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Play 41, Assumption of Mary


1 May God the Father and his mother be present to aid my work

2 First to the place where Christ was christened, called [the] River Jordan

3 Lines 45–47: For they falsely represent our faith — I [will] prove them our foes. / Such shall be tied up until flies lay eggs in them, / And hung up by the gums until the devil makes them groan

4 And [I’d] rather [that] the devil slays them than we should have that happen

5 Here an angel descends, with citheras playing, and says to Maria

6 Now prepare to die, [it is] your son’s will, indeed

7 For he that sent Habbakuk with food to Babylon from Jewry

8 Since by the fruit of your body was overcome his (Lucifer’s) violence

9 To you I commend myself then, most excellent in sight

10 Of which the heavens and earth continually celebrate in song

11 And assiduously watch me by day and night

12 Here St. John the Evangelist suddenly appears before Maria’s door

13 Here he will knock on the door, entering Maria’s house and saying to her

14 Lines 203–04: He entrusted [to] you the keeping there of my terrestrial body, / One maid to another, as would be appropriate

15 Here suddenly all of the apostles will meet before the door, marveling

16 Lo, those preachers, they themselves fear death very much

17 Lines 382–85: In various countries, we preached of your Son and his bliss. / Various clouds each of us was suddenly covering; / We as one were brought before your doorway here, indeed

18 Watch me intently with your lamps and lights

19 Here the Lord descends with the whole heavenly court and says

20 Lines 318–19: Come, my chosen one, and I will set you upon my throne / Because the king has desired your beauty

21 Lines 320–21: My heart is ready, Lord, my heart is ready, / I will sing and recite a psalm to the Lord

22 Lines 322–23: This is she who knew no bed in sin; / She will have rest in the visitation of holy souls

23 Lines 324–25: All generations will call me blessed / Because he that is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name

24 Come, my bride of Lebanon; come that you may be crowned

25 Lines 327–29: Behold I come, as it is written in the scroll of the book regarding me, / So that I might do your will, my God, / For my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

26 Here Maria’s soul departs from her body into the lap of God

27 Lines 343–44: Who is this who comes up from the wilderness, / Flowing with delights, leaning on her beloved

28 Lines 345–47: She is beautiful among the daughters of Jerusalem as you have seen her, / Full of charity and love and thus, to be assumed into heaven in joy, / To be set on her throne in glory at the right hand of the Son

29 Lines 360–61: Sir, because you slept on Christ’s breast, seeing all heavenly [sights] — / You are God’s pure virgin without a doubt

30 Here they will carry the body to the sepulcher with their lights

31 Israel went out of Egypt and the house of Jacob from among a barbarous people. Alleluia

32 Judea became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. Alleluia

33 Here the angels sweetly sing in Heaven, "Alleluia."

34 Lines 399–400: Sir, I will get those blabbers or grievously harm them! / Those tainted traitors will suffer if my scowl falls upon them

35 Lines 401–02: To attack those scoundrels I am full glad. / I will entrap those snivelers with very sharp blows

36 Lines 403–04: [Go] hence then, in a devil’s name, and bring me that scoundrel! / And bring me that vile body, even before these towers

37 Here the rulers with their attendants descend like wild beasts dashing their heads against rocks

38 Here the madman leaps to Maria’s bier and hangs there by his hands

39 Here they put the body in the sepulcher, incensing it, and singing

40 Lines 453–54: From the earth you formed me, and out of flesh you clothed me. / My redeemer, O Lord, raise me up in the last day

41 Here, as one, they will bless the body in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost

42 Here the ruler will go to the Jews with the palm

43 Lines 466–67: By virtue of this holy palm that came from the Trinity / Your sickness will [be] assuage[d] and restore[d] [will] you [be] to health

44 Here he touches the believers with the palm, and they are healed

45 Here he will descend and come to the apostles, saying

46 Lord, as you rose from death and now reign in your empire

47 Lines 510–11: Arise now, my dove, my neighbor, and my dear one! / Tabernacle of joy, vessel of life, heavenly temple to reign

48 And here they will ascend into heaven with organs playing

49 To honor you, mother, it pleases the holy Trinity


Abbreviations: Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); G: Assumption of the Virgin, ed. Greg (1915); H: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Halliwell (1841); MED: Middle English Dictionary; S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

There is little doubt that the N-Town Assumption Play was brought into the manuscript after having lived an independent existence. This play is not mentioned in the Banns; the play quire was interpolated into the manuscript; the handwriting does not appear anywhere else in the manuscript; and the play is written on paper that is unique in the manuscript. The play, furthermore, exhibits different prosody, style, staging, and spelling (see S 2:527). Block (Bl, p. xvi), agreeing with Halliwell (H, p. 417), suggests that the hand­writing can be dated as the early sixteenth century, but Meredith, Kahrl, and Greg disagree, saying that this scribe’s hand is late fifteenth century, contemporary with the main scribe’s (N-Town Plays, ed. Meredith and Kahrl, p. xiii; G, p. 6). Even though the dialect in the Assumption is still East Anglian, the playwright likely did not write any other plays in the N-Town manuscript.

This play adds a fascinating dimension to the climax of N-Town, a remarkable comple­ment to Christ’s Ascension (39) and the Pentecost Play (40). As Kinservik points out, the play "is the logical end of historical time in the salvation story, and . . . N-Town could not achieve dramatic or theological closure without assuring the bodily integrity of the Blessed Virgin" ("Mary’s Body," p. 190). "Only after the sanctity of Mary’s body is en­sured through her death and assumption," Kinservik argues, "are the struggles between the Jews and the followers of Christ ended and the mechanism of Christian salvation finally established in N-Town. To understand this movement we need to examine Mary as the ves­sel of the New Law, the importance attached to the inviolability of her body, and the func­tions she serves as intercessor and relic" ("Mary’s Body," p. 192). There are several close sources for this play, the Greek Discourse of St. John the Divine concerning the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God, the Transitus Mariae, and Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend (trans. Ryan, 2:77–97). This play parallels three plays from York (Plays 44–46) known as the Death of the Virgin, the Assumption of the Virgin, and the Coronation of the Virgin. There are also records of other Assumption plays (now lost) from Chester, Ipswich (Suffolk), Lincoln, London, and Sutter­ton (Lincolnshire).

1–91 Long-lined thirteener stanzas.

4 book clepid Apocriphum. "A book called the Apocrypha." Greg glosses this as "a book said to be apocryphal" (G, p. 65n6). In any case, the reference is to Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend or any other apocryphal text mentioned above in the headnote.

11 assumpte above the ierearchye. Brown attributes these lines to John Lydgate. See Spector, S 2:528, and Brown, "Lydgate’s Verses," p. 230.

13 Legenda Sanctorum. "Legend of the Saints," probably referring to Jacobus de Vora­gine’s Golden Legend.

31 attayne. Greg emends this to attame, "to undertake," but "to discern" or "to find out" seems more likely (G, p. 66n34).

33 pilled prechouris. "Tonsured preachers," or possibly referring to the doctor who just delivered the prologue.

40, s.n. EPISCOPUS LEGIS. Bishop of the Law, literally, but here a Jewish high priest.

58 Proverbial. Compare Whiting C296 and Wisdom, line 444 (see Macro Plays, ed. Eccles, p. 208nW444).

63 relefe. Greg renders this as "relieve" or "rise again," but Block and MED gloss it as the more likely "remain" (G, p. 66n70; S 2:529; Bl, p. 395).

92–93 A rhyming couplet.

94 Wysdam. Apparently, Mary is praying to Christ. Compare with the Parliament of Heaven (11.133–34, 173–74). See also the East Anglian play Wisdom (Macro Plays, ed. Eccles).
94–106 A thirteener stanza.

107, s.n. SAPIENTIA. The Son, the second person of the Trinity, the Wisdom figure. In para­digms of the Trinity modeled on the mind, the Father equates with Memory, the Son with Intellect or Wisdom, and the Holy Spirit with Will, Desire, or Love.
107–16 An octave and a rhyming couplet.

116, s.d. "‘Heaven is music,’" John Stevens notes, "so at the crises in the drama when heaven actively intervenes, music too intervenes" ("Music in Mediaeval Drama," p. 83), which is certainly the case here as the hefnely consorcyté bursts into song with her cithera as she descends to Mary. Heavenly music is more prominent in this play than in any other in N-Town. This is a play about music triumphant, so much so that the final play on the Last Judgment seems almost anticlimactic. For an ex­tended discussion of uses of music in the Assumption Play, see Rastall, Minstrels Playing, pp. 134–35.

117–34 Two octaves with a rhyming couplet in between.

121 bryth berde. Literally, "bright noble." Berde is related to two words: "birth or lineage" and "bride, or young woman." MED notes that this expression is used mostly in verse, referring to a young person of noble birth, sometimes used for Christ or even the Virgin Mary.

135–50 A rhyming couplet followed by an octave, followed by a couplet and then a quat­rain.

147–50 See the story of Bel and the Dragon in Daniel 14:30–42 (Vulgate). Spector cites also the Golden Legend for these lines and 153–54 and 157–58 (S 2:529–30).

151–65 A couplet followed by a thirteener stanza.

153–56 A common medieval European fear was to have demons snatch a dying person, hence a rationale for last rites as well as wakes.

166–74 An octave followed by a single line.

173 replyeth. Block glosses this "to apply" (p. 395); Spector renders it "to reply" (S 2:530). The latter seems to make more sense here.

175–95 A thirteener stanza followed by an octave.

196–218 A single line followed by an octave, followed by another single line, followed by a thirteener stanza.

219–25 A single line followed by a quatrain, followed by a rhyming couplet.

226–51 Two octaves followed by a couplet and then another octave.

252–62 A couplet followed by an octave and then a single line.

263–80 An octave followed by a single line followed by another octave and single line.

267 hol. The spelling could either be correct, meaning "whole" or "united," or, it could be an error for holi, or "holy."

281–90 An octave followed by a rhyming couplet.

291–309 An octave followed by a rhyming couplet, followed by another octave and then a single line.

303–09 Peter’s speech here recalls both the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Mat­thew 25:1–13) as well as the disciples’ falling asleep in the Garden of Geth­se­mane (28.33–80).

310–17 Two quatrains.

313, s.d. Spector notes that this direction could refer to: 1) a fixed keyboard organ; 2) a portative reed organ; or 3) a consort of instruments (S 2:531–32). The latter two possibilities seem more likely than the first.

317 yowre dirige to rede. "‘rede’ does not necessarily exclude singing here" (Rastall, Min­strels Playing, p. 89).

318–19 The desire of the king of Heaven for her "beauty" perhaps alludes to Christ’s love of his spouse in Canticles 4–6.
318–25 These lines are in couplets.

326–29 A quatrain.

329, s.d. Mary dies here. See Rastall (Minstrels Playing, pp. 114–22) on liturgical responses invoked in this section of the play.

330–42 An octave followed by a single line followed by a quatrain.

333 Vallé of Josephat. Mentioned in Joel 3:1–2, which refers to the restoration of the nation of Israel after Armageddon: "I will gather together all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and have parted my land" (Joel 3:2). Evidently, the Assumption is viewed as one of the critical events which will unite the Church (hence the apostles being convened earlier in the play) and restore Israel to its true king­dom. See Siege of Jerusalem, p. 96n431.

343–47 These verses come from Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legend (trans. Ryan, 2:80). The lines are a couplet followed by a triplet.

348–63 Two octaves.

360 seyng all celestly. Spector notes that "seyng" is likely "seeing" rather than "saying." In other words, John was privileged to see heavenly sights (S 2:533). The apocry­phal Greek narrative of the Assumption of the Virgin (see headnote) was at­tributed to John the Apostle (to whom Revelation was attributed).

364–68 A single line followed by a quatrain.

369–448 Two single lines followed by six thirteener stanzas.

415 Spector glosses this line as "May the devil reward him (who) brought me here" (S 2:534). It is clearly ironic.

417 Wyndand wod. Both Greg (G, p. 72n533) and Spector (S 2:534) think this phrase should be rendered "raving mad." "Wyndand" could be related to "win­den," which means "to go" or "to wander" or even "to writhe" (MED).

427–28 Compare 29.192–212.

449–55 A quatrain followed by two Latin lines and a single English line.

453–54 This is an antiphon from the Sarum inhumation rites (see Dutka, Index of Songs, p. 24).

456–89 An octave followed by two thirteener stanzas.

480 Spector glosses this as "Make ready for (the time that) we return to this (place), demon" (S 2:534).

490–95 A quatrain and a rhyming couplet.

495, s.d. Although the stage direction makes no mention of music being performed, the line itself, "al hefne makyth melodé," makes clear that this transpiring is filled with angelic choral music.

496 Pes be to yow alle. That Dominus (Jesus) appears and speaks to Peter, John, and, presumably, Paul, as well as Michael, is a marvelous revelation, as all agree. When he places Mary’s soul back into her body and she speaks of her readiness to ascend (line 517), the conflict over the body is finally over. As Kinservik observes, "the mechanism of salvation is at last in place, and the historical time of the salvation story has come to a complete end" ("Mary’s Body," p. 203).
496–521 Two thirteener stanzas.

510–11 Arys now, my dowe, my nehebor, and my swete frende! / Tabernacle of joye, vessel of lyf, hefnely temple to reyn. Rastall notes that this is a translation of Surge propera mea as it appears in York Play 45: Surge propera mea, columba mea, tabernaculum glorie, vasculum vite, templum celeste. "It is possible, then, that a setting of the Latin text was sung after the soul’s return to Mary’s body at line 508 s.d." (Minstrels Playing, p. 90). Dutka suggests an antiphon from the Sarum inhumation rites (Index of Songs, p. 24).

522 Spector notes that this line is used in an antiphon and alleluia verse for the Feast of the Assumption (S 2:535). See also Dutka, Index of Songs, pp. 20–21.

523–28 A quatrain followed by a rhyming couplet.

528 For this holy assumpcyon, alle hefne makyth melody. "The last line of the play, and a clear indication of a musical tableau to end. The Latin incipit that follows, ‘Deo gracias,’ which is in a different hand, may identify the work to be sung but is more likely an expression of thanksgiving for the end of the play" (Rastall, Min­strels Playing, p. 90).


Abbreviations: Bl: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Block (1922); G: Assumption of the Virgin, ed. Greg (1915); H: Ludus Coventriae, ed. Halliwell (1841); S: N-Town Play, ed. Spector (1991); s.d.: stage direction; s.n.: stage name.

1–529 MS: entire play, fols. 213–222, are interpolated and are on paper unique to the MS. Fol. 213r is blank except for The Lord be thanked for his g at the top of the folio and scribbles at the bottom. Fol. 213v is blank except for ad mea facta at the top of the folio and other scribbles at the bottom. The play text begins on fol. 214r.

1 Ryht. MS: Lu is written to the left.

9–12 MS: large play number 41 in right margin.

16 duellyd. MS: e above the line.

20 victoryously. So S. Bl: vittoryously. MS: either victoryously or vittoryously.

27, s.n. MILES. MS: Mi, remainder cropped.

33 oure. MS: u written over r.

36 stille I. So Bl. S: stilly.

37 spille I. So S. Bl: spilly I.

38 knad. So MS, Bl. S: knag.

40 pryncis. So S. MS, Bl, G: prysis.
I, prest. So MS, Bl, S. H: i-prest.

67 that. So Bl. S: thou. MS: corrected from thou to that, or vice-versa.

68, s.n. PRINCEPS 3. MS: Prince, remainder cropped.

70 will bredyn. So Bl, S. MS: will written above the line.

75, s.n. EPISCOPUS. MS: Ep, remainder cropped.

76, s.n. PRINCEPS 1. MS: Prin, remainder cropped.

77, s.n. PRINCEPS 2. MS: secund, for secundus, remainder cropped.

78, s.n. PRINCEPS 3. MS: Terc, for tercius, remainder cropped.

79, s.n. EPISCOPUS. MS: Ep, remainder cropped.
Youre better. So MS, Bl. S: You better. The manuscript is clear, and my version takes Youre better advyse as the subject of a sentence that is completed in line 80. S’s You better advyse is a command.

82 abide. MS: abi, remainder cropped.

83 seustere. So S. Bl: senstere.

92, 125 MS: capitula before line to mark off couplets (?).

104 myche. MS: a letter is canceled before.

115 MS: no capitulum.

116, s.d. ludentibus citharis. So S. MS, H, Bl: ludent’ cithar’.

117, s.n. ANGELUS 1. MS: Primus A, remainder cropped.

118 is. S places this word at the end of the line.

120 is. S places this word as well at the end of the line.

131, s.n. MARIA. MS: Ma, remainder cropped.

133, s.n. ANGELUS 1. MS: Ang, remainder cropped.

136, s.n. MARIA. MS: Mari, remainder cropped.

137, s.n. ANGELUS 1. MS: Primus Angel, remainder cropped.

141, s.n. MARIA. MS: Mar, remainder cropped.

149–50 MS: lines are reversed, but corrected.

150 Be. So G, S. MS: Se.

151 MS: capitulum precedes couplet.

157 nedith. MS: nedith yow lady.

165 ageyn. MS: e written over a.

168 mercy. MS: a letter is canceled before.

174 MS: sign in red precedes line.

175, s.n. VIRGO 1. MS: Prima virg, remainder cropped.

179 dith is. So S. MS, Bl: is dith, but breaks the rhyme scheme. In the manuscript, is originally followed dith, was erased and placed above the line before dith.

181 ryth is. So S. MS, Bl: is ryth. See previous note, since the end of line 181 received the same treatment.

183 Wyth. MS: rest of the line after Wyth is cropped.

184, s.n. MARIA. MS: Ma, remainder cropped.

188–95 MS: scribe attempted to change the rhyme scheme in this stanza (S 2:530).

193 is. MS: erased but added above the line. S: comyn that mayde tyll is.

194 is. MS: erased but added above the line.

195 is. MS: erased but added above the line. S: what the skele is.

199–204 Compare 32.145–48.

205 sone. MS: letter canceled after n.

209, 211 aungyl. MS: y written over another letter.

214 MS: the line is written in the margin, probably by the main scribe of the man­u­script, not the Assumption scribe (Bl, p. 361n7). ye schuld . . . bsen written in left margin by Assumption scribe.

215 thu us. G: yn.

216 from. So S, Bl. MS, G: fron.
216–17 MS: lines are reversed, but corrected.

219 the. So Bl, S. MS, G: then.

227 liste. MS: added above wyll.

233, s.d. portam, mirantes. MS: portam mirates.
Petrus possibly written as s.n.

238 Peter. MS: powle peter.

239 congregacyon. So Bl, S. MS: congregacyn, with flourish after n.

242 by. MS: omitted.

244–250 MS: end rhymes erased in lines 244, 246, 248, and 250.

246 preyere. MS: pre preyere.

248, s.n. PETRUS. MS: Petr, remainder cropped.

254 met. MS: sent met.

258, s.n. PETRUS. MS: Petru, remainder cropped.

266 is. MS: written above the line.

267 hol. So MS, Bl, S. Either the entire Trinity or a scribal error for holy.

273 moder. MS: letter canceled before.

274 to her. MS: to let here.

285 We. So Bl, S. MS: W.

302, s.d. MS: not underlined.

305 let. G emends this to "bet," but this doesn’t seem necessary (p. 70n382).

311, s.d. celesti. So Bl, S. MS, G: celester.

314 MS: has capitulum.

318–370 MS: lines 318, 320, 322, 324, 326, 343, 345, 369, 370 preceded by versicle marks.

327, s.n. MARIA. So S. Bl, MS: omitted.

329 meo. So Bl, S. MS, G: mes.

329, s.d. sinum. So S. MS, G, Bl: sinu.

331 my. So Bl, S. MS, G: ny.
brithtest. MS: brist brithtest.

338, 339 MS: no capitula.

340 on. So Bl, S. MS: on or in.

345, s.n. ANGELORUM. So Bl, S. MS: Angelo, remainder cropped (?). G: Angels.

347, s.d. MS: Prima Virgo precedes s.d.

359 treuly. MS: tru treuly.

361 clene. MS: l written over h.

365, s.n. PAULUS. MS: not rubricated.

369, s.n. PETRUS. MS: Petru, word ending is cropped.

381 another. MS: another another.

384, s.n. PRINCEPS 3. MS: tercius prin, remainder cropped.

385 Mary. MS: is Mary.

388 nay. MS: word canceled afterwards.

390 aray. MS: word erased afterwards.

Before 392 MS: vii iv written in top margin of fol. 220v.

402 snarle. MS: snrl snarle.

404 brynge. So S. MS, Bl: brnge or bringe.

409 Al wod. So Bl, S. MS: alwod.

409, s.d. percucientes. Bl: percutientes. MS, B: percucient, with flourish.

422, s.d. ad. So S. MS, G, Bl: af.

425 handys. MS: hodys or hadys canceled before.

435 moder. MS: mder moder.

436, s.n. PRINCEPS 1. So Bl, S. MS: omitted.

444 indure. MS: letter canceled before.

453 MS: preceded by capitulum.
Before 453 MS: vv written in top margin of fol. 221v.

457 brether. So Bl, S. MS: either brether or brother.

458 Lord. MS: d Lord.

478 preson. So Bl, S. MS: preson, with line over n, signifying -un or -on.

484 develys. MS: dewelys.

494 here to. So MS, Bl. S: hereto.
the. So MS, Bl. S: in.

501 hytht is. So S. MS, Bl: hythtis.

509 ageyn. MS: e written over another letter.

Before 517 MS: v written in top margin of fol. 222v.

522 MS: preceded by capitulum.

527 MS: no capitulum.

After 528 Deo gracias. MS: written in a reviser’s hand. Remainder (110 mm.) of fol. 222v blank except for Deo gracias.
  [Ad mea facta Pater assit Deus et sua mater.1; (t-note)
























DOCTOR Ryht worchepful sovereynes, liketh yow to here
Of the Assumpcion of the gloryous Moder Mary
That Seynt Jhon the Evangelist wrot and tauht as I lere
In a book clepid Apocriphum, wythoutyn dyswary.
At fourten yer sche conseyved Cryste in hire matere clere,
And in the fiftene yer, sche childyd, this avowe dar I,
Here lyvyng with that swete sone thre and thretty yere.
And after his deth in erthe, twelve yer ded sche tary.
Now acounte me thise yeris wysely:
And I sey the age was of this maide Marye,
When sche assumpte above the ierearchye,
Thre score yer as Scripture dothe specyfye.
Legenda Sanctorum autorysyth this trewely.

She was inhabith in Juré by the Mounte of Syon
After the Assencion of hir sone, conseyved in spoused.
Alle the holy placys in erthe that Criste duellyd on,
Devouthly sche went hem, honouryng the Godhed.
Ferste, to the place there Criste cristenyd was clepid Flum Jordon: 2
There, he fastyd and takyn was by malicious falshed;
There, he beryed was and roos victoryously alon;
There, he assendid alle hevenys, God in his manhed.
Thus was sche ocupyed, I rede,
And meche she was in the temple preyand.
Now, blissid mot sche be, we owe to be seyand.
How sche was assumpte, here men schul be pleyand —
Preyng you of audience, now ses and tak hede!

MILES Pes now youre blaberyng in the develis name!
What lousy begchis mow ye not se!
Owre worthy prynsis, lo, are gaderid in same
That are statis of this lond, hye men of degré.
By there hye wisdam, they schal now attayne
How alle Juré beste governyd may be.
And of this pillid prechouris that oure lawis defame,
They schul ben slayn, as they say, or fayn for to fle!
Wherfore in pes be ye,
And herkenyth onto hem, moste stille I.
For what boy bragge outh, hym spille I
As knave wyth this craggyd knad, hym kylle I!
Now herkenyth oure pryncis, alle kneland on kne!

EPISCOPUS LEGIS Now, ye prynsis, I, prest of the lawe,
Of this demaunde responcyon, I aske here anon—
Ys there ony renogat among us, fer as ye knawe,
Or any that pervertyth the pepil wyth gay eloquens alon?
Yif there be, we muste onto hem set awe,
For they feyne falsly oure feyth — hem preve I houre fon.
Sweche schul ben bounden up be the beltys til flyes hem blawe,
And gnaggyd up by the gomys tyl the devyl doth hem grone. 3
We may not won
To sweche harlotis settyn reddure
That geynseyn oure lawe and oure scripture.
Now let sere pryncis in purpure
In savynge of oure lawys, now telle on!

PRINCEPS 1 Sere, syn we slew hym that clepid hym oure kyng
And seyde he was Goddis sone, lord over all,
Syn his deth, I herd of no maner rysyng,
And, lo, yif he hadde levyd, he had mad us his thrall.
EPISCOPUS Therfore, oure wysdam was to schortyn his endyng:
Whoso clyme over hie, he hath a foule fall.
PRINCEPS 2 Ya, yit of on thing I warne yow at the gynnyng —
His dame is levyng, Mary that men call.
Myche pepil halt hire wythall.
Wherfore in peyne of reprefe
Yif we suffre hyre thus to relefe,
Oure lawys sche schal make to myschefe
And meche schame don us, she schall!

EPISCOPUS A, sere, ye ben bolde inow! Art thou ferd of a wenche?
What trowyste that sche myht don us agayn?
PRINCEPS 3 Sere, there are other in the contré that clenche
And prechyn he is levyng that we slewe, they seyn!
And yif they ben sufferyd thus, this will bredyn a stench,
For thorow here fayre speche, oure lawys they steyn!
And therfore, devyse we now upon this pleyn bench
What is beste for to do, hem for to atteyn.
We are but loste yif they reyn.
EPISCOPUS Why, let se, than. Sey me youre ententis.
PRINCEPS 1 Let us preson hem til here myht schent is!
PRINCEPS 2 Bettyr is to slen hem wyth dentis!
PRINCEPS 3 Nay, best is to hang hem wyth peyn!

EPISCOPUS Nay, seris, nowth so. Youre better avyse
Have in syth before, what after may tide.
Yif we slewe hem, it wolde cause the comownys to ryse,
And rathere the devyl sle hym than we schulde that abide. 4
But be that seustere ded — Mary, that fise —
We shal brenne her body and the aschis hide,
And don her all the dispith we can here devise,
And than sle tho disciplis that walkyn so wyde,
And here bodyes devyde!
Halde ye not this beste as is sayde?
PRINCEPS 1 Wyth youre wysdam, sere, we are wel payed.
EPISCOPUS Than, ye knyhtis, I charge yow beth arayed!
And, ye turmentouris, redy that tyde!

When Mary is ded,
And but she deye the sunere, the devyl smyte of her hed!

[Hic est Maria in templo orans et dicens:

MARIA O hye Wysdam in youre dygne deyté!
Youre infynyth lovnesse mad oure salvacyon,
That it lyst you of me, sympilest, to take here humanité.
Wyth dew obeschyauns I make you gratulacyon.
And gloryous Lord and Sone, yif it like youre benygnyté,
Nouth to be displesid wyth my desideracyon —
Me longith to youre presense, now conjunct to the Unité
Wyth all myn herte and my sowle, be natures excitacyon,
To youre domynacyon.
For all creaturis in you don affye
And myche more owe I, youre moder be alye,
Syn ye wern born God and man of my bodye,
To desyre yowre presens, that were oure ferst formacyon.

SAPIENTIA My suete moderis preyere onto me doth assende.
Her holy herte and her love is only on me,
Wherfore, aungyl, to her thou schalt now dyssende,
Seyinge her sche shal comyn to myn eternyté.
Myn habundaunt mercy on her I extende,
Resseyvynge her to joye, from worldly perplexité,
And in tokyn therof this palme now pretende,
Seyinge her sche fere no maner of divercyté.

ANGELUS 1 By youre myth I dissende to youre moder in virginité.
ANGELUS 2 For qwyche message injoyeth the hefnely consorcyté.
(see note); (t-note)

called Apocrypha; doubt; (see note)
sinless state
I dare declare
thirty-three years

skillfully count for me; (t-note)

ascended; angels; (see note)
Saints’ legends affirm; (see note)

lived in Israel
places on earth; (t-note)
[to] them

victoriously alone; (t-note)
much; praying
taken to Heaven; playing
Asking; cease; take heed

Stop; blabbing; devil’s; (t-note)
bitches may
rulers; gathered together
lords; of rank
their; discern; (see note)
tonsured preachers; (see note); (t-note)
be slain; glad to flee
them, I must be quiet; (t-note)
cries out; I’ll kill; (t-note)
jagged club; (t-note)
listen to; kneeling

princes; priest; (see note); (t-note)
a response; now
any renegade; far
people; skillful
make them fear

rogues to deal harshly
sir princes; purple

since; who called himself
Since; no such uprising
lived; made; slaves
hasten his end
climbs too high; (see note)
one; beginning
mother; living
attend upon her
danger of reproof
allow her; remain; (see note)
bring to ruin
much; cause us

enough; afraid
think you; against us; (t-note)
insist; (t-note)
preach that
breed; (t-note)
through their; stain
in full council
to bring them to judgment
hold sway
then; Tell me; intent; (t-note)
imprison them; ruined; (t-note)
slay them with blows; (t-note)
them; pain; (t-note)

sirs, not; advice; (t-note)
Have in mind; may happen

once; sister is dead; old fart; (t-note)
burn; ashes
do [to] her; disgrace
then slay those disciples
their bodies cut up
Think; should be
Then; knights; prepared
tormentors; now

(see note); (t-note)
sooner; off

Here is Mary in the temple praying and saying

noble deity; (see note)
infinite humility made
it pleased
obedience; give thanks
it pleases
Not; desire
by; urging

have faith
by marriage; (t-note)
form given

sweet mother’s; (see note)
angel; descend
[to] her

might; descend; (t-note)
which; fellowship

  [Hic discendet angelus, ludentibus citharis, et dicet Marie:5; (see note); (t-note)















ANGELUS 1 Heyl, excellent prynces, Mary most pure!
Heyl, radyant sterre: the sunne is not so bryth!
Heyl, Moder of Mercy and mayde most mure!
The blessyng that God gaf Jacob upon you now is lyth!
MARIA Now wolcom, bryth berde, Goddis aungel, I seuer!
Ye ben messager of Allmyhty — wolcom wyth my myhtis.
I beseke you now, say me, upon youre hie nortur:
What is the very name that to youre persone dith is?

ANGELUS 1 What nedith you, lady, my name ben desyrand?
MARIA A, yis, gracyows aungyl, I beseke you requyrand.

ANGELUS 1 My name is gret and merveylous. Treuly you telland,
The hye God, youre sone abidyth you in blis.
The thrydde day hens, ye schul ben expirand
And assende to the presence, there my God, youre sone, is.
MARIA Mercy and gromercy, God, now may I be seyand,
Thankyng you, suete aungyl for this message, iwys!
ANGELUS 1 In tokenyng whereof, lady, I am here presentand —
A braunce of a palme owth of paradise com this.

Before youre bere, God biddith it be bore.
MARIA Now, thanke be to that Lord of his mercy evermore!

ANGELUS 1 Yowre meknesse, youre lounesse, and youre hie lore
Is most acceptable in the Trynité syth.
Youre sete ryall in hefne apparaled is thore.
Now dispose yow to deye, youre sone wyl, thus rith.6
MARIA I obbeye the commaundement of my God here before,
But on thyng I beseke, that Lord of his myth:
That my brether, the appostelis, myht me be before
To se me, and I hem or I passe to that lyth.

But they ben so deserverid, me thynkyth it nyl be.
ANGELUS 1 A, yis, lady, inpossible to God nothyng, trowe ye.

For he that sent Abbacuc with mete to Babylonye from Juré,7
Into the lake of lyonys to Danyel, the prophete
Be an her of his hed, lo, so myhty was he!
Be the same myht God make may the appostolis here mete!

And, therfore, abasche you not, lady, in yowre holy mende.
MARIA No more I do, glorious aungyl in kynde.

Also I beseke my son I se not the fende,
What tyme outh of this word, I schal passe hens,
His horible lok wold fere me so hende;
Ther is nothyng I dowte but his dredfull presens.

ANGELUS 1 What nedith it to fere you, empres so hende,
Syn be the fruth of youre body was convycte his vyolens? 8
That horible serpent dar not nyhyn youre kende.
And yowre blosme schal make hym recistens
That he schal not pretende.
Desyre ye outh ellys now rythis?
MARIA Nouth but blessyd be my God in his myhtys.
ANGELUS 1 To yow I recomaunde me than, moste excellent in sithis, 9
And wyth this, ageyn, to God I assende.

[Hic ascendit angelus.

MARIA Now, Lord, thy swete holy name, wyth lounesse I blysse
Of qwyche hefne and erthe eche tyme pshalmodyeth10
That it lykyth youre mercy, me to you to wysse
My sympil sowle in serteyn, youre name magnefyeth.
Now, holy maydenys, the servauntis of God, as I gysse:
I schal passe from this world as the aungyl sertefyeth.
Therfore to my sympil habitacyon, I telle you now this,
I purpose me to go, besekyng yow replyeth

And assedually wachith me be dayes and nythis.11

VIRGO 1 We schal, gracyous lady, wyth alle oure mythis.
Schal ye from us passe, swete sonne of socoure,
That are oure sengler solas, radyant in youre lythis,
Youre peynful absence schal make me doloure.
VIRGO 2 Moste excellent princes in all vertu that dith is:
Alle hefne and erthe, lady, you doth honure.
We schal wachyn and wake as oure dewe and ryth is
Into the tyme ye passe to that hye toure.
Wyth . . . .
MARIA God thanke you, and so do I.
Now I wyl dispose me to this jurné redy.
So wolde God, my brether were here me by
To bere my body that bare Jhesu, oure Savyoure.
princess; (see note); (t-note)
star; (t-note)
gave; alighted; (t-note)
bright bird; swear; (see note)
welcome; my strength
beseech; tell; courtesy
assigned to you

Why; are desiring; (t-note)
I entreat you as a suitor


third; be expiring

great mercy; saying; (t-note)
sweet; indeed
token; presenting; (t-note)
branch; out

bier; carried; (see note)

humility; learning; (t-note)
Trinity’s sight
royal seat; prepared there

one; beseech; might
brethren; might
them before; light

scattered; will not
yes; you think

(see note)
den of lions
By a hair; (t-note)
might; meet; (t-note)

distress; mind; (see note); (t-note)
by nature

beseech; see; fiend; (see note)
Until; world
look; frighten; greatly

frighten; gracious; (t-note)

approach your nature
child (Jesus); opposition
attempt it
anything else right now
to be blessed by


Here the angel ascends

humility; bless; (see note)

to guide; (t-note)
maidens; think
angel confirms

beseeching your reply; (see note)


might; (see note); (t-note)
sun of succor
singular; light
give me agony
princess; fixed; (t-note)
heaven; honor
watch; due; right; (t-note)
high tower (heaven)
journey prepare

  [Hic subito apparet Sanctus Iohannes Evangelista ante portam Marie.12


JOHANNES A, myrable God, mech is thy myth!
Many wonderis thou werkyst, even as thi wyll is!
In Pheso I was prechyng, a fer contré ryth,
And by a whyte clowde, I was rapt to these hyllys.
Here dwellyth Cristis moder, I se wel in syth.
Sum merveylous message is comyn that mayde tyll.
I wyl go saluse that berde that in vertu is moste brith,
And of my sodeyn comyng, wete what is the skele.
wonderful; much; might; (t-note)

Ephesus; far
brought; hills
Christ’s mother; sight
unto that maiden; (t-note)
salute; woman; bright; (t-note)
know; reason; (t-note)

  [Hic pulsabit super portam, intrante domum Marie sibi dicente:13








Heyl, Moder Mary, mayden perpetuall!

MARIA A, wolcome, mayde Johan, wyth all myn herte in specyall!
For joye of youre presence, myn herte gynnyth sweme.
Thynke ye not, Johan, how my child eternall
When he hynge on cros, sayd us this teme:
“Lo, here thy sone, woman.” So bad he me you call,
And you, me, “Mother,” eche othir to queme.
He betok you the governayl there of my body terestyall,
On mayde to another, as convenyens wold seme.14

And now, that gracyows Lord hath sent me yow, sone.

JOHANNES Now, good fayr lady, what is ther to done?
Tellyth the cause why I am heder sent.
MARIA Swete sone Johan, so wyll I anone.
Oure Lord God sent to me an aungyl that glent
And sayde I schulde pass hens where thre were in one.
Tho, I askyd the aungyl to have you present.
JOHANNES A, holy moder, schul ye from us gone?
My brether, of this tydyngis sore, wyl repent
That ye shuld ben absent!
Ever trybulacyon, Lord, meche thu us sendyst:
Thou, oure mayster and oure comfort, from us ascendist
And now oure joye, thy moder, to take thou pretendist.
Thanne, all oure comfort is from us detent!

But what seyde the aungyl, moder, onto you more?

MARIA He brouth me this palme from my sone thore,
Qwyche I beseke as the ayngyl me bad
That aforn my bere, by you it be bore,
Saynge my dirige, devouthly and sad,

For, Johan, I have herde the Jewys meche of me spelle.
JOHANNES A, good lady, what likyth it you to telle?

MARIA Secretly, they ordeyne in here conseytis felle
When my sowle is paste, where Godis liste is,
To brenne my body and schamly it quelle!
For Jhesu was of me born that they slew with here fistis,
And therfore, I beseke you, Johan, both flech and felle,
Helpe I be beryed, for yn yow my tryst is.
JOHANNES Fere yow not, lady, for I schal wyth you duelle.
Wolde God, my brether were here now and wyst this.
mother; (see note)

chaste John
begins to swoon
hung; these words
he told me to call you
you [to call] me; gratify

quickly; (t-note)

to do
son; soon
gleamed; (t-note)
Then; (t-note)

brethren; sad news; sorry
much; (t-note)
ascended; (t-note)

the angel, mother; (see note); (t-note)

brought; there
asked for; bade me
before my bier; carried

talk much

plan in their wicked minds; (see note)
past; God’s joy; (t-note)
burn; shamefully destroy
their hands
me [to] be buried; trust
brethren; knew

  [Hic subito omnes apostoli congregentur ante portam, mirantes.15; (t-note)

















PETRUS A, holy brether! Wyth grace be ye met here now!
Lord God, what menyth this sodeyne congregacyon?
Now, swete brother Powle, wyl ye take this upon yow?
Preye to God for us all, we may have relacyon.
PAULUS Good brother Peter, how schuld I here pray now
That am lest and most unworthy of this congregacyon?
I am not worthy to ben clepyd apostle, sothly I say yow,
For as a woodman ageyn Holy Cherche I mad persecucyon.

But, nevertheless, I am by the grace of God in that that I am lo.
PETRUS A, gret is youre lowness, Powle, brother evermo.

PAULUS The keyes of hevene, Peter, God hath you betake.
And also ye ben peler of lith and prynce of us all!
It is most sitting to you this preyere to make,
And I, unworthy, wyth yow preyen here schall.
PETRUS I take this upon me, Poule, for youre sake.
Now, Almythty God that sittiste above cherubyn halle,
In sygne of thyn Holy Cros, oure handis we make,
Besekyng thy mercy may upon us falle,

And why we ben thus met, yif it lyke us lare.
JOHANNES A, holy brether, alle welcom ye are!

Why ye be met here I schal you declare:
For Mary, Goddys moder, by message is sent
That from this wrechid world to blysse sche schal fare,
And at her deying, sche desyryth to have us present.
PETRUS A, brother Johan, we may syhyn and care —
Yif it displese not God — for these tydyngis ment.
PAULUS Forsothe, so we may, Peter, hevyin evermare
That oure moder and oure comfort schuld be us absent,

But nevertheles, the wyl of God fulfyllid mot be.

JOHANNES That is wel seyd, Poule, but herof bewar ye.
That non of you for her deth schewe hevy speche,
For anon to the Jewys, it schuld than notyd be
That we were ferd of deth, and that is ageyn that we teche.
For we seyn all tho belevyn in the hol Trynyté,
They schul ever leve and nouth deye — this truly we preche.
And yif we make hevynesse for her, than wyl it seyd be:
“Lo, yone prechouris, to deye, they fere hem ful meche!”16

And, therfore, in God, now beth glad everychon!

PETRUS We schal don as ye sey us, holy brother Johan.
Now we beseke you, let us se oure moder Marie.
JOHANNES Now, in Goddys name, to her, than, all let us gon.
Sche wyl ben ful glad to se this holy companye.
PETRUS Heyl, moder and maydyn! So was never non,
But only ye, most blissid, treulye!
PAULUS Heyl, incomparabil quen, Goddis holy tron!
Of you spreng salvacyon and all oure glorye!

Heyl, mene for mankynde and mendere of mys!

MARIA A, wyth all myn hol herte, brether, ye are wolcom, iwys!
I beseke you now to telle me of youre sodeyne metyng.
PETRUS In dyveris contreys we prechid of youre sone and his blis.
Diveris clowdys eche of us was sodeynely curyng;
We in on were brouth before youre gate here, iwys!17
The cause why, no man cowde telle of oure comyng.
MARIA Now I thanke God of his mercy! An hy merakle is this!
Now I wyl telle yow the cause of my sonys werkyng:

I desyrid his bodily presence to se.
JOHANNES No wonder, lady, thow so dede ye.

MARIA Tho my sone Jhesu, of his hye peté,
Sent to me an aungyl, and thus he sayd
That the thredde nyth I schuld assende to my sone in Deité.
Thanne to have youre presence, brether, hertly I prayed,
And thus, at my request, God hath you sent me.
PETRUS Wys, gracyous lady — we are ryth wel payed.
MARIA Blissid brethere, I beseke you, than, tent me.
Now wyl I rest me in this bed that for me is rayed.

Wachith me besily wyth youre laumpys and lithtis.18
PAULUS We schal, lady. Redy all thyng for you dith is.

MARIA Now, sone schul ye se what Godis myth is.
My flech gynnyth feble be nature.

[Hic erit decenter ornatus in lecto.

PETRUS Brether, eche of you a candele takyth now rithis,
And lith hem in haste whil oure moder doth dure.
And bisyli let us wachyn in this vergyne sythis
That when oure Lord comyth in his spoused pure,
He may fynde us wakyng and redy wyth oure lithtis,
For we knowe not the hour of his comyng now sure.

And yn clennesse alle, loke ye be redy.

MARIA A, swete Sone, Jhesu, now mercy I cry!
Over alle synful, thy mercy let sprede!

sudden gathering

an explanation
the least; (t-note)
madman; made

lowly; (t-note)

entrusted to you; (t-note)
pillar of light; ruler
fitting; (t-note)



are; please us [to] learn; (see note)

God’s mother
sigh and mourn; (t-note)
intended news
grieve evermore

must be

(see note)
afraid; against what; (t-note)
[to] all those [who]; whole; (see note); (t-note)
live; not die


tell us
then; (t-note)

blessed, truly
queen, God’s; throne

mediator; mender of sin

indeed; (see note)
sudden meeting

great miracle
son’s work

that you did so

Then; pity; (see note)
third night

Wise; pleased
then, attend to me


soon shall; God’s might
grows weak by

Here she shall be appropriately adorned in a bed; (t-note)

Brethren; right now; (see note)
light them; still lives
intently; virgin’s sight; (t-note)
spiritual wedlock


(see note)
sinful [people]

  [Hic dissendet Dominus cum omni celesti curia et dicet:19; (t-note)




















DOMINUS The voys of my moder me nyhith ful ny.
I am dyssend onto her of whom I dede sede.

[Hic cantabunt organa.

MARIA A, wolcom, gracyous Lord! Jhesu, Sone, and God of Mercy!
An aungyl wold a suffysed me, hye Kyng at this nede.
DOMINUS In propure person, moder, I wyl ben here redy
Wyth the hefnely quer, yowre dirige to rede:

Veni tu electa mea et ponam in te thronum meum
Quia concupivit rex speciem tuam.20

MARIA Paratum cor meum Deus, paratum cor meum,
Canabo et psalmum dicam Domino.21

APOSTOLI Hec est que nesciuit thorum in delictis,
Habebit requiem in respectu animarum sanctarum. 22

MARIA Beatam me dicent omnes generaciones,
Quia fecit michi magna qui potens est, et sanctum nomen eius.23

DOMINUS Veni de Libano, sponsa mea; veni coronaberis.24
MARIA Ecce venio quia in capite libri scriptum est de me,
Ut facerem voluntatem tuam Deus meus,
Quia exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo

[Hic exiet anima Marie de corpore in sinum Dei.26

DOMINUS Now com, my swete soule in clennesse most pure
And reste in my bosom brithtest of ble.
Alle ye myn apostelis, of this body takyth cure.
In the Vallé of Josephat, there fynde schul ye
A grave new mad for Maryes sepulture.
There, beryeth the body wyth all youre solempnité
And bydyth me there stylle thre dayes seuere,
And I schal pere ageyn to yow to comfort your advercyté.

Wyth this swete soule, now from you I assende.

PETRUS In oure tribulacyouns, Lord, thou us defende.
We have no comfort on erthe but of thee alon.
O, swete soule of Mary, prey thy sone us defende.
Have mynde of thy pore brether when thou comyst to thi tron.

CHORUS MARTYRUM Que est ista que assendit de deserto,
Deliciis affluens, innixa super dilectum suum?27

ORDO ANGELORUM Ista est speciosa inter filias Jerusalem sicut vidistis eam,
Plenam caritate et dilectione; sicque in celum gaudens suscipitur,
Et a dextris Filii in trono glorie collocatur

[Hic cantabit omnis celestis curia.

PRIMA VIRGO Now, suster, I beseke you, let us do oure attendaunce
And wasche this gloryous body that here in oure sith is,
As is the use among us wythoutyn ony varyaunce.
Now, blessid be this persone that bar God of Mythis.
VIRGO 2 I am redy, suster, wyth all myn hol affyaunce,
To wesche and worschepe this body so brith is.
All creaturys therto owyn dew obeschaunce,
For this body resseyved the Holy Gostis flithtis.

[Et osculabunt corpus Marie.

JOHANNES Now, holy brother, Peter, I hertely you pray
To bere this holy palme before this gloryous body,
For ye ben prince of apostelis and hed of oure fay.
Therfore it semyth you best to do this offis, treuly.
PETRUS Sere, and ye slept on Cristis brest, seyng all celestly —
Ye are Goddis clene mayde, wythoutyn ony nay.29
This observaunce is most like you to do dewly.
Wherfore tak it upon you, brother, we pray,

And I schal helpe for to bere the bere.

PAULUS And I, Peter, wyth oure brether in fere,
This blessid body schal helpe to the ground.
This holy cors now take we up here,
Seyng oure observaunce wyth devouth sound.

[Hic portabunt corpus versus sepulturam cum eorum luminibus.30

PETRUS Exiit Israel de Egipto, domus Iacob de populo barbaro. Alleluia.31

APOSTOLI Facta est Iudea sactificacio eius, Israel potestas eius. Alleluia.32

[Hic angeli dulciter cantabunt in celo, “Alleluia.”33

EPISCOPUS Herke, sere princys! What noyse is all this?
The erthe and the eyer is ful of melodye!
I herde never er swyche a nowse now, iwys!
Con ye outh say what they signefye?
PRINCEPS 1 I, not be my God that of myht mech is,
Whatsumever they be — hougely they crye!
I am aferd there wyll be sumthyng amys.
It is good, prevely among us, we spye
PRINCEPS 2 Now I have levyd this thre skore yer,
But sweche another noyse herd I never er!
Myn herte gynnyth ogyl and quake for fer!
There is sum newe sorwe sprongyn, I dowte.

PRINCEPS 3 Ya, that there is sothly, I say yow.
The prophetis moder, Mary, is ded.
The disciplis her beryn in gret aray now,
And makyn alle this merthe in spyth of oure hed.
EPISCOPUS Fy on yon lousy doggys! They were better nay!
Outh! Harrow! The devyl is in myn hed!
Ye dodemusyd prynces, faste yow aray,
Or I make avow to Mahound — youre bodyes schul blede!
Now, that quene is ded.
Ye coward knytys in plate
And ye tormentours, thryfe schul ye late!
Faste, harlotys! Go youre gate,
And brynge me that bychyd body, I red!

PRINCEPS 1 Dowte you not, sere bischop, in peyne of repref,
We schal don schame to that body and to tho prechours.
PRINCEPS 2 Sere, I schal geyne tho glabereris or gramly hem gref!
Tho teynt tretouris schul tene yif my loke on hem louris.34
PRINCEPS 3 To hurle wyth tho harlotys, me is ful lef.
I schal snarle tho sneveleris wyth rith scharp schowris.35
EPISCOPUS Hens than, a devylis name, and take me that thef!
And brynge me that bygyd body, evyn tofore these touris!36
And here disciplis, ye slo!
Hye you hens, harlotys, atonys!
The devyl boyes mot breke youre bonys!
Go, stent me yone body wyth youre stonys!
Outh! Harrow! Al wod now I go!
draws closer
descend; was born

Here the organs will play; (see note)

would have; need
In my own person
choir; dirge; direct; (see note)

(see note); (t-note)

(see note)


(see note); (t-note)

(see note)
appearance; (t-note)
(see note)
newly made; Mary’s sepulcher
await me there; assured
appear again



(see note)


Here all of the heavenly court sings; (t-note)

sister; beseech; (see note)
wash; sight
custom; any
sister; faith
wash; bright
owe due obeisance
received; Holy Ghost’s flights

And they kiss Mary’s body

heartily ask

chief; faith
truly; (t-note)
(see note)

bear the bier; (see note)

with us; (t-note)


(see note); (t-note)

earth; air
before such; indeed
Can you tell
much might
Whatever; loudly
Out there
threescore years
before; (t-note)
begins to shutter; fear
sorrow growing, I fear

truthfully; to you; (t-note)
prophet’s mother; (t-note)
bear in great ceremony
to spite our dignity
dogs; to stop; (t-note)

stupid; do something; (t-note)
swear; Mohammed; shall
whore; (t-note)
knights; armor
your time is up
Quicky, scoundrels; Go your way
vile; I tell you

sir; disgrace


their; slay
Go; scoundrels, at once
devil’s boys may; bones
stop; stones
Out; crazed; (t-note)

  [Hic discendunt principes cum suis ministris ut feroci percucientes petras cum eorum capitibus.37; (t-note)









PRINCEPS 2 What, devyl! Where is this mené?
I here here noyse, but I se ryth nouth!
Allas! I have clene lost my posté!
I am ful wo! Mad is my thowth!
PRINCEPS 3 I am so ferd, I wold feyn fle!
The devil hym spede, hedyr me brouth!
I renne! I rappe — so wo is me
Wyndand wod — wo hath me wrouth!
To deye I ne routh.
PRINCEPS 1 A, cowardis! Upon you, now fy!
Are ye ferd of a ded body?
I schal sterte therto manly!
Alle that company, fere I ryth nouth!

[Hic saltat insanus ad feretrum Marie et pendet per manus.38; (t-note)

Allas, my body is ful of peyne!
I am fastened sore to this bere!
Myn handys are ser, bothe tweyne
O, Peter, now prey thy God for me here!
In Cayfas halle, when thou were seyne,
And of thee, Peter, a mayde acusid there —
I halpe thee tho! Now helpe me ageyne!
That I were hol, outh of this fere!
Sum medycyn me lere!
PETRUS I may not tend to thee, sere, at this hour,
For ocupacyon of this body of honour,
But nevertheles, beleve in Jhesu Criste, oure Saveyour,
And that this was his moder that we bere on bere.

PRINCEPS 1 I beleve in Jhesu, mannys salvacyon!

PETRUS In Goddis name, go doun than, and this body honure.
PRINCEPS 1 Now, mercy God, and gromercy of this savacyon!
In Jhesu and his moder to beleve, ever I seuere.
PETRUS Than take yone holy palme and go to thi nacyon
And bid hem beleve in God yif they wyl be pure,
And towche hem ther wyth both hed, hand, and facyon.
And of her sekenesse, they schal have cure,
And ellis in here peynys indure.
PRINCEPS 1 Gromercy, holy fader Peter!
I schal do as ye me teche her,
Thankyng God ever in my speche her
Wyth hye repentaunce and herte most mure.

[Hic portabunt feretrum ad locum sepulture.

PETRUS Now, holy brether, this body let us take,
And wyth alle the worschepe we may ley it in the grave,
Kyssyng it alle atonys for her sonys sake.
Now, insence ye, and we schal put her in this cave.

[Hic ponent corpus in sepulcrum, insensantes, et cantantes.39

JOHANNES De terra plasmasti me et carne induisti me;
Redemptor meus, Domine, resuscita me in novissimo die.40

Now, God, blysse this body, and we oure synge make.
hear their; see nothing
full of woe; thought
afraid; gladly flee
take him who brought me here; (see note)
run; rush about
Raving madness; caught me up; (see note)
I don’t care if I die

go there, boldly
I fear not at all

withered, both of them; (t-note)

Caiphas’; seen; (see note)
then; in return
whole; fearful condition
Teach me some
honorable body

bear on this bier; (t-note)

man’s; (t-note)

great mercy
Then; people
them; face
whatever else their; (t-note)
Many thanks; father
teach me here

Here they carry the bier to the sepulcher

brethren; (see note)

at once; son’s
burn incense

(see note); (t-note)

sign [of the cross] make

  [Hic, unanimiter, benedicent corpus in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.41















The fruth that it bar, oure soules schal save.
Now reste we us, brether, upon this pleyn lake
Tyl from oure God and oure Lord tydyngis we have,
Here must we belave.
PAULUS So muste we, Johan, as ye say,
Thanne byde we here and pray,
Besekyng hym of comfort that best may,
Restyng here abowtyn this grave.

[Hic vadit Princeps ad Judeos cum palma.42

PRINCEPS 1 Ye Jewys that langour in this gret infyrmyté,
Belevyth in Crist Jhesu, and ye schal have helthe!
Throw vertu of this holy palme that com fro the Trinyté
Yowur sekenesse schal aswage and restore yow to welthe.43
PRINCEPS 2 I beleve in Crist Jhesu, Goddis Sone in unyté,
And forsake my maumentryes, fals in here felthe.

[Hic tangat credentes cum palma et sanati sunt.44

A, I thanke thee, gracyous Lord, and thy moder of peté!

PRINCEPS 3 What, harlotys? Forsake oure lawe?
PRINCEPS 2 So hald I best thee do!
PRINCEPS 3 Hens fro me in the develis name ye go!
I deye! Outh! Outh! Harro!
The wylde develys mot me to drawe!

DEMON 1 Herke, Belsabub and Belyal, Sere Sathan in the herne:
Us fettyn oure servauntis to this preson!
Blow flamys of fer to make hem to brenne!
Mak redy ageyn! We com to this, demon!
DEMON 2 Faste for tho harlotis, now let us renne
To caste hem in this pet here that depe is adon!
They schul brenne and boyle and chille in oure denne!
Go we now, a develys name as faste as we mon!
Harrow! Harrow! We com to town!
DEMON 1 Drag we these harlotis in hye
Into the pet of helle for to lye!
DEMON 2 Gowe now, helle houndis, ye crye!
Sere Sathan may heryn oure son.

DOMINUS Now, aungyl and alle this court celestyall,
Into herthe now discendityh wyth me
To reyse the body of my moder terestyall
And bryng we it to the blysse of my deyté.

Assent ye here to, now, the Unyté?
ANGELI Ya, for yowre hye mercy, Lord, al hefne makyth melodé!

[Hic discendit et venit ad apostolos, dicens:45; (see note)

DOMINUS Pes be to yow alle, my postelis so dere!
Lo, me here, yowre Lord, and youre God, now rythtis.
PETRUS A, wolcom, Criste, oure comfort, in thy manhed clere!
Gret, merveylous God, mekyl now thy myth is!
DOMINUS What worschepe and grace semyth you now here
That I do to this body, Mary, that hytht is?
JOHANNES Lord, as thou rese from deth and regnyst in thyn empere,46
So reyse thou this body to thy blysse that lyth is:
Us semyth this ryth is.
MYCHAEL Ya, gloryous God, lo, the sowle here prest now
To this blissid body, likyth it you to fest now?
Hefne and erthe wold thynke this the best now,
Inasmyche as sche bare you, God, in youre mythitis.

[Hic vadit anima in corpus Marie.

DOMINUS Go, thanne, blyssid soule to that body ageyn!
Arys now, my dowe, my nehebor, and my swete frende!
Tabernacle of joye, vessel of lyf, hefnely temple to reyn:47
Ye schal have the blysse wyth me, moder, that hath non ende,
For as ye were clene, in erthe, of alle synnys greyn;
So schul ye reyne in hefne, clennest in mend.
MARIA A, endles worchepe be to you, Jhesu, relesere of peyn!
I and alle erthe may blisse ye, com of owre kend.
Lo, me redy wyth you for to wend.
DOMINUS Aboven hefnys, moder, assende than, we,
In endles blysse for to be.
MICHAEL Hefne and erthe now injoye may ye,
For God, throw Mary, is mad mannys frend.

[Et hic assendent in celum cantantibus organis.48

Assumpta es, Maria, in celum.

DOMINUS Yow to worchepe, moder, it likyth the hol Trinyté 49
Wherfore I crowne you here in this kyndam of glory.
Of alle my chosyn, thus schul ye clepyd be
Qwen of Hefne and Moder of Mercy.

MICHAEL Now blysid be youre namys, we cry!
For this holy assumpcyon, alle hefne makyth melody!
Deo gracias.
bore; (see note)
open grave; (t-note)


idols; their filth

mother of pity

are tearing me apart

Harken; pit
Let us fetch; (t-note)
them burn
(see note)
those scoundrels; run
pit; down deep
burn; boil; freeze
devil’s; may; (t-note)

scoundrels; quickly
Sir; hear; sound

angel; (see note)
earth; descend
raise; terrestrial mother


Peace; apostles; (see note)
right now
manhood pure
Great; great; might
does it seem to you
that is called; (t-note)

raise; joyful
This seems right to us
to join (soul and body)
Heaven; earth
bore; powers

Here the spirit will go into Mary’s body

blessed; (t-note)
(see note)

earth; all sins’ stain
reign; mind
releaser of pain
bless; come; our kind
I am ready; to go; (t-note)
the heavens; ascend then

Heaven; earth
through; made man’s friend

Mary, you are taken up into heaven; (see note); (t-note)

(see note)
shall you be called

blessed; names; (t-note)
(see note)
Thanks be to God; (t-note)


Go To Play 42, Judgment Day