STEWARD Lord I have walked by dale and hill And waited, as it was your will. The three kings have stolen away full still Through Bethlehem land. They will never, so please thee, 5 Come into the land of Galilee To see your fair city Nor the deeds of your hand. HEROD I ride royally, rich in my reign. Ribs full red with strokes shall I rend. 10 Poppets and sucklings I shall put in pain With my spear polished to pinch and to bend. The goons with the gold crowns come not again! To seek those sots soldiers shall I send. I shall make hussies hoot, harlots loose women 15 When their bairns bleed under the cradle band. Sharply I shall them shend -- The knave children that be In all Israel country They shall bloody be 20 For one I call unkind. It is told by a few His name should be Jesu. I have found To have him gone 25 I must hew flesh to the bone And give him a wound. Now keen knights, good at your craft That kill knave children and cast them in clay, Throw on your shoulders shields and shafts 30 Shaped among soldiers shrilling all day Make horses run with rippling neighs Till their ribs be all rent with red spray. Let no bairn remain unbeaten behind Till the beggars bleed in the beasts' way -- 35 Mahound that best may. I warn you my knights A bairn is born I will fight He will claim to be king by right And usurp my lordly lay. 40 My knights wise Chosen with price, Arise, arise And take your toll. And every page 45 Of two year age Where're you engage, Slay like a fool. One of them Was born in a stall. 50 Fools him call A king with crown. With bitter gall He shall down fall. My might in this hall 55 Shall never go down! FIRST SOLDIER I shall slay churls And queens with earls. Here knaves with curls I shall stick. 60 Forth will I speed To make him bleed With bloody greed Vengeance to wreak. SECOND SOLDIER For swords sharp 65 As a harp Queens shall karp And of sorrow sing. Bairns young Shall be stung! 70 Through liver and lung We shall them sting. ANGEL Awake Joseph and take thy wife, The child also. Run for your lives! For King Herod with sharp knives 75 His knights he doth send. The father of heaven hath to thee sent Into Egypt that thou be bent. For cruel knights thy child have meant With swords to slay and shend. 80 JOSEPH Awake, good wife, out of your sleep And of your child good care you keep, While I your clothes lay on a heap And tie them on the ass. King Herod the child will slay 85 Therefore to Egypt must we go An angel of God said me so And therefore let us pass.
Then the soldiers come to the children to be slain and the first woman says
FIRST WOMAN Lovely lulling have I lorn, Alas why was my baby born? 90 With sweeping sword now has he shorn The head right from the neck. Shank and shoulder are all totorn! Sorrow I see behind and before At midnight, midday and morn 95 Would my life were finished quick. SECOND WOMAN Certainly I say the same! Gone is all my goodly game. My little child lieth all lame That suckled on my breast. 100 My forty weeks groaning Has sent me seven years sorrowing, Much is my mourning Now may I have no rest. FIRST SOLDIER Lord on throne! 105 Make now no moan, Queens now groan In the country side Upon my spear A babe I bear 110 I dare well swear, The mothers cried. SECOND SOLDIER Lord we have sped As you bade Babes have bled 115 And lie in the ditch! Flesh and vein Have suffered pain And you shall reign Ever more rich. 120 HEROD Ye shall have steeds To your needs Lands and glebes, Woods in fee. Well have you wrought! 125 My foe is sought -- To death he is brought Now come up to me. In seat now am I set as king of mights most. All this world for their love to me shall bow 130 Both in heaven and on earth and in hell's coast For the worth of my dignity their reverence to show. There is no lord now living to ask me to toast Neither king nor kaiser in all this world about. If any braggert do brag or blow against my boast, 135 I shall rap those ribalds and beat them on the snout With my bright brand. There shall be neither kaiser nor king But that I shall them down ding Unless he, at my bidding, 140 Obey at my hand. Now my gentle and courteous knights, hark to me anon. In good time, soon, methinketh at dinner that we were. Smartly therefore set a table anon here full soon Covered with a curious cloth and with rich worthy fare, 145 Service for the loveliest lord that is living on ground! Rare meats and worthiest wines, look that you not spare. Though a little pint should cost a thousand pound Bring always the best and for the cost take no care Quickly get it done. 150 STEWARD My lord, the table is ready dight. Here is water, now wash forthright. Now blow up, minstrell, with all your might The service comes in soon. HEROD Now am I set at meat 155 And worthily served at my degree Come forth knights, sit down and eat And be as merry as you can be. FIRST SOLDIER Lord, at your bidding we take our seat. With hearty will, obey we thee. 160 There is no lord of might so great Through all this world, in no country In worship to abide. HEROD I was never merrier here before Since that I was first born 165 Than I am right now in this morn In joy I begin to glide! DEATH Oh I heard a page make praisings of pride. All princes he passes, he thinks great to be. He thinks he is the worthiest of all this world wide, 170 King over all kings, that page thinks to be. He sent into Bethlehem, to seek on every side Christ for to quell if they might him see. But of his wicked will, sluggard yet he lied. God's son doth live. There is no lord but he, 175 Over all lords he is king. I am Death, God's messenger, Almighty God hath sent me here Yon sluggard to slay without fear For all his wicked working. 180 I am sent from God. Death is my name All things now alive I bend to my will. Both man and beast and birds wild and tame. When I come to them, with death I do them kill. Herbs, grass and trees strong, take them all the same. 185 Yea, the great and mighty oaks with my dart I spill. What man that I wrestle with, he shall right soon have shame. I trip him up so featly he shall ever more lie still. For Death knows no sport. Where I smite, there is no grace. 190 For after my stroke, man hath no space To make amends for his trespass, But God him grant comfort. Oh see how proudly yon caitiff sits at meat. Of death hath he no thought; he thinks to live evermore. 195 To him will I go and give him such a heat That all the leeches of the land his life shall never restore. Against my dreadful dents, it availeth never to fight. Before I part from him, I shall him make full poor. All the blood from his body I shall him out sweat. 200 For now I go to slay him with strokes sad and sore. Both him and his knights all This tide. I shall them make to me but thrall With my spear slay them I shall, 205 And so cast down his pride. HEROD Now kind knights be merry and glad With all good spirit show now some mirth! By gracious Mahound more mirth never I had Nor never more joy from the time of my birth. 210 For now is my foe dead and taken as a toad. Above me is no king alive here on earth. Mirth, therefore, make ye and be ye not sad, Spare neither meat nor drink and be there no dearth Of wine nor of bread! 215 For now I am king alone! As worthy as I, may there be none. Therefore, knights, be merry each one. For now is my foe dead! FIRST SOLDIER When the boys sprawled at my spears' end, 220 By Satan our sire, it was a good sight! A good game it was, that boy for to shend That would be our king and put you from your right. SECOND SOLDIER Now, truly, my lord king, we wicked had been And never none of us able to be knight, 225 If to them any of us had been friend And saved any lives against thy great might From death them to keep. HEROD Amongst all that great rout, He is dead, I have no doubt, 230 Therefore minstrells round about Blow up, a merry fit!
Here while they are drinking, Death slays Herod and the two soldiers as well and the Devil receives them
DEVIL All ours! All ours! This castle is mine! I shall bring them into my cell. I shall teach them a place fine 235 And show them such mirth as is in hell. It were much better amongst swine That are ever more stinking, there to dwell For in our lodge is such great pain That no earthly tongue may tell. 240 With you I go my way. I shall you bear forth with me And show you the sports of our glee Of our mirths you now shall see And ever sing, well-a-way. 245 DEATH Of King Herod all men beware That hath rejoiced in pomp and pride. For all his boasts of bliss, full bare He lies now dead, on his side. For when I come, I do not spare 250 From me no person may him hide. Now is he dead and cast in care, In hell pit ever to abide. His lordship is all lorn. Now is he as poor as I 255 Worms meat is his body His soul in hell full painfully Of devils is all to-torn. All men living upon the ground, Beware of me, by my counsel, 260 For faint fellowship in me is found, I know no courtesy as I you tell. For be a man never so sound Of health, in heart never so well, I come suddenly and that anon. 265 Me withstand may no castle. My journey will I speed. Of my coming no man is aware, For when men make most merry fare Then suddenly I cast them in care, 270 And slay them even in deed. Though I be naked and in poor array And worms gnaw me all about Yet look you dread me night and day. For when death comes, you stand in doubt. 275 Even like to me as I you say Shall all you be, here in this rout. When I you challenge at my day, I shall make you right low to bow And naked for to be. 280 Amongst worms, as I you tell Under the earth shall you dwell And they shall you eat both flesh and fell As they have done to me.
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