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Play 4, Noah


1 Now I am sorry that I had made man. (See Genesis 6:6)

2 Here Noah crosses with his family in front of the ship. As he exits the playing place, let Lameth immediately enter, led by a boy, and say

3 You would have hit the target if you had stood nearby

4 This broad-tipped arrow I shoot that beast to assail (slay)

5 Here Lameth beats the boy to death with his bow, with the boy saying

6 Here Lameth withdraws and Noah enters immediately with his boat, singing

7 Here let him release a raven, and after waiting a while, let him say

8 And look for some dry spot that will mend our mourning

9 Here let the dove fly away, and return with a green olive branch

10 Here let them sing these verses: "The sea saw and fled: Jordan was turned back. Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory." And let them withdraw with the ship. (See Vulgate Psalm 113:3, 9)


Abbreviations: MED: Middle English Dictionary; PL: Patrologia Latina, ed. Migne; S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name.

The biblical story appears in Genesis 6:5–8:22, and is commonly reproduced in late medieval English and Western European religious plays. There are several other English versions: York Plays 8 and 9, Towneley Play 3, Chester Play 3, and two reconstructions of a Shipwrights’ play from Newcastle ("Newcastle Play," in Non-Cycle Plays, ed. Davis, pp. 19–31). Most of the English versions depict Noah’s wife as a carousing shrew who would avoid salvation. In this N-Town version, she is as godly and accommodating as the rest of the family. In addition, this version (as opposed to the other English ones) in­cludes a Lamech episode (compare Genesis 4:23–24) which is likely included to portray the depths of human depravity before the flood. Many other medieval sources include such an episode (S 2:424 and 2:426). Woolf states that Lamech episodes appear in the Historia Scho­lastica (PL 198:1079), the Glossa Ordinaria (PL 113:101–02), the Mystère du Viel Testament, the Holkham Bible Picture Book, and in carvings found in the south porch at Malmesbury as well as Nor­wich roof bosses (English Mystery Plays, p. 135). In the manuscript, at the bottom of folios 21r–22v, is a genealogy of Noah, his sons, and their children.

1–52 This portion of the play is in thirteener stanzas.

10 Noe, serys, my name is knowe. It is noteworthy that characters often introduce them­selves to the audience in N-Town. See line 40, where Uxor identifies her­self, or lines 57 ("My name is Shem"), 66 ("I am Cham"), 79 ("Japheth thi thryd sone is my name"), etc. The wives are not given names, but they are given voices that demonstrate their dignity through direct address as they stand "here on rowe" (line 11), a potent image of familial strength. See note to lines 222–38.

11 here on rowe. The sense is "here all together," though the term resonates in other ways as well — iconographically, where the domestic togetherness commonly places the family in a row along the side of the ark or in an "orderly" arrange­ment as in the Norwich Ministry ceiling boss of Noah and family in the ark. As Noah makes his utterance the flood has not yet occurred, but the orderliness of his prayer is evidence of why God chose him for the new reordering of the world after its destruction.

14–17 the secunde age. Noah is following St. Augustine’s division of the units of history: the first age is the age of Adam, the second of Noah, the third of Abraham, the fourth of David, the fifth of David and the exile, the sixth of John the Baptist, the seventh of the Last Judgment. See Augustine, Tractate 9 on the Gospel of John. As namesake of the second age Noah is thus, after Adam, "The secunde fadyr . . . in fay" (line 17).

27–48 This pairing of a prayer of supplication by Uxor with Noah’s prayer at the outset of the play, thereby including the woman’s wisdom and desire for holiness as part of mankind’s appeal for humanity, is unique to N-Town. In the York Cycle (the Shipwrights’ Play), Noah first receives instructions from God to build the ark, which he proceeds to do. Then, in a second play, put on by the Fishermen and Mariners’ guilds (Noah and his wife and the Flood), Noah attempts to sum­mon the family to get on the ark, but Uxor refuses, setting up their obstinate squab­bling. Similarly, in Towneley, Uxor first appears in the second scene, ques­tioning Noah’s mission and fighting it, since she has had no part in the plan­ning. In Chester, God gives the command, Noah accepts, and his sons vol­unteer to help. Uxor helps too, summoning the other wives to do so also, and, together, they build the ark. N-Town gives Uxor the most dignified role, praying that God cleanse mankind and asking Noah to help her instruct their children against sin (lines 40–48). Spector notes that the Cornish Creation and Origo Mundi also present Uxor as "obedient rather than contentious" (S 2:424).

34 scrapyth hym out of lyvys bylle. Compare Vulgate Psalm 68:29; Apocalypse 3:5, 13:8, 20:12, 21:27 (S 2:425). That the name would be "scraped" out of "the book of life" reminds us of scribal practices of corrections. See "Chaucers Wordes Unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn," line 6: "It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape."

36 scleppe. Spector suggests that "sleep" is the better gloss as it rhymes better with deppe and creppe (S 2:425). Block glosses scleppe as "slip," which makes more sense in the phrase.

53–117 Consists of a nine-line stanza and a quatrain followed by thirteener stanzas.

92 Ow, what menyht this myslevyng man. God here addresses the audience, not Noah and his virtuous family.

96 Spector notes that in Genesis God, not an angel, addresses Noah (S 2:425).

105 This line is roughly translated in the following line. Compare Genesis 6:6. (See S 2:425).

118-253 Written in octaves.

120–25 Compare Genesis 6:17–19.

127 It appears that, according to the biblical account, Noah should be six hundred years old. Spector attributes this discrepancy to different sources and sum­mar­izes the problem with calculating Noah’s age (S 2:425).

142–97, s.d. Lamech is a frequent subject in patristic exegesis (see S 2:424). Reiss observes that "Lamech is further a general figure . . . suggesting several sins," such as lechery, gluttony, pride and wrath ("Story of Lamech," p. 46). Nitecki notes that "Lamech is the ethical opposite of the other old man in the play, Noah, the obedient second father of the human race" ("N-Town Lamech"). But such ob­servations provide little reason for N-Town’s unique placement of Lamech and his servant boy with his accusations against Lamech in the midst of this play of Noah’s Flood. Cursor Mundi refers to Lameth as "þe last man" at the time of the Flood (lines 1489–92), as if to mark the end of the curse of Cain and the first phase of life in the fallen world. N-Town uses Lamech similarly to mark the end of the old order as angry Lamech slays the boy, thereby reenacting Cain’s malice (see line 224) that now concludes with God’s "dredull vengeaunce" (line 204).

150 On Lamech as a "good archere," see Comestor’s Historia Scholastica (PL 198: 1079d).

155–57 "When you bent your bow (if the target had been a half-mile wide), you would have hit it (if you’d stood really close)." Clearly Adolescens (or the servant boy) is playing to the audience by mocking the elder Lameth.

174–85 Spector finds parallels with the French Viel Testament (S 2:426). Reiss (see note to 142–97, s.d.) notices the verbal and visual punning on Lamech’s bow (arc), and Noah’s ark (arce) as found in the Holkham Bible Picture Book (72). It is inter­esting to note that the N-Town version does not mention or display a rainbow as that found at the end of the Chester play, "that ilke bowe" (3:318).

176 to tundyr. Literally, turned into tinder (MED).

197, s.d. statim intrat Noe cum naui cantantes. "The singing is a surprise to the extent that No­ah’s first lines are of great sadness. The music to be sung is presumably sor­rowful — a rare enough phenomenon in the plays — which also suits the end of the previous scene, in which Caym and Adolescens are both killed by Lameth, while Lameth knows himself to be a cursed outcast" (Rastall, Minstrels Playing, p. 80). John Stevens draws a parallel with Noah’s family singing as they enter the Ark and close the windows against the rain in the Chester Deluge Play: "Tunc Noe claudet fenestram Archae et per modicum spatium infra tectum cantent psalmum ‘Save mee O God’ et aperiens fenestram et respiciens" ["Then Noah will shut the window of the Ark and for a little while beneath the roof (i.e., inside) let them sing the psalm ‘Save me O God’"] ("Music in Mediaeval Drama," p. 87).

218–37 According to many medieval sources, adultery was a chief cause of the Flood. See Spector (S 2:427), who cites The Book of Adam and Eve, Historia Scholastica, and rab­binical commentaries, along with scholarly studies by Lewis and Poteet.

222, s.n.–238, s.n. Uxor Shem . . . Uxor Cham . . . Uxor Japhet. N-Town is the only one of the cycles to give voices to the wives of Noah’s three sons. The effect is orderly as each of the eight people on the ark speaks a quatrain on the justice of God’s judg­ment and on their gratitude for salvation. Rather than words about the rainbow and a new covenant, as at the end of the Chester Noah, or Noah’s wife’s poig­nant lament for the dead from the Wakefield Noah — "From thens again / May they never win?" (Bev 307) — here the octet sings God’s glory as embodied in Vulgate Psalm 113 while they disembark, setting out, like the new children of Adam, to repopulate the earth. This is the only Noah play to end with song.

223–24 "Very severely transgressed when they were sinfully driven (by desire) to the daughters of Cain" (S 2:427).

240–41 wurchipe in every stede . . . We beth gretly bownde. Rastall suggests that although no singing is specified in a stage direction, there may have been music to represent praise at this point. See also the "praise" ending to the play (line 253) where the text, Vulgate Psalm 113, is given in the stage direction following (Minstrels Play­ing, p. 80).

246 As Spector notes, the raven’s eating carrion is non-biblical (S 2:427).

253 Oure Lord God to worchep, a songe lete us synge. See note to lines 240–41, above.

253, s.d. This Psalm verse (Vulgate Psalm 113:3) comes from the Sarum Breviary, II, p. 194 (see Dutka, Index of Songs, p. 34).


Abbreviations: Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); Da: Corpus Christi Play, ed. Davies (1972); H: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Halliwell (1841); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name.

1 Noe. This speaker’s name is written in larger textura quadrata script, per­haps meant to act as both speaker’s name and play title.

4–8 MS: large play number 4 in right margin.

After 30 At the feet of fols. 21r through 22v appears this genealogy in textura qua­drata script. On fol. 21r appears: Noe genuit Sem/Cham/Japhet. On fol. 21v appears: Sem genuit Arfaxit genuit Sale genuit Heber genuit Phaleg. On fol. 22r appears: genuit Reu genuit Sarug genuit Nachor genuit Thare genuit Abraham/Nacor/Aran. On fol. 22v appears: Aran genuit Loth.

40 wyff. MS: wyff these ch.

44 fere. Bl: notes that it should be sere.

50 hevyn. MS: hevy.

51 we. Bl: notes that it should be ye.

57 Shem. Manly: Chem. Also letter canceled before youre.

63 MS: scribbles in right margin.

68 MS: scribbles in right margin.

81 us. MS: erasures after us.

94 certayn. MS: a corrected from another letter.

95 be. MS: he be.

96 gan. MS: altered from gon.

108 synne. MS: e corrected from another letter.

111 eighte. MS: viij.

112 MS: letter canceled before not.

118, s.n. Angelus. MS: Anglus ad Noe on same line.

127 fyff hundryd. MS: vc.

129 feynnesse. MS: ffeyynnesse. H reads ffeythnnesse.

134 bydde. MS: d bylde.

141, s.d. dicit.. MS: di, remainder cropped.

156 brede. MS: dede brede.

192 sefne. MS: vij.

197 ff. At the foot of fol. 24r, the main scribe wrote: Noe schyp was in lenght ccc cubytes. In brede fyfty. And the heyth thretty. The fold 15 above hyest montayn.

210 soferyd. MS: f soferyd, first f canceled.

222 the. Bl, MS: of.

good. MS: gode good.

242 Fourty. MS: xlt.

243 fourty. MS: xlti.

249, s.d. redeunte. Da: redeinte. MS: redeinte or redemte.

viridi. Bl: virid.

250 yet. MS: yt. S: yet. Bl: þat.

253 lete. MS: letters smudged after lete.

After 253, s.d. The Abraham and Isaac Play follows immediately after Noah Play in the MS.





























[Introitus Noe.

NOE God, of his goodnesse and of grace grounde,
By whoys gloryous power allthyng is wrought,
In whom all vertu plentevously is founde,
Withowtyn whos wyl may be ryth nought,
Thy servautys save, Lord, fro synful sownde
In wyl, in werk, in dede, and in thouht.
Oure welth in woo lete nevyr be fownde.
Us help, Lord, from synne that we be in brought —
Lord God, ful of myght.
Noe, serys, my name is knowe.
My wyff and my chyldere here on rowe,
To God we pray with hert ful lowe
To plese hym in his syght.

In me, Noe, the secunde age
Indede begynnyth as I yow say.
Afftyr Adam, withoutyn langage,
The secunde fadyr am I in fay.
But men of levyng be so owtrage —
Bothe be nyght and eke by day —
That lesse than synne the soner swage
God wyl be vengyd on us sum way,
Ther may no man go therowte
But synne regnyth in every rowte;
In every place rownde abowte
Cursydnes doth sprynge and sprede.

UXOR NOE Allmyghty God of his gret grace:
Enspyre men with hertely wyll
For to sese of here trespace,
For synfull levyng oure sowle shal spyll!
Synne offendyth God in his face
And agrevyth oure Lorde full ylle.
It causyth to man ryght grett manace
And scrapyth hym out of lyvys bylle,
That blyssyd book.
What man in synne doth allwey scleppe,
He shal gon to helle ful depp.
Than shal he nevyr after crepp
Out of that brennyng brook.

I am youre wyff, youre childeryn these be.
Onto us tweyn it doth longe
Hem to teche in all degré,
Synne to forsakyn and werkys wronge.
Therfore, fere, for love of me,
Enforme hem wele evyr amonge,
Synne to forsake, and vanyté
And vertu to folwe that thei fonge
Oure Lord God to plese.
NOE I warne yow, childeryn, on and all,
Drede oure Lord God in hevyn hall
And in no forfete that we ne fall,
Oure Lord for to dysplese.

SHEM A, dere fadyr, God forbede
That we shulde do in ony wyse
Ony werke of synful dede,
Oure Lord God that shulde agryse!
My name is Shem, youre son of prise.
I shal werke aftere youre rede
And also, wyff, thee weyll awyse,
Wykkyd werkys that thu non brede,
Never in no degré.

UXOR SHEM Forsothe, sere, be Goddys grace!
I shal me kepe from all trespace
That shulde offende Goddys face,
Be help of the Trynyté.

CHAM I am Cham, youre secunde son,
And purpose me be Goddys myght
Nevyr suche a dede for to don
That shuld agreve God in syght.
UXOR CHAM I pray to God me grawnt this bone,
That he me kepe in such a plyght —
Mornynge, hevenynge, mydday, and none —
I to affendyn hym day nor nyght,
Lord God, I thee pray.
Bothe wakynge and eke in slepe
Gracyous God, thu me keppe
That I nevyr in daunger crepe
On dredfull Domysday.

JAPHET Japhet thi thryd sone is my name.
I pray to God wherso we be
That he us borwe fro synfull shame
And in vertuous levynge evyrmore kepe me.
UXOR JAPHET I am youre wyff and pray the same,
That God us save on sonde and se,
With no grevauns that we hym grame,
He grawnt us grace synne to fle.
Lord God, now here oure bone.
NOE Gracyous God, that best may,
With herty wyl to thee we pray
Thu save us sekyr bothe nyght and day
Synne that we noon done.

DEUS Ow, what menyht this myslevyng man
Whiche myn hand made and byldyd in blysse?
Synne so sore grevyht me, ya, in certayn:
I wol be vengyd of this grett mysse!
Myn aungel dere, thu shalt gan
To Noe, that my servaunt is.
A shypp to make on hond to tan
Thu byd hym swyth for hym and his
From drynchyng hem to save.
For as I am God of myght,
I shal dystroye this werd downryght!
Here synne so sore grevyht me in syght,
Thei shal no mercy have!

Fecisse hominem nunc penitet me.1
That I made man sore doth me rewe,
Myn handwerk to sle sore grevyth me,
But that here synne here, deth doth brewe
Go sey to Noe as I bydde thee:
Hymself, his wyf, his chylderyn trewe —
Tho eighte sowlys in shyp to be —
Thei shul not drede the flodys flowe,
The flod shal harme them nowht.
Of all fowlys and bestys, thei take a peyre
In shypp to save both foule and fayere.
From all dowtys and gret dyspere
This vengeauns or it be wrought.

ANGELUS [AD NOE] Noe, Noe! A shypp loke thu make
And many a chaumbyr thu shalt have therinne.
Of every kyndys best a cowpyl thu take.
Within the shyppbord, here lyvys to wynne,
For God is sore grevyd with man for his synne
That all this wyde werd shal be dreynt with flood,
Saff thu and thi wyff shal be kept from this gynne,
And also thi chylderyn with here vertuys good.

NOE How shuld I have wytt a shypp for to make?
I am of ryght grett age, fyff hundryd yere olde!
It is not for me this werk to undyrtake,
For feynnesse of age my leggys gyn folde.
ANGELUS This dede for to do be bothe blythe and bolde!
God shal enforme thee and rewle thee ful ryght.
Of byrd and of beste take — as I thee tolde —
A peyr into the shypp, and God shal thee qwyght.

NOE I am ful redy, as God doth me bydde,
A shypp for to make be myght of his grace.
Alas, that for synne it shal be so betydde
That vengeauns of flood shal werke this manase.
God is sore grevyd with oure grett tresspass
That with wylde watyr the werd shal be dreynt.
A shyppe for to make, now lete us hens pas
That God agens us of synne have no compleynt.
Enter Noah

[the] foundation; (see note); (t-note)
whose; everything
nothing at all; (t-note)
brought into

sirs; known; (see note)
altogether; (see note)

(see note)

plainly speaking
father; faith
men’s conduct; outrageous
by; also
unless sin lessens immediately

cannot go anywhere

Noah’s Wife; (see note)
to cease of their
behavior; destroy; (t-note)

erase; the book of life; (see note)

slip; (see note)


both it is our duty
Them; in every way

husband; (t-note)

to follow; try

Fear; heaven’s; (t-note)
misdeed; (t-note)

(see note)
any manner

worthy son; (t-note)
advise yourself well
bring forth

sir; by God’s

By the

I intend by
grieve God’s sight
evening; noon
not to offend


protect us; (t-note)

shore and sea

hear; boon

[That] you keep us secure
[So] that we commit no sin

means; sinful mankind; (see note)
grieves; certainly; (t-note)
Wickedness; (t-note)
go; (see note); (t-note)

to undertake
at once
drowning them

world outright
Their; grieves

(see note)

their sin; brings about; (t-note)

Those; (t-note)
flood’s; (t-note)
unclean and clean [creatures]

(see note); (t-note)
kind of beast; couple; (see note)
their lives to save
world; inundated
Save; instrument
their virtues

the skill
(see note); (t-note)

feebleness; begin; (t-note)

guide thee completely
pair; reward you

so happen
sorely grieved
world; flooded

  [Hic transit Noe cum familia sua pro naui. Quo exeunte locum interludii, sub intret statim Lameth, conductus ab adolescente, et dicit:2 (t-note)









LAMETH Gret mornyng I make, and gret cause I have.
Alas, now I se not, for age I am blynde.
Blyndenes doth make me of wytt for to rave!
Whantynge of eyesyght in peyn doth me bynde.
Whyl I had syht, ther myht nevyr man fynde
My pere of archerye in all this werd aboute.
For yitt schet I nevyr at hert, are, nere hynde,
But yf that he deyd, of this no man have doute.

Lameth, the good archere, my name was ovyr all
For the best archere, myn name dede ever sprede!
Record of, my boy, here wytnes this, he shal.
What merk that wer set me, to deth it shuld blede!
ADOLESCENS It is trewe mayster, that ye seyn, indede,
For that tyme ye had youre bowe bent in honde,
If that youre prycke had be half a myle in brede,
Ye wolde the pryk han hitte if ye ny had stonde.3

LAMETH I shuld nevyr affalyid what marke that ever were sett
Whyl that I myght loke and had my clere syght,
And yit as methynkyht, no man shuld shete bett
Than I shuld do now if myn hand were sett aryght.
Aspye som marke, boy! My bow shal I bende wyght
And sett myn hand evyn to shete at som best,
And I dar ley a wagour, his deth for to dyght.
The marke shal I hitt; my lyf do I hest.

ADOLESCENS Under yon grett busche, mayster, a best do I se!
Take me thin hand swyth and holde it ful stylle.
Now is thin hand evyn as evyr it may be.
Drawe up thin takyll, yon best for to kylle.
LAMETH My bowe shal I drawe ryght with herty wylle.
This brod arwe I shete that best for to sayll.4
Now have at that busch, yon best for to spylle,
A sharppe schote I shote therof — I shal not fayll.

CAYM Out, out, and alas! Myn hert is on-sondyr!
With a brod arwe I am ded and sclayn!
I dye here on grounde, myn hert is all to tundyr
With this brod arwe it is clovyn on twayn.
LAMETH Herke, boy, cum telle me the trewth in certeyn!
What man is he that this cry doth thus make?
ADOLESCENS Caym thu has kyllyd, I telle thee ful pleyn;
With thi sharp shetyng, his deth hath he take.

LAMETH Have I slayn Cayme? Alas, what have I done?
Thu stynkynge lurdeyn! What hast thu wrought?
Thu art the why I scle hym so sone!
Therfore, shal I kyll thee here: thu skapyst nowght.
mourning I am having; (see note)

Lacking eyesight
peer; world
shot; hart; hare, nor
Except that

everywhere; (see note)

Watch this
what you say
hand; (see note)
target; breadth; (t-note)

missed; target

shoot better

target; quickly
to shoot; beast
dare lay; to ready
target; I bet

beast; see

your weapon

go to; beast; kill

heart; split; (see note)
broad-tipped arrow
aflame; (see note)
cloven in two

sharp shooting

the reason I slayed

  [Hic Lameth cum arcu suo verberat adolescentem ad mortem, dicente adolescente:5



ADOLESCENS Out, out, I deye here! My deth is now sought!
This theffe with his bowe hath broke my brayn!
Ther may non helpe be, my dethe is me brought.
Ded here I synke down as man that is sclayn.

LAMETH Alas, what shal I do, wrecch wykkyd on woolde?
God wyl be vengyd ful sadly on me,
For deth of Caym, I shal have sefne folde
More peyn than he had, that Abell dede sle.
These to mennys deth full sore bought shal be!
Upon all my blood God wyll venge this dede
Wherefore sore wepyng, hens wyl I fle
And loke where I may best my hede sone heyde.
found here

on the earth

seven; (t-note)
did slay
two men’s deaths

head soon hide; (t-note)

  [Hic recedat Lamet et statim intrat Noe cum naui cantantes.6 (see note)










NOE With doolful hert syenge sad and sore,
Grett mornyng I make for this dredful flood.
Of man and of best is dreynte many a skore.
All this werd to spyll these flodys be ful wood.
And all is for synne of mannys wylde mood
That God hath ordeyned this dredfull vengeaunce.
In this flood spylt is many a mannys blood,
For synfull levynge of man, we have gret grevauns.

All this hundryd yere ryght here have I wrought
This schypp for to make as God dede byd me.
Of all maner bestys a copyll is in brought
Within my shyppborde on lyve for to be.
Ryght longe God hath soferyd, amendying to se,
All this hundyrd yere God hath shewyd grace.
Alas, fro gret syn man wyl not fle.
God doth this vengeauns for oure gret trespace.

UXOR NOE Alas, for gret ruthe of this gret vengeaunce,
Gret doyl it is to se this watyr so wyde,
But yit thankyd be God of this ordenaunce
That we be now savyd on lyve to abyde.
SHEM For grett synne of lechory all this doth betyde.
Alas, that evyr such synne shulde be wrought.
This flood is so gret on every asyde
That all this wyde werd to care is now brought.

UXOR SHEM Becawse the chylderyn of God that weryn good
Dede forfete ryght sore what tyme that thei were,
Synfully compellyd to Caymys blood.
Therfore, be we now cast in ryght grett care.
CHAM For synful levynge this werd doth forfare,
So grevous vengeauns myght nevyr man se.
Ovyr all this werd wyde, ther is no plot bare
With watyr and with flood — God vengyd wyll be.

UXOR CHAM Rustynes of synne is cawse of these wawys.
Alas, in this flood this werd shal be lorn
For offens to God: brekyng his lawys
On rokkys ryght sharp is many a man torn.
JAPHET So grevous flodys were nevyr yett beforn.
Alas, that lechory this vengeauns doth gynne.
It were well bettyr ever to be unborn
Than for to forfetyn evyrmore in that synne.

UXOR JAPHET Oure Lord God, I thanke of his gret grace
That he doth us save from this dredful payn.
Hym for to wurchipe in every stede and place
We beth gretly bownde with myght and with mayn.
NOE Fourty days and nyghtys hath lasted this rayn,
And fourty days this grett flood begynnyth to slake.
This crowe shal I sende out to seke sum playn.
Good tydyngys to brynge this massage I make.
heart sighing
beast; drowned
man’s wild conduct


did bid me

It is distressing
this provision
(see note)

world; to sorrow

(see note); (t-note)
Did forfeit; (see note)
driven to Cain’s

living; perish


Corruption; waves
world; lost



everywhere; (see note)
bound; strength
Lessen; (t-note)

  [Hic emittat coruum et parum expectans iterum dicat:7

This crowe on sum careyn is fall for to ete;
Therfore a newe masangere I wyll forth now sende.
Fly forth, thu fayr dove, ovyr these waterys wete,
And aspye afftere sum drye lond oure mornyng to amend.8
fallen; carrion; (see note)

  [Hic euolet columba qua redeunte cum ramo viridi olive.9 (t-note)

Joye now may we make of myrth that yet were frende!
A grett olyve bush this dowe doth us brynge,
For joye of this tokyn ryght hertyly we tende.
Oure Lord God to worchep, a songe lete us synge.
friends; (t-note)
(see note); (t-note)

  [Hic decantent hos versus: “Mare vidit et fugit. Jordanis conuersus est restrorsum. Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam.” Et sic recedant cum naui.10 (see note); (t-note)

Go To Play 5, Abraham and Isaac