- Pater Cœlestis The Heavenly Father
- Adam Primus Homo Adam, the First Man
- Justus Noah Just Noah
- Abraham Fidelis Faithful Abraham
- Moses Sanctus Saint Moses
- David Rex Pius The Pious King, David
- Esaias Propheta The Prophet Isaiah
- Baleus Prolocutor John Bale, who speaks the Prologue
A Tragedy or interlude manifesting the chief promises of God unto man by all ages in the old law, from the Fall of Adam to the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compiled by John Bale, (Anno Domini MDXXXVIII.).
Baleus Prolocutor. If profit may grow, most Christian audience,
By knowledge of things which are but transitory,
And here for a time, of much more congruence,
Advantage might spring, by the search of causes heavenly,
As those matters are that the gospel specify.
Without whose knowledge no man to the truth can fall,
Nor ever attain to the life perpetual,
For he that knoweth not the living God eternal
The Father, the Son and also the Holy Ghost,
And what Christ suffered for redemption of us all,
What he commanded, and taught in every coast,
And what he forbode, that man must needs be lost,
And clean secluded, from the faithful chosen sort,
In the Heavens above, to his most high discomfort.
You therefore, good friends, I lovingly exhort,
To weigh such matters as will be uttered here,
Of whom ye may look to have no trifling sport
In fantasies feigned, nor such-like gaudy gear,
But the things that shall your inward stomach cheer.
To rejoice in God for your justification,
And alone in Christ to hope for your salvation.
Yea first ye shall have the eternal generation
Of Christ, like as John in his first chapter write,
And consequently of man the first creation
The abuse and fall, through his first oversight,
And the rise-again through God's high grace and might;
By promises first which shall be declared all:
Then by his own Son, the worker principal.
After that, Adam bewaileth here his fall;
God will shew mercy to every generation,
And to his kingdom of his great goodness call
His elected spouse, or faithful congregation,
As shall appear by open protestation,
Which from Christ's birth shall to his death conclude:
They come, that thereof will shew the certitude.
ADAM THE FIRST MAN
Pater Cœlestis. In the beginning before the heavens were create,
In me and of me was my Son sempiternal
With the Holy Ghost, in one degree or estate
Of the high Godhead, to me the Father coequal
And this my Son was with me one God essential
Without separation at any time from me.
True God he is of equal dignity.
Since the beginning my Son hath ever been
Joined with his father in one essential being.
All things were create by him in each degree,
In heaven and earth and have their diverse working:
Without his power, was never made any thing
That was wrought; but through his ordinance
Each have his strength, and whole continuance.
In him is the life and the just recoverance
For Adam and his, which nought but death deserved.
And this life to men is an high perseverance
Or a light of faith, whereby they shall be saved.
And this light shall shine among the people darkened
With unfaithfulness. Yet shall they not with him take
But of wilful heart his liberal grace forsake.
Which will compel me against man for to make
In my displeasure, and send plagues of correction
Most grievous and sharp, his wanton lusts to slake,
By water and fire, by sickness and infection
Of pestilent sores, molesting his complexion;
By troublous war, by dearth and painful scarceness,
And after this life by an extreme heaviness.
I will first begin with Adam for his lewdness
Which for an apple neglected my commandment.
He shall continue in labour for his rashness,
His only sweat shall provide his food and raiment:
Yea, yet must he have a greater punishment,
Most terrible death shall bring him to his end
To teach him how he his Lord God shall offend.
[Here Adam falls headlong upon the earth and after rolling over four times, at last gets up.
Adam. Merciful Father, thy pitiful grace extend
To me, careful wretch, which have me sore abused
Thy precept breaking, O Lord, I mean to amend,
If now thy great goodness would have me excused,
Most heavenly Maker, let me not be refused,
Nor cast from thy sight for one poor sinful crime;
Alas! I am frail, my whole kind is but slime.
Pater Cœlestis. I wot it is so, yet art thou no less faulty
Than thou hadst been made of matter much more worthy.
I gave thee reason and wit to understand
The good from the evil, and not to take on hand
Of a brainless mind, the thing which I forbade thee.
Adam. Such heavy fortune hath chiefly chanced me
For that I was left to mine own liberty.
Pater Cœlestis. Then thou are blameless, and the fault thou layest to me?
Adam. Nay, all I ascribe to my own imbecility.
No fault in thee Lord but in my infirmity,
And want of respect in such gifts as thou gavest me.
Pater Cœlestis. For that I put thee at thine own liberty,
Thou oughtest my goodness to have in more regard.
Adam. Avoid it I cannot, thou layest it to me so hard.
Lord, now I perceive what power is in man,
And strength of himself, when thy sweet grace is absent,
He must needs but fall, do he the best he can,
And endanger himself, as appeareth evident;
For I sinned not so long as thou wert present;
But when thou wert gone, I fell to sin by and by,
And thee displeased. Good Lord, I ask thee mercy.
Pater Cœlestis. Thou shalt die for it and all thy posterity.
Adam. For one fault, good Lord, avenge not thyself on me,
Who am but a worm, or a fleshly vanity.
Pater Cœlestis. I say thou shalt die with thy whole posterity.
Adam. Yet mercy, sweet Lord, if any mercy may be.
Pater Cœlestis. I am immutable, I may change no decree.
Thou shalt die, I say, without any remedy.
Adam. Yet gracious Father, extend to me thy mercy,
And throw not away the work which thou hast create
To thine own image, but avert from me thy hate.
Pater Cœlestis. But art thou sorry from bottom of thy heart?
Adam. Thy displeasure is to me most heavy smart.
Pater Cœlestis. Then will I tell thee what thou shalt stick unto,
Life to recover, and my good favour also.
Adam. Tell it me, sweet Lord, that I may thereafter go.
Pater Cœlestis. This is my covenant to thee and all thy offspring.
For that thou hast been deceived by the serpent,
I will put hatred betwixt him for his doing
And the woman kind. They shall hereafter dissent;
His seed with her seed shall never have agreement;
Her seed shall press down his head unto the ground,
Slay his suggestions, and his whole power confound.
Cleave to this promise with all thy inward power,
Firmly enclose it in thy remembrance fast,
Fold it in thy faith with full hope, day and hour,
And thy salvation it will be at the last.
That seed shall clear thee of all thy wickedness past,
And procure thy peace, with most high grace in my sight,
See thou trust to it and hold not the matter light.
Adam. Sweet lord, the promise that thyself here hath made me,
Of thy mere goodness and not of my deserving,
In my faith I trust shall so established be,
By help of thy grace, that it shall be remaining
So long as I shall have here continuing;
And shew it I will to my posterity
That they in like case have thereby felicity.
Pater Cœlestis. For a closing up, take yet one sentence with thee.
Adam. At thy pleasure, Lord, all things might ever be.
Pater Cœlestis. For that my promise may have the deeper effect
In the faith of thee and all thy generation,
Take this sign with it, as a seal thereto connect.
Creep shall the serpent, for his abomination,
The woman shall sorrow in painful propagation.
Like as thou shalt find this true in outward working,
So think the other, though it be a hidden thing.
Adam. Incessant praising to thee most heavenly lord
For this thy succour, and undeserved kindness,
Thou bindest me in heart thy gracious gifts to record,
And to bear in mind, now after my heaviness,
The bruit of thy name, with inward joy and gladness.
Thou disdainest not, as well appeareth this day,
To fetch to thy fold thy first sheep going astray.
Most mighty Maker, thou castest not yet away
Thy sinful servant, which hath done most offence.
It is not thy mind for ever I should decay,
But thou reservest me, of thy benevolence,
And hast provided for me a recompence,
By thy appointment, like as I have received
In thy strong promise here openly pronounced.
This goodness, dear Lord, is of me undeserved,
I so declining from thy first institution,
At so light motions. To one that thus hath swerved,
What a lord art thou, to give such retribution!
I, damnable wretch, deserved execution
Of terrible death, without all remedy,
And to be put out of all good memory.
I am enforced to rejoice here inwardly,
An imp though I be of hell, death and damnation,
Through my own working: for I consider thy mercy
And pitiful mind for my whole generation.
It is thou, sweet Lord, that workest my salvation,
And my recovery. Therefore of a congruence
From hence thou must have my heart and obedience.
Though I be mortal, by reason of my offence,
And shall die the death like as God hath appointed:
Of this I am sure, through his high influence,
At a certain day again to be revived.
From ground of my heart this shall not be removed,
I have it in faith and therefore I will sing
This anthem to him that my salvation shall bring.
[Then with sonorous voice, on his bent knees, he begins an antiphon, "O Sapientia," which the chorus follows with instruments, as it removes from the stage. Or else in the same it may thus be sung in English:
O Eternal Sapience, that proceedest from the mouth of the highest,
reaching forth with a great power from the beginning to the end, with
heavenly sweetness disposing all creatures, come now and instruct us the
true way of thy godly prudence.
NOAH THE JUST
Pater Cœlestis. I have been moved to strike man diversely,
Since I left Adam in this same earthly mansion;
For why? He hath done to me displeasures many,
And will not amend his life in any condition:
No respect hath he to my word nor monition,
But what doth him lust, without discreet advisement,
And will in nowise take mine advertisement.
Cain hath slain Abel, his brother, an innocent,
Whose blood from the earth doth call to me for vengeance:
My children with men's so carnally consent,
That their vain working is unto me much grievance:
Mankind is but flesh in his whole dalliance.
All vice increaseth in him continually,
Nothing he regardeth to walk unto my glory.
My heart abhorreth his wilful misery,
His cancred malice, his cursed covetousness,
His lusts lecherous, his vengeable tyranny,
Unmerciful murder and other ungodliness.
I will destroy him for his outrageousness,
And not him only, but all that on earth do stir,
For it repenteth me that ever I made them here.
Noah. Most gentle Maker, with his frailness somewhat bear,
Man is thy creature, thyself cannot say nay.
Though thou punish him to put him somewhat in fear,
His fault to acknowledge, yet seek not his decay.
Thou mayest reclaim him, though he goeth now astray,
And bring him again, of thy abundant grace,
To the fold of faith, he acknowledging his trespass.
Pater Cœlestis. Thou knowest I have given to him convenient space,
With lawful warnings, yet he amendeth in no place.
The natural laws, which I wrote in his heart,
He hath outraced, all goodness putting apart:
Of health the covenant, which I to Adam made,
He regardeth not, but walketh a damnable trade.
Noah. All this is true, Lord, I cannot thy words reprove,
Let his weakness yet thy merciful goodness move.
Pater Cœlestis. No weakness is it, but wilful working all,
That reigneth in man through mind diabolical.
He shall have therefore like as he hath deserved.
Noah. Lose him not yet, Lord, though he has deeply swerved.
I know thy mercy is far above his rudeness,
Being infinite, as all other things are in thee.
His folly therefore now pardon of thy goodness,
And measure it not beyond thy godly pity.
Esteem not his fault farther than help may be,
But grant him thy grace, as he offendeth so deeply,
Thee to remember, and abhor his misery.
Of all goodness, Lord, remember thy great mercy,
To Adam and Eve, breaking thy first commandment.
Them thou relievedst with thy sweet promise heavenly,
Sinful though they were, and their lives negligent.
I know that mercy with thee is permanent,
And will be ever so long as the world endure:
Then close not thy hand from man, which is thy creature.
Being thy subject he is underneath thy cure,
Correct him thou mayest and so bring him to grace.
All lieth in thy hands, to leave or to allure,
Bitter death to give, or grant most sovereign solace.
Utterly from man avert not then thy face;
But let him savour thy sweet benevolence
Somewhat, though he feel thy hand for his offence.
Pater Cœlestis. My true servant Noah, thy righteousness doth move me
Somewhat to reserve for man's posterity.
Though I drown the world, yet will I save the lives
Of thee and thy wife, thy three sons and their wives,
And of each kind two, to maintain you hereafter.
Noah. Blessed be thy name, most mighty merciful Maker,
With thee to dispute, it were inconvenient.
Pater Cœlestis. Why dost thou say so? Be bold to speak thy intent.
Noah. Shall the other die without any remedy?
Pater Cœlestis. I will drown them all, for their wilful wicked folly
That man hereafter thereby may know my power,
And fear to offend my goodness day and hour.
Noah. As thy pleasure is, so might it always be,
For my health thou art and soul's felicity.
Pater Cœlestis. After that this flood have had his raging passage
This shall be to thee my covenant everlasting.
The seas and waters so far never more shall rage,
As all flesh to drown, I will so temper their working;
This sign will I add also, to confirm the thing,
In the clouds above, as a seal or token clear,
For safeguard of man, my rainbow shall appear.
Take thou this covenant for an earnest confirmation
Of my former promise to Adam's generation.
Noah. I will, blessed Lord, with my whole heart and mind.
Pater Cœlestis. Farewell then, just Noah, here leave I thee behind,
Noah. Most mighty Maker, ere I from hence depart,
I must give thee praise from the bottom of my heart.
Whom may we thank, Lord, for our health and salvation
But thy great mercy and goodness undeserved?
Thy promise, in faith, is our justification,
As it was Adam's when his heart therein rested,
And as it was theirs which therein also trusted.
This faith was grounded in Adam's memory,
And clearly declared in Abel's innocency.
Faith in that promise old Adam did justify,
In that promise faith made Eve to prophecy.
Faith in that promise proved Abel innocent,
In that promise faith made Seth full obedient.
That faith taught Enoch on God's name first to call,
And made Methuselah the oldest man of all.
That faith brought Enoch to so high exercise,
That God took him up with him into Paradise.
Of that faith the want made Cain to hate the good,
And all his offspring to perish in the flood.
Faith in that promise preserved both me and mine:
So will it all them which follow the same line.
Not only this gift thou hast given me, sweet Lord,
But with it also thine everlasting covenant
Of trust forever, thy rainbow bearing record,
Never more to drown the world by flood inconstant;
Alack! I cannot to thee give praise condign,
Yet will I sing here with heart meek and benign.
[Then in a great voice he begins an antiphon, "O Oriens Splendor," falling upon his knees while the chorus follows with instruments, as before.
O most orient clearness, and light shining of the sempiternal
brightness! O clear sun of justice and heavenly righteousness, come
hither and illuminate the prisoner sitting in the dark prison and shadow
of Eternal Death.
OF FAITHFUL ABRAHAM
Pater Cœlestis. Mine high displeasure must needs return to man,
Considering the sin that he doth day by day;
For neither kindness nor extreme handling can
Make him to know me by any faithful way,
But still in mischief he walketh to his decay.
If he do not soon his wickedness consider,
He is like, doubtless, to perish altogether.
In my sight, he is more venym than the spider,
Through such abuses as he hath exercised,
From the time of Noah to this same season hither.
An uncomely act without shame Ham commysed.
When he of his father the secret parts revealed.
In like case Nimrod against me wrought abusion
As he raised up the castle of confusion.
Mirus hath also, and all by the devil's illusion
Through image-making, up raised idolatry,
Me to dishonour. And now in the conclusion
The vile Sodomites live so unnaturally
That their sin vengeance asketh continually,
For my covenant's sake, I will not drown with water,
Yet shall I visit their sins with other matter.
Abraham. Yet, merciful Lord, thy graciousness remember
To Adam and Noah, both in thy word and promise:
And lose not the souls of men in so great number
But save thine own work, of thy most discreet goodness.
I wot thy mercies are plentiful and earnest,
Never can they die nor fail, thyself enduring,
This hath faith fixed fast in my understanding.
Pater Cœlestis. Abraham my servant, for thy most faithful meaning,
Both thou and thy stock shall have my plenteous blessing.
When the unfaithful, under my curse evermore,
For their vain working, shall rue their wickedness sore.
Abraham. Tell me, blessed Lord, where will thy great malice light?
My hope is, all flesh shall not perish in thy sight.
Pater Cœlestis. No truly, Abraham, thou chancest upon the right,
The thing I shall do I will not hide from thee,
Whom I have blessed for thy true fidelity:
For I know thou wilt cause both thy children and servants,
In my ways to walk, and trust unto my covenants,
That I may perform with thee my earnest promise.
Abraham. All that I will do, by assistance of thy goodness.
Pater Cœlestis. From Sodom and Gomor the abominations call
For my great vengeance, which will upon them fall,
Wild fire and brimstone shall light upon them all.
Abraham. Pitiful Maker, though they have kindled thy fury,
Cast not away yet the just sort with the ungodly.
Peradventure there may be fifty righteous persons
Within those cities, wilt thou lose them all at once,
And not spare the place for those fifty righteous' sake
Be it far from thee such rigour to undertake.
I hope there is not in thee so cruel hardness,
As to cast away the just men with the reckless,
And so to destroy the good with the ungodly:
In the judge of all: be never such a fury.
Pater Cœlestis. At Sodom, if I may find just persons fifty,
The place will I spare for their sakes verily.
Abraham. I take upon me to speak here in thy presence,
More than becomes me, lord, pardon my negligence:
I am but ashes and were loth thee to offend.
Pater Cœlestis. Say forth, good Abraham, for ill dost thou not intend.
Abraham. Haply there may be five less in the same number,
For thy sake I hope thou wilt not the rest accombre.
Pater Cœlestis. If I among them might find but five and forty
Them would I not lose for that just company.
Abraham. What if the city may forty righteous make?
Pater Cœlestis. Then will I pardon it for those same forty's sake.
Abraham. Be not angry, Lord, though I speak undiscreetly.
Pater Cœlestis. Utter thy whole mind and spare me not hardly.
Abraham. Peradventure there may be thirty found among them.
Pater Cœlestis. May I find thirty, I will nothing do unto them.
Abraham. I take upon me too much, Lord, in thy sight.
Pater Cœlestis. No, no, good Abraham, for I know thy faith is right.
Abraham. No less, I suppose, than twenty can it have.
Pater Cœlestis. Could I find twenty, that city would I save.
Abraham. Once yet will I speak my mind, and then no more.
Pater Cœlestis. Spare not to utter so much as thou hast in store.
Abraham. And what if there might be ten good creatures found?
Pater Cœlestis. The rest for their sakes might so be safe and sound,
And not destroyed for their abomination.
Abraham. O merciful Maker, much is thy toleration
And sufferance of sin: I see it now indeed;
Vouchsafe yet of favour out of those cities to lead
Those that be faithful, though their flock be but small.
Pater Cœlestis. Lot and his household, I will deliver all,
For righteousness sake, which is of me and not them.
Abraham. Great are thy graces in the generation of Shem.
Pater Cœlestis. Well, Abraham, well, for thy true faithfulness
Now will I give thee my covenant or third promise.
Look thou believe it as thou covetest righteousness.
Abraham. Lord, so regard me as I receive it with gladness.
Pater Cœlestis. Of many peoples the father I will make thee,
All generations in thy seed shall be blessed:
As the stars of heaven, so shall thy kindred be;
And by the same seed the world shall be redressed
In circumcision shall this thing be expressed,
As in a sure seal, to prove my promise true,
Print this in thy faith, and it shall thy soul renew.
Abraham. I will not one jot, Lord, from thy will dissent
But to thy pleasure be always obedient,
Thy laws to fulfil, and most precious commandment.
Pater Cœlestis. Farewell, Abraham, for here in place I leave
Abraham. Thanks will I render, like as it shall behove me.
Everlasting praise to thy most glorious name,
Which savedst Adam through faith in thy sweet promise
Of the woman's seed, and now confirmest the same
In the seed of me. Forsooth great is thy goodness.
I cannot perceive but that thy mercy is endless.
To such as fear thee, in every generation,
For it endureth without abbreviation.
This have I printed in deep consideration,
No worldly matter can rase it out of mind.
For once it will be the final restoration
Of Adam and Eve, and other that hath sinned;
Yea, the sure health and race of mankind.
Help have the faithful thereof, though they be infect;
They, condemnation, where as it is reject.
Merciful Maker, my crabbed voice direct,
That it may break out in some sweet praise to thee;
And suffer me not thy due lauds to neglect,
But let me show forth thy commendations free.
Stop not my windpipes, but give them liberty,
To sound to thy name, which is most gracious,
And in it rejoice with heart melodious.
[Then in a loud voice he begins the antiphon, "O rex gentium," the chorus following the same with instruments.
O most mighty Governor of thy people, and in heart most desired, the
hard rock and the true corner-stone, that of two maketh one, uniting the
Jews with the Gentiles in one church, come now and relieve mankind, whom
thou hast formed of the vile earth.
Pater Cœlestis. Still so increaseth the wickedness of man,
That I am moved with plagues him to confound.
His weakness to aid, I do the best I can,
Yet he regardeth me no more than doth a hound,
My word and promise in his faith taketh no ground;
He will so long walk in his own lusts at large,
That naught he shall find his folly to discharge.
Since Abraham's time, which was my true elect,
Ishmael have I found both wicked, fierce and cruel:
And Esau in mind with hateful murder infect.
The sons of Jacob to lusts unnatural fell,
And into Egypt did they their brother sell.
Laban to idols gave faithful reverence,
Dinah was corrupt through Shechem's violence.
Reuben abused his father's concubine,
Judah got children of his own daughter-in-law:
Yea, she in my sight went after a wicked line.
His seed Onan spilt, his brother's name to withdraw.
Achan lived here without all godly awe.
And now the children of Israel abuse my power
In so vile manner that they move me every hour.
Moses. Pacify thy wrath, sweet Lord, I thee desire,
As thou art gentle, benign, and patient,
Lose not that people in fierceness of thine ire
For whom thou hast shewed such tokens evident,
Converting this rod into a lively serpent,
And the same serpent into this rod again,
Thy wonderful power declaring very plain.
For their sakes also puttest Pharaoh to pain
By ten divers plagues, as I shall here declare.
By blood, frogs, and lice; by flies, death, botch and blain;
By hail, by grasshoppers, by darkness, and by care;
By a sudden plague, all their first gotten ware,
Thou slewest, in one night, for his fierce cruelness.
From that thy people withhold not now thy goodness.
Pater Cœlestis. I certify thee, my chosen servant Moses,
That people of mine is full of unthankfulness.
Moses. Dear Lord, I know it, alas! yet weigh their weakness,
And bear with their faults, of thy great bounteousness.
In a flaming bush having to them respect,
Thou appointedst me their passage to direct,
And through the Red Sea thy right hand did us lead
Where Pharaoh's host the flood overwhelmed indeed.
Thou wentest before them in a shining cloud all day
And in the dark night in fire thou shewedst their way.
Thou sentest them manna from heaven to be their food.
Out of the hard stone thou gavest them water good.
Thou appointedst them a land of milk and honey.
Let them not perish for want of thy great mercy.
Pater Cœlestis. Content they are not with foul nor yet with fair,
But murmur and grudge as people in despair.
As I sent manna they had it in disdain,
Thus of their welfare they many times complain.
Over Amalek I gave them the victory.
Moses. Most glorious Maker, all that is to thy glory.
Thou sentest them also a law from heaven above,
And daily shewedst them many tokens of great love.
The brazen serpent thou gavest them for their healing,
And Balaam's curse thou turnedst into a blessing.
I hope thou wilt not disdain to help them still.
Pater Cœlestis. I gave them precepts, which they will not fulfil
Nor yet acknowledge me for their God and good Lord,
So do their vile deeds with their wicked hearts accord
Whilst thou hast talked with me familiarly
On Sinai's mountain, the space but of days forty,
These sights all they have forgotten clearly,
And are turned to shameful idolatry.
For their God, they have set up a golden calf.
Moses. Let me say something, sweet Father, in their behalf.
Pater Cœlestis. I will first conclude, and then say on thy mind.
For that I have found that people so unkind,
Not one of them shall enjoy the promise of me,
For entering the land, but Caleb and Josue.
Moses. Thy eternal will evermore fulfilled be.
For disobedience thou slewest the sons of Aaron,
The earth swallowed in both Dathan and Abiron.
The adders did sting other wicked persons else,
In wonderful number. Thus hast thou punished rebels.
Pater Cœlestis. Never will I spare the cursed iniquity.
Of idolatry, for no cause, thou mayst trust me.
Moses. Forgive them yet, Lord, for this time, if it may be.
Pater Cœlestis. Thinkest thou that I will so soon change my decree?
No, no, friend Moses, so light thou shalt not find me.
I will punish them all; Israel shall it see.
Moses. I know, thy people have wrought abomination,
Worshipping false gods, to thy honour's derogation,
Yet mercifully thou mayest upon them look;
And if thou wilt not, thrust me out of thy book.
Pater Cœlestis. Those great blasphemers shall out of my book clean,
But thou shalt not so, for I know what thou dost mean.
Conduct my people, mine angel shall assist thee,
That sin in a day will not uncorrected be.
And for the true zeal that thou to my people hast,
I add this covenant unto my promises past.
Raise them up I will a prophet from among them,
Not unlike to thee, to speak my words unto them.
Whoso heareth not that he shall speak in my name,
I will revenge it to his perpetual shame.
The passover lamb will be a token just
Of this strong covenant. This have I clearly discussed,
In my appointment this hour for your deliverance.
Moses. Never shall this thing depart from my remembrance.
Praise be for ever to thee, most merciful Lord,
Who never withdrawest from man thy heavenly comfort,
But from age to age thy benefits do record
What thy goodness is, and hath been to his sort.
As we find thy grace, so ought we to report.
And doubtless it is to us most bounteous,
Yea, for all our sins most ripe and plenteous.
Abraham our father found thee benevolous,
So did good Isaac in his distress among.
To Jacob thou wert a guide most gracious.
Joseph thou savedst from dangerous deadly wrong,
Melchisedec and Job felt thy great goodness strong,
So did good Sarah, Rebecca, and fair Rachel,
With Zephorah my wife, the daughter of Raguel.
To praise thee, sweet Lord, my faith doth me compel,
For thy covenant's sake wherein rests our salvation,
The seed of promise, all other seeds excel,
For therein remaineth our full justification.
From Adam to Noah, in Abraham's generation,
That seed procureth God's mighty grace and power;
For the same seed's sake, I will sing now this hour.
[Then he begins to sing an antiphon in a clear voice, "O Emmanuel," which the chorus (as before) follows with instruments.
O high king Emmanuel, and our liege Lord! the long expectation of the
Gentiles, and the mighty Saviour of their multitude, the health and
consolation of sinners, come now to save us, as our Lord and our
OF PIUS KING DAVID
Pater Cœlestis. For all the favour I have shewed Israel,
Delivering it from Pharaoh's tyranny,
And giving the land, fluentem lac et mel,
Yet will it not leave its old idolatry,
Nor know me for God. I abhor its misery.
Vexed it I have with battles and decays,
Still must I plague it, I see no other ways.
David. Remember yet, Lord, thy worthy servant Moses,
Walking in thy sight, without rebuke of thee.
Both Aaron, Jethro, Eleazar, and Phinees,
Evermore feared to offend thy majesty,
Much thou acceptedst thy servant Josue.
Caleb and Othniel sought thee with all their heart,
Aioth and Sangar for thy folk did their part.
Gideon and Tholus thy enemies put to smart,
Jair and Jephtha gave praises to thy name.
These, to leave idols, thy people did court.
Samson the strongest, for his part did the same.
Samuel and Nathan thy messages did proclaim.
What though fierce Pharaoh wrought mischief in thy sight,
He was a pagan, lay not that in our light.
I know the Benjamites abused the ways of right,
So did Eli's sons, and the sons of Samuel.
Saul in his office was slothful day and night,
Wicked was Shimei, so was Ahitophel.
Measure not by them the faults of Israel,
Whom thou hast loved of long time so entirely,
But of thy great grace remit its wicked folly.
Pater Cœlestis. I cannot abide the vice of idolatry,
Though I should suffer all other villany.
When Joshua was dead, that sort from me did fall
To the worshipping of Ashteroth and Baal,
Full unclean idols, and monsters bestial.
David. For it they have had thy righteous punishment,
And forasmuch as they did wickedly consent
To the Philistines and Canaanites ungodly
Idolaters, taking to them in matrimony,
Thou threwest them under the King of Mesopotamy,
After thou subduedst them for their idolatry.
Eighteen years to Eglon, the King of Moabites,
And twenty years to Jabin, the King of Canaanites,
Oppressed they were seven years by the Midianites,
And eighteen years vexed by the cruel Ammonites.
In three great battles, of three score thousand and five,
Of this thy people, not one was left alive.
Have mercy now, Lord, and call them to repentance.
Pater Cœlestis. So long as they sin, so long shall they have grievance.
David my servant, something must I say to thee,
For that thou lately hast wrought such vanity.
David. Spare not, blessed Lord, but say thy pleasure to me.
Pater Cœlestis. Of late days thou hast misused Bathsheba,
The wife of Uriah, and slain him in the field.
David. Mercy, Lord, mercy; for doubtless I am defiled.
Pater Cœlestis. I constitute thee a king over Israel,
And thee preserved from Saul, who was thine enemy.
Yea, in my favour, so much thou didst excel,
That of thine enemies I gave thee victory.
Philistines and Syrians to thee came tributary.
Why hast thou then wrought such folly in my sight.
Despising my word, against all godly right?
David. I have sinned, Lord, I beseech thee, pardon me,
Pater Cœlestis. Thou shalt not die, David, for this iniquity,
For thy repentance; but thy son by Bathsheba
Shall die, forasmuch as my name is blasphemed
Among my enemies, and thou the worse esteemed.
From thy house for this the sword shall not depart.
David. I am sorry, Lord, from the bottom of my heart.
Pater Cœlestis. To further anger thou dost me yet compel.
David. For what matter, Lord? I beseech thy goodness tell.
Pater Cœlestis. Why didst thou number the children of Israel?
Supposest in thy mind therein thou hast done well?
David. I cannot say nay, but I have done indiscreetly
To forget thy grace for a human policy.
Pater Cœlestis. Thou shalt of these three choose which plague thou wilt have,
For that sinful act, that I thy soul may save.
A scarceness seven years, or else three months' exile,
If not, for three days a pestilence most vile,
For one thou must have, there is no remedy.
David. Lord, at thy pleasure, for thou art full of mercy.
Pater Cœlestis. Of a pestilence then, three score thousand and ten,
In three days shall die of thy most puissant men.
David. O Lord, it is I who have offended thy grace,
Spare them and not me, for I have done the trespace.
Pater Cœlestis. Though thy sins be great, thine inward heart's contribution
Doth move my stomach in wonderful condition.
I find thee a man according to my heart;
Wherefore this promise I make thee, ere I depart.
A fruit there shall come forth issuing from thy body,
Whom I will advance upon thy seat for ever.
His throne shall become a seat of heavenly glory
His worthy sceptre from right will not dissever,
His happy kingdom, of faith shall perish never.
Of heaven and of earth he was author principal,
And will continue, though they do perish all.
This sign shalt thou have for a token special,
That thou mayst believe my words unfeignedly,
Where thou hast minded, for my memorial,
To build a temple, thou shalt not finish it truly;
But Solomon thy son shall do that action worthy,
In token that Christ must finish everything
That I have begun, to my praise everlasting.
David. Immortal glory to thee, most heavenly King,
For that thou hast given continual victory
To me thy servant, ever since my annointing,
And also before, by many conquests worthy.
A bear and lion I slew through thy strength only.
I slew Goliath, who was six cubits long.
Against thine enemies thou madest me ever strong.
My fleshly frailness made me do deadly wrong,
And clean to forget thy laws of righteousness.
And though thou visitedst my sinfulness among,
With pestilent plagues, and other unquietness;
Yet never tookst thou from me thy plenteousness
Of thy godly spir't, which thou in me didst plant.
I having remorse, thy grace could never want.
For in conclusion, thy everlasting covenant
Thou gavest unto me for all my wicked sin;
And hast promised here by protestation constant,
That one of my seed shall such high fortune win,
As never did man since this world did begin.
By his power he shall put Satan from his hold,
In rejoice whereof to sing will I be bold.
[Then he begins in a musical voice an antiphon, "O Adonai," which the chorus (as before) follows with instruments.
O Lord God Adonai, and guide of the faithful house of Israel, who
sometime appearedst in the flaming bush to Moses, and to him didst give
a law on Mount Sinai, come now to redeem us in the strength of thy right
OF THE PROPHET ESAIAS
Pater Cœlestis. I brought up children from their first infancy,
Who now despise all my godly instructions.
An ox knoweth its lord, an ass its master's duty,
But Israel will not know me, nor my conditions.
Oh, froward people, given all to superstitions,
Unnatural children, expert in blasphemies,
Provoke me into hate, by their idolatries.
Take heed to my words, ye tyrants of Sodoma,
In vain ye offer your sacrifice to me.
Discontent I am with you beasts of Gomorrah
And have no pleasure when I your offerings see.
I abhor your fasts and your solemnity,
For your traditions my ways ye set apart,
Your works are in vain, I hate them from the heart.
Esaias. Thy city, sweet Lord, is now become unfaithful,
And her conditions are turned upside down.
Her life is unchaste, her acts be very hurtful,
Her murder and theft have darkened her renown.
Covetous rewards do so their conscience drown,
That the fatherless they will not help to right,
The poor widow's cause comes not before their sight.
Thy peaceable paths seek they neither day nor night;
But walk wicked ways after their fantasy.
Convert their hearts, Lord, and give them thy true light,
That they may perceive their customable folly:
Leave them not helpless in so deep misery,
But call them from it of thy most special grace,
By thy true prophets, to their souls' health and solace.
Pater Cœlestis. First they had fathers, then had they patriarchs,
Then dukes, then judges for their guides and monarchs:
Now have they stout kings, yet are they wicked still,
And will in no wise my pleasant laws fulfil.
Always they apply to idols' worshipping,
From the vile beggar to the annointed king.
Esaias. For that cause thou hast in two divided them,
In Samaria the one, the other in Jerusalem.
The king of Judah in Jerusalem did dwell,
And in Samaria the king of Israel.
Ten of the twelve tribes became Samaritans,
And the other two were Hierosolymitans.
In both these countries, according to their doings,
Thou permittedst them to have most cruel kings.
The first of Judah was wicked king Roboam,
Of Israel the first was that cruel Jeroboam;
Abiah then followed, and in the other Nadab,
Then Bassa, then Helah, then Zambri, Jehoram and Ahab.
Then Ochesius, then Athaliah, then Joas;
On the other part was Jonathan and Achaz.
To rehearse all them that have done wretchedly
In the sight of thee, it were long verily.
Pater Cœlestis. For the wicked sin of filthy idolatry,
Which the ten tribes did in the land of Samarie,
In space of one day fifty thousand men I slew,
Three of their cities also I overthrew,
And left the people in such captivity,
That in all the world they knew not whither to flee.
The other two tribes, when they from me went back
To idolatry, I left in the hand of Shishak,
The king of Egypt, who took away their treasure,
Conveyed their cattle, and slew them without measure.
In time of Ahaz, a hundred thousand and twenty
Were slain at one time for their idolatry.
Two hundred thousand from thence were captive led,
Their goods dispersed, and they with penury fed.
Seldom they fail it, but either the Egyptians
Have them in bondage, or else the Assyrians.
Esaias. Well, yet blessed Lord, relieve them with thy mercy.
Though they have been ill other princes' days,
Yet good Hezekiah hath taught them goodly ways.
When the prince is good, the people are the better;
And as he is nought, their vices are the greater.
Heavenly Lord, therefore send them the consolation,
Which thou hast covenanted with every generation.
Open thou the heavens, and let the lamb come hither,
Who will deliver thy people altogether.
Ye planets and clouds, cast down your dews and rain,
That the earth may bear out healthful savour plain.
Pater Cœlestis. May the wife forget the child of her own body?
Esaias. Nay, that she can not in any wise verily.
Pater Cœlestis. No more can I them who will do my commandments,
But must preserve them from all inconvenience.
Esaias. Blessed art thou, Lord, in all thy acts and judgments.
Pater Cœlestis. Well, Esaias, for this thy fidelity,
A covenant of health thou shalt have also of me.
For Zion's sake now I will not hold my peace,
And for Jerusalem, to speak will I not cease
Till that righteous Lord become as a sunbeam bright,
And their just saviour as a lamp extend his light.
A rod shall shoot forth from the old stock of Jesse,
And a bright blossom from that root will arise,
Upon whom always the spir't of the Lord shall be,
The spir't of wisdom, the spir't of heavenly practice,
And the spir't that will all godliness devise.
Take this for a sign, a maid of Israel
Shall conceive and bear that Lord Emmanuel.
Esaias. Thy praises condign no mortal tongue can tell,
Most worthy maker and king of heavenly glory,
For all capacities thy goodness doth excel,
Thy plenteous graces no brain can compass truly,
No wit can conceive the greatness of thy mercy,
Declared of late in David thy true servant,
And now confirmed in this thy later covenant.
Of goodness thou madest Solomon of wit more pregnant,
Asa and Josaphat, with good king Hezechiah,
In thy sight to do that was to thee right pleasant.
To quench idolatry thou raisedst up Elijah
Jehu, Elisha, Micah, and Obdiah,
The Syrian Naaman thou purgedst of a lepry
Thy works wonderful who can but magnify?
Arise, Jerusalem, and take faith by and by,
For the very light that shall save thee is coming.
The Son of the Lord appear will evidently,
When he shall resort, see that no joy be wanting.
He is thy saviour, and thy life everlasting,
Thy release from sin, and thy whole righteousness,
Help me in this song t' acknowledge his great goodness.
[Then in a tuneful voice he begins an antiphon, "O radix Jesse," which the chorus follows with instruments.
O fruitful root of Jesse, that shall be set as a sign among people,
against the worldly rulers shall fiercely open their mouths, whom the
Gentiles worship as their heavenly Lord. Come now to deliver us, and
delay the time no longer.
OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Pater Cœlestis. I have with fierceness mankind oft-times corrected,
And again I have allured him by sweet promise.
I have sent sore plagues, when he hath me neglected,
And then by and by, most comfortable sweetness.
To win him to grace, both mercy and righteousness
I have exercised, yet will he not amend.
Shall I now lose him, or shall I him defend?
In his most mischief, most high grace will I send
To overcome him by favour, if it may be.
With his abuses no longer will I contend
But now accomplish my first will and decree.
My word being flesh, from hence shall set him free,
Him teaching a way of perfect righteousness,
That he shall not need to perish in his weakness.
John the Baptist. Manasseh is past, who turned from thee his heart.
Ahaz and Ammon have now no more ado,
Jechoniah with others who did themselves avert
From thee to idols, may now no farther go.
The two false judges, and Baal's wicked priests also,
Phassur and Semaiah, with Nebuchadnosor,
Antiochus and Triphon, shall thee displease no more.
Three score years and ten, thy people into Babylon
Were captive and thrall for idols' worshipping.
Jerusalem was lost, and left void of dominion,
Burnt was their temple, so was their other building,
Their high priests were slain, their treasure came to nothing;
The strength and beauty of thine own heritage,
Thus didst thou leave them in miserable bondage.
Oft had they warnings, sometimes by Ezekiel
And other prophets, as Isay and Jeremy,
Sometimes by Daniel, sometimes by Hosea and Joel,
By Amos and Abdiah, by Jonah and Sophonya,
By Nahum and Micah, Haggai and by Zachary,
By Malachias, and also by Habakkuk,
By Olda the widow, and by the prophet Baruch.
Remember Josiah, who took the abomination
From the people, then restoring the laws again.
Of Rahab consider the faithful generation,
Whom to wine drinking no friendship might constrain.
Remember Abimelech, the friend of truth certain,
Zerubabel the prince, who did repair the temple,
And Jesus Josedech, of virtue the example.
Consider Nehemiah, and Esdras the good scribe,
Merciful Tobias, and constant Mardocheus;
Judith and Queen Esther, of the same godly tribe,
Devout Matthias and Judas Maccabæus.
Have mind of Eleazer, and then Joannes Hircanus,
Weigh the earnest faith of this godly company,
Though the other clean fall from thy memory.
Pater Cœlestis. I will John, I will, for as I said before,
Rigour and hardness I have now set apart,
Minding from henceforth to win man evermore
By wonderful kindness to break his stubborn heart,
And change it from sin. For Christ shall suffer smart,
In man's frail nature for his iniquity,
This to make open, my messenger shalt thou be.
John the Baptist. As thy pleasure is, so blessed Lord appoint me,
For my health thou art, and my soul's felicity.
Pater Cœlestis. Long ere I made thee, I the predestinate,
Before thou wert born I thee endued with grace.
In thy mother's womb wert thou sanctificate
By my godly gift, and so confirmed in place,
A prophet, to shew a way before the face
Of my most dear son, who will come: then until
Apply thee apace thine office to fulfil.
Preach to the people, rebuking their negligence,
Dip them in water, acknowledging their offence;
And say unto them, The kingdom of God doth come.
John the Baptist. Unmeet, Lord, I am, Quia puer ego sum.
And other than that, alas, I have no science
Fit for that office, neither yet clean eloquence.
Pater Cœlestis. Thou shalt not say so, for I have given thee grace,
Eloquence and age, to speak in desert place.
Thou must do therefore as I shall thee advise,
My appointed pleasure forth utter in any wise;
My strong mighty words put I into thy mouth,
Spare not, but speak them to east, west, north and south.
[God stretching out his hand, touches John's lips with his finger and confers upon him a golden tongue.
Go now thy way forth, I shall thee never fail,
The spir't of Elijah have I given thee already.
Persuade the people, that they their sins bewail;
And if they repent their customable folly,
Long shall it not be ere they have remedy.
Open thou their hearts: tell them their health is coming
As a voice in a desert; see thou declare the thing.
I promise thee sure, thou shalt wash him among them
In Jordan, a flood not far from Jerusalem.
John the Baptist. Shew me yet, good Lord, whereby shall I know that man,
In the multitude which will resort to Jordan.
Pater Cœlestis. In thy mother's womb of him hadst thou cognition.
Have thou no fear John, him shalt thou know full well,
And one special token afore will I thee tell.
Super quem videris spiritum descendentem et manentem
Super eum, hic est qui baptizat spiritu sancto:
Among all other whom thou shalt baptise there
Upon whom thou seest the Holy Ghost descend
In shape of a dove, resting upon his shoulder,
Hold him for the same, that shall the world amend,
By baptism of spirit, and also to man extend
Most special grace. For he must repair his fall,
Restoring again the justice original.
Take now thy journey, and do as I thee advise,
First preach repentance, and then the people baptise.
John the Baptist. High honour, worship, and glory be unto thee,
My God eternal, and patron of all purity.
Repent good people, for sins that now are past,
The kingdom of heaven is at hand very nigh.
The promised light to you approacheth fast,
Have faith, and apply now to receive him boldly.
I am not the light, but to bear testimony
Of him am sent, that all men may believe,
That his blood he will for their redemption give.
He is such a light as all men doth illumine,
That ever were here, or shall be after this.
All the world he made by his mighty power divine,
And yet that rude world will not know what he is.
His own he entering, is not regarded of his.
They that receive him, are God's true children plain,
In spir't regenerate, and all grace shall attain.
Many do reckon, that I John Baptist am he,
Deceived are they, and that will appear in space.
Though he come after, yet he was long afore me.
We are weak vessels, he is the well of grace,
Of his great goodness all that we have we purchase.
By him are we like to have a better increase
Than ever we had by the laws of Moses.
For Moses' hard law we had not else but darkness,
Figure and shadow, all was not else but night,
Punishment for sin, much rigour, pain, and roughness,
An high charge is there, where all is turned to light,
Grace and remission anon will shine full bright.
Never man lived that ever saw God afore,
Which now in our kind man's ruin will restore.
Help me to give thanks to that Lord evermore,
Which am unto Christ a crier in the desert,
To prepare the paths and high ways him before
For his delight is on the poor, simple heart.
That innocent lamb from such will never depart,
As will faithfully receive him with good mind.
Let our voice then sound in some sweet musical kind.
[Then in a resounding voice he begins an antiphon, "O clavis David," which the chorus follows with instruments, as before.
O perfect key of David, and high sceptre of the kindred of Jacob, which
openest and no man sperith, thou speakest and no man openeth; come
and deliver thy servant mankind, bound in prison, sitting in the
darkness of sin and bitter damnation.
Baleus Prolocutor. The matters are such as we have uttered here,
As ought not to slide from your memorial;
For they have opened such comfortable gear,
As is to the health of this kind universal,
Graces of the Lord and promises liberal,
Which he given to man for every age,
To knit him to Christ, and so clear him of bondage.
As St. Paul doth write unto the Corinthes plain,
Our forefathers were under the cloud of darkness,
And unto Christ's days did in the shadow remain;
Yet were they not left, for of him they had promise
All they received one spiritual feeding doubtless.
They drank of the rock which them to life refreshed,
For one saving health, in Christ, all they confessed.
In the woman's seed was Adam first justified,
So was faithful Noah, so was just Abraham;
The faith in that seed in Moses forth multiplied,
Likewise in David and Esaye that after came,
And in John Baptist, which shewed the very Lamb.
Though they so afar, yet all they had one justice
One mass, as they call it, and in Christ one sacrifice.
A man cannot here to God do better service,
Than on this to ground his faith and understanding.
For all the world's sin alone Christ payed the price,
In his only death was man's life always resting,
And not in will--works, nor yet in men's deserving,
The light of our faith makes this thing evident,
And not the practice of other experiment.
Where is now free will, which the hypocrites comment?
Whereby they report they may at their own pleasure
Do good of themselves, though grace and faith be absent,
And have good intents their madness with to measure.
The will of the flesh is proved here small treasure,
And so is man's will, for the grace of God doth all.
More of this matter conclude hereafter we shall.
Thus endeth this tragedy or interlude, manifesting the chief promises of God unto Man by all ages in the old law, from the fall of Adam to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Compiled by John Bayle. Anno Domini 1538.