grief
tell lies about; thief
rise again to life
Though; ever so angry; (t-note)
Yet splendidly; alive
had been where we were
Before; went; (t-note)
By; death; died
(see note); (t-note)
sit; grain fields
have frightened; an army
when; did rise; pit; (t-note)
Let; cease by night
then; bet my own head
teach Christ’s laws
cease until; dead
By; well intended
no one by
a little while
hear; their counsel
a little while
certain, sirs; doubt
fierce and treacherous
Cumbersome; deal with
Yet listen; seriously; good intent
by my advice
bid them to hide
give them; rewards
[Hic faciant Pilatus, Cayphas, et Annas privatim inter se consilium. Quo finito dicat: 4
ANNAS For mede doth most in every qwest,
And mede is mayster, bothe est and west.
Now trewly, serys, I hold this best —
With mede, men may bynde berys.
CAYPHAS Sekyr, sere, this counsell is good.
Pray these knyhtys to chaunge ther mood.
Geve them golde, feste, and food,
And that may chaunge ther wytt.
PYLAT Serys, youre good councel I shal fulfylle.
Now, jentyl knyhtys, come hedyr me tylle!
I pray yow, serys, of youre good wylle
No ferther that ye flytt.
Jentyl knyhtys, I yow pray,
A bettyr sawe that ye say:
Sey ther he was cawth away
With his dyscyplis be nyght;
Sey he was with his dyscyplis fett.
I wolde ye worn in youre sadelys sett
And have here gold in a purs knett,
And to Rome rydyth ryght.
AFFRAUNT Now, Syr Pylatt,
We gon oure gatt.
We wyll not prate
No lengere now
Now we have golde;
No talys shul be tolde
To whithtys on wolde,
We make thee a vow.
PYLAT Now, ye men of myth,
As ye han hyght,
Evyn so forthryght
Youre wurdys not falle.
And ye shul gon
With me anon
Into myn halle.
AMERAUNT Now hens we go,
As lyth as ro,
And ryght evyn so
As we han seyd.
We shul kepe counsel
Wheresoevyr we dwell.
We shul no talys tell —
Be not dysmayd.
reward; endeavor; (see note)
reward; master; east
bind bears; (see note)
Surely, sir; (see note)
knights; here to me
knitted in a purse; (see note)
go our way
anyone on earth
might; (see note); (t-note)
[may] not fall
Go To Play 36, Announcement to the Marys; Peter and John at the Sepulcher