FIRST HERALD Now Gracious God, ground of all goodness, As thy great glory never beginning had, Do thou succour and save all those that sit and cease, And listen to our talking with silence still and sad. For we purpose us openly still in this press 5 The people to please with plays full glad. Now listen to us graciously, both more and less, Gentles and yeomanry who goodly lives lead, At this tide. We shall you show as that we can 10 How that the world first began, And how God made both earth and man, If that you will abide. SECOND HERALD In the first pageant we think to play How God did make through his own might 15 Heaven so clear upon the first day, And therein he set angels full bright. Then angels with song, this is no nay, Shall worship God as it is right. But Lucifer, that angel so gay, 20 In such pomp then is he put And set in so great pride, That God's seat be begins to take, His Lord's peer himself to make. But then he falls a fiend full black 25 From heaven in hell to abide. THIRD HERALD In the second pageant, by God's might, We think to show and play the scene In the other six days, by open sight, What thing was wrought. There shall be seen 30 How beast was made, and fowl of flight, And last was man made, as I wene. Of man's one rib, as I you plight, Was woman wrought, man's mate to be, And put in paradise. 35 There were flowers both blue and black; Of all fruits they might there take, Save the fruit of knowledge they should forsake And touch it in no wise. The serpent took Eve an apple to bite 40 And Eve took Adam a morsel of the same. When they had done thus against the rule of right, Then was our Lord angry and grieved all with pain. Our Lord opposed then for their great delight, Both to accuse them of that sinful blame. 45 And then Almighty God for that great despite Assigned them grievous pain, as you shall see in game, Indeed. Seraphim, an angel gay, With burning sword, the truth I say, 50 From paradise beat them away, In the Bible as we read. FIRST HERALD We purpose to show in the third pageant The story of Cain and his brother Abel. Of their tidings now be we bent 55 In this pageant the truth to tell. How the tithing of Abel with fire was burned And acceptable to God, if ye will dwell, We purpose to show, as we have meant, And how he was killed of his brother so fell. 60 And then How Cain was cursed in all degree From God's own mouth there shall ye see. Of true tithing this may well be Example to every man. 65 SECOND HERALD The fourth pageant now is to you told. The fourth pageant of Noah shall be, How God was wrath to man manifold Because from sin man did not flee. He sent to Noah an angel bold, 70 A ship for to make and swim on the sea, Upon the water both wild and cold; And eight souls there saved should be, And one pair of every beast in bring. When forty days the flood had flowed 75 Then sent Noah out a crow, And after him he sent a dove That brought right good tidings. THIRD HERALD Of Abraham is the fifth pageant, And of Isaac, his son so free, 80 How that he should with fire be burned And slain with sword as you shall see. Abraham took with good intent His son Isaac and kneeled on knee -- His sword was then full ready bent -- 85 And though this child there offered should be Upon a hill full rife. Then God took notice of his good will And sent an angel right soon him till, And bade Abraham a sheep to kill, 90 And saved his child's life. FIRST HERALD The sixth pageant is of Moses, And of two tablets that God him took, In which were written, without lies, The laws of God to learn and look; 95 And how God charged him by words these The laws to learn all of that book. Moses then doth nevermore cease, But preaches duly both year and week The laws, as I you tell, 100 The Ten Commandments believe you me -- In our play ye shall them see To all those that there will be, If that you think to dwell. SECOND HERALD Of the gentle Jesse root 105 The seventh pageant, forsooth, shall be From him our salvation springeth out, As in prophecy we read and see. Kings and prophets with words full sweet Shall prophecy all of a queen, 110 The which shall staunch our struggle stout, And win us wealth without an end, In heaven to abide. They shall all prophecy of a maid, All fiends of her shall be afraid. 115 Her son shall save us, be not dismayed With his wounds wide. THIRD HERALD Of the great bishop, Abakar, The tenth pageant shall be, without lying, The which commands men to beware 120 And bring their daughters to due wedding; All that be fourteen years and more, To marriage he biddeth them bring. Wherever that be, he chargeth sore That they not fail for no letting 125 The law biddeth so then. Then Joachim and Anne so mild, They bring forth Mary, that blessed child. But she would not be defiled With spot or stain of man. 130 In chastity that blissful maid Avowed there her life to lead. Then is the bishop sore dismayed And wonders deeply at this deed. He kneels to God, as it is said, 135 And prays then for help at need. Then sayeth the angel, "Be not afraid; Of this doubt take thou no dread, But for the kindred of David thou send. Let them come with their offering, 140 And in their hands white rods bring. Look whose rod doth flower and spring, And he shall wed that gracious maiden." FIRST HERALD In the tenth pageant, truth to say, A messenger forth is sent. 145 David's kindred without delay, They come full soon with good intent. When Joseph offered his rod that day, Anon-right forth in present, The dead stick does flower full gay, 150 And then Joseph to wedlock went, Right as the angel bade. Then he plights to his wife In chastity to lead their life. The bishop gave her four maidens bright; 155 Some comfort there she had. SECOND HERALD In the eleventh pageant goeth Gabriel And doth salute our Lady free. Then great with child, as I you tell, That blessed maid, forsooth is she. 160 Those three maidens that with her dwell Hear great speech, but no one they see. Then they suppose that some angel, God's messenger that it should be. And thus 165 The Holy Ghost in her in light And God's son in her is put. The angel doth tell what name is right And names the child Jesus. THIRD HERALD In the twelfth pageant, as I you tell, 170 Joseph cometh home from a far country. Our Lady's womb with child doth swell, And then Joseph, full heavy is he. He doth forsake her with heart full ill, Out of the country he begins to flee; 175 He nevermore thinks with her to dwell, And then our Lady, right sore weepeth she. An angel promptly set him right: "God is with thy wife, certain, Therefore, Joseph, turn home again." 180 Then is Joseph in heart full fain, And goeth again unto his wife. FIRST HERALD The fourteenth pageant, for your solace Shall be of Joseph and mild Mary so: How they were slandered with abuse and malice, 185 And to their purgation they must go. SECOND HERALD In the fifteenth pageant show we shall How Joseph went without variance For midwives to help our Lady at all, Of child that she had deliverance. 190 THIRD HERALD In the sixteenth pageant Christ shall be born. Of that great joy angels shall sing And tell the shepherds in that morn The blessed birth of that king. The shepherds shall come forth before 195 With reverence and worshipping, For he shall save those that were forlorn And grant us life evermore lasting, Iwis. This glee in the earth 200 Is a matter of mirth. Now Christ's birth Bring us to his bliss. FIRST HERALD In the fifteenth pageant come kings three With gold, myrrh, and frankencense. 205 King Herod's steward them doth see And bringeth all to his presence. The kings of Coleyn with heart full free Told King Herod their diligence That they sought in that country 210 A king of kings; from far thence A star led them the way. "The child is young and lieth in a stall; He shall be king of kings all. Before him we think on knee to fall 215 And worship him this day. SECOND HERALD In the sixteenth pageant as wroth as the wind Is King Herod, the truth to say, And cruel knights and unkind To slay make children he sends that day. 220 But Christ Jesus they may not find, For Joseph has led that child away Unto Eygpt, as we have mind, As angel to Joseph did bid and say On high. 225 Those children that sit in their mother's lap To suck full sweetly their mother's pap The knights do slay even at a swap. This is a pitiful sight. THIRD HERALD In the seventeenth pageant the knights full keen 230 Shall bring dead children before the king King Herod with that sight is charmed Full glad he was of their killing. Then king Herod, without alarm Is set to meat of his liking. 235 In his most pride shall come great harm, As you shall see in our playing. His sorrow shall awake. When he is set at his most pride, Sudden Death shall thrill his side 240 And kill his knights that with him abide; The devil their souls shall take. FIRST HERALD In the eighteenth pageant we must purpose To show when Christ was twelve year of age, How in the temple he did oppose 245 And answered doctors right wise and sage. The blessed babe without gloss, Overcame old clerks with such language That they marvelled, ye shall suppose, How that hecame to such knowledge, 250 And in this while. Three days he was out From his mother, without doubt. Weeping she sought him round about Jerusalem many a mile. 255 SECOND HERALD In the nineteenth pageant shall St John Baptize Christ as I you say, In the water of the River Jordan. With which device as we best may, The Holy Ghost shall hover him on. 260 The Father's voice shall be heard that day Out of heaven, that blissful throne; The Father shall be heard, this is no nay. And forthwith plain The Holy Ghost shall be his guide 265 In desert, therein to abide Forty days, a term full wide, And forty nights to fast, certain. THIRD HERALD In the twentieth pageant all the devils of hell, They gather a parliament as ye shall see. 270 They have great doubt, the truth to tell, Of Christ Jesus, what he should be. They send Satan, that fiend so fell, Christ for to tempt in full degree. We shall you show, if you will dwell, 275 How Christ was tempted in sins three Of the devil Satan. And how Christ answered unto all, And made the fiend away to fall, As we best may this show we shall 280 Through the grace of God and man. FIRST HERALD The twenty-first pageant of a woman shall be, The which was taken in adultery. The Pharisees accused her as ye shall see, Christ to convict how they were sly. 285 They conceived this subtlety: If Christ this woman deemed damned, truly, Against his preaching then did he, Which was of pity and mercy; And if he did her save, 290 Then were he Moses' law against, That biddeth with stones she should be slain Thus they thought they could obtain Christ Jesus for to have. SECOND HERALD The greatest miracle that ever Jesus 295 On earth wrought before his Passion In the twenty-second pageant we purpose us To show indeed the declaration. That pageant shall be of Lazarus, In whose place and habitation 300 Christ was lodged -- the gospel sayeth thus -- And oft-time took consolation. But yet Lazarus, as I you say, Was four days dead and buried in clay. 305 From death to life the fourth day Christ raised him from that pit. THIRD HERALD In the twenty-third pageant Palm Sunday In play we purpose to show, How the children of the Hebrews with flowers full gay, 310 The way that Christ went they can to strew. FIRST HERALD In the twenty-fourth pageant, as that we may, Christ and his apostles all on rue The Maundy of God there shall they play, And soon declare it with words few. 315 And then Judas that false traitor, For thirty pieces of worldly tresure Shall betray our Saviour To the Jews, certain. 320 SECOND HERALD For grievous pain, this is no lies In the twenty-fifth pageant Christ shall pray To the Father of Heaven that pain for to cease, His shameful death to put away. Judas, that traitor, before a great press 325 Shall kiss his mouth and him betray. All his disciples then in distress Shall forsake Christ, the truth to say; For doubt they do them heed. These disciples all, every one, 330 Do run away and and leave him alone; And let him stand among his foes And run away for dread. THIRD HERALD Then is the twenty-seventh pageant To Caiaphas Christ shall be brought. 335 Those Jews full ready there shall be bent Christ to accuse with word and thought. St Peter doth follow with good intent To see with Christ what should be wrought. For Christ's disciple when he there went, 340 Thrice he doth swear he knew him nought. A cock shall crow and cry. Then doth Peter great sorrow make, For he his Lord thus did forsake. But God to grace him soon doth take 345 When he doth ask mercy. FIRST HERALD In the twenty-seventh pageant Sir Pilate Is set in his seat as a high justice. When he is set in his estate, Three thieves be brought of sinful guise. 350 And Christ, that loved never strife nor combat, But truth and goodness on every wise, As for a thief with right great hat Is brought to that same assise. And then, as I you say, 355 The wife of Pilate goes to rest Covered with clothes all of the best; Then for to sleep she is full pressed. And this we think to play. SECOND HERALD In the twenty-eighth pageant shall Judas, 360 That was to Christ a false traitor, With weeping sore ever cry, Alas! That ever he sold our Saviour. He shall be sorry for his trespass And bring again all his treasure, 365 All thirty pence, to Sir Caiphas -- He shall bring them bring with great dolour -- For the which Christ was bought. For great despair, as you shall see, He hang himself upon a tree, 370 For he trusted not God's pity. To hell his soul is brought. THIRD HERALD In the twenty-ninth pageant to Pilate's wife In sleep appeareth the devil of hell. For to save Christ's life 375 The devil her tempteth, as I you tell. She sends to Pilate quickly, anon, And prayeth that Christ he should not quell. Then Pilate is busy, and all at once Christ for to save he giveth counsel, 380 For he did never trespass. The Jews do cry fast for to kill, The righteous man they ask to spill; A thief they save with hearty will That called is Barabas. 385 FIRST HERALD In the thirtieth pageant they beat out Christ's blood And nail him to the rood tree; Between two thieves -- I think they were mad -- They hung Christ Jesus, great shame it is to see. Seven words Christ speaketh hanging upon the rood, 390 The which that ye shall here, allye that will there be; Then doth he die for our special good. His mother doth see that sight, great mourning maketh she; Forsorrow she begins to swoon. St John even there, as I you plight, 395 Doth cheer Our Lady with all his might, And to the temple anon forthright He leadeth her in that swoon. SECOND HERALD We purpose to show in our playing place In the thirty-first pageant through God's might 400 How to Christ's heart a spear was placed And rent our Lord's breast, a pitiful plight. For Longeus, that old knight, blind as he was, A right sharp spear to Christ's heart shall put. The blood of his wound his eyes shall trace, 405 And through a great miracle there hath he sight. Then in that morn Christ's soul goeth down to hell And there overcometh the fiend so fell, Conforteth the souls that therein dwell, 410 And saves those that were forlorn. THIRD HERALD Joseph and Nicodemus, two of Christ's true servants, In the thirty-second pageant the body they ask to have. Pilate full readily the body doth them grant, Then they with reverence do put it in the grave. 415 The Jews, more wicked than any giant For Christ's dead body guards do they crave; Pilate send four knights and those right hardy To keep the bloody body in his dead conclave. And yet, by his own might, 420 The body, that was heavy as lead, He the Jews had come to dread, Arises from the grave that there lay dead, And frightens then every knight. FIRST HERALD In the thirty-third pageant the soul of Christ Jesus 425 Shall bring all his friends from hell to paradise. The soul goeth then to the grave and, by right great virtue, That the body that long dead hath lain to life again doth rise. Then doth Christ Jesus unto his mother sue, And comforts all her care in the temple where she lies. 430 With such cheer and comfort his mother does he embue That joy it is to her their speech for to devise. And then Our Lady of Heaven so clear, In heart she hath right glad cheer. 435 And her son thus doth appear, Her care away is taken. SECOND HERALD In the thirty-fourth pageant shall the Marys three Seek Christ Jesus in his grave so cold. An angel them telleth that arisen is he. 440 And when that this tale to them is told, To Christ's disciples with words full free They tell these tidings with breasts full bold. Then Peter and John, as ye shall see, Down running in hasteover land and wood, 445 The truth of this to have. When they there come, as I you say, He is gone from under clay. Then they witness anon that day He lies not in his grave. 450 THIRD HERALD Unto Mary Magdalen, openly, Christ Jesus shall then appear In the thirty-fifth pageant, And she believed him to be the gardener. Mary by name, truly, 455 When Christ her calleth with speech full clear, She falls to the ground with good intent, To kiss his feet with gladsome cheer. But Christ bids her do way. He biddeth his feet that she not kiss 460 'Til he has risen to heavenly bliss. To Christ's disciples Mary, iwis, Then goes, the truth to say. FIRST HERALD In the thirty-sixth pageant shall Cleophas And St Luke to a castle go. 465 Of Christ's death as they forth pass They make great mourning and be full of woe. Then Christ them overtook, as his will was, And walked in fellowship forth with them two. To them he doth expound both more and less, 470 All that prophets spake and of himself also. That night, in faith, When they be set within the castle, In breaking of bread they know Christ well. Then suddenly, as I you tell, 475 Christ is gone his way. SECOND HERALD In the thirty-seventh pageant then purpose we, To Thomas of India Christ shall appear; And Thomas even there, as you shall see, Shall put his hand in his wounds dear. 480 THIRD HERALD In the thirty-eighth pageant up fly shall he Into heaven that is so clear. All the apostles there shall be And wonder sore and have great fear Of that wondrous sight. 485 There shall come angels two And comfort them, this is certain, And tell that he shall come again Even by his own might. FIRST HERALD Then followeth next, surely, 490 Of Whitsuntide, that solemn feast, Which pageant shall be nine and thirty. The apostles to appear at Christ's behest In Jerusalem were gathered twelve openly, To the upper room coming from west and east. 495 The Holy Ghost appeared full vividly With burning fire filling their breasts, Proceeding from heaven's throne. All manner language they spoke with tongues, Latin, Greek and Hebrew among, 500 And after they departed and tarried not long Their deaths to take full soon. SECOND HERALD The fortieth pageant shall be the last, And Doomsday that pageant shall be called Who sees that pageant might be aghast 505 To grieve his Lord God never at all., The earth shall quake, both break and burst, Burials and graves shall open fall; Dead men shall rise and that in haste And fast to their answer they shall them crawl 510 Before God's face. But print this well in your mind: Whoso to God hath been unkind, Friendship there shall he not find, Nor gets he any grace. 515 THIRD HERALD Now have we told you all we mean The whole matter that we think to play. When that you come there shall you see This game well played in good array. Of Holy Writ this game shall be 520 And of no fables, in no way. Now God them save from woe and pain For us that prayeth upon that day, And quite them well their meed. On Sunday next, if that we may, 525 At six of the bell we begin our play In N-town; wherefore we pray That God now be your speed. Amen
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