The Wakefield Miracle-Play of the Crucifixion


  •      Jesus
  •      Mary
  •      John
  •      Joseph
  •      Pilate
  •      Longeus
  •      Nicodemus
  •      Four Torturers


Pilate. Peace I bid every wight;
Stand as still as stone in wall,
Whiles ye are present in my sight,
That none of ye clatter nor call;
For if ye do, your death is dight.
I warn it you both great and small,
With this brand burnished so bright,
Therefore in peace look ye be all.

  What? peace, in the devil's name!
Harlots and dastards all bedene
On gallows ye be made full tame.
Thieves and michers ken
Will ye not peace when I bid you?
By Mahoun's blood! if ye me teyn,
I shall ordain soon for you
Pains that never e'er was seen,
  And that anon:
Be ye so bold beggars, I warn you,
Full boldly shall I beat you,
To hell the de'il shall draw you,
  Body, back, and bone.

  I am a lord that mickle is of might,
Prince of all Jewry, Sir Pilate I hight.
Next bring Herod, greatest of all,
Bow to my bidding, both great and small,
  Or else be ye shent;
Therefore keep your tongues, I warn you all
  And unto us take tent.

1st Torturer. All peace, all peace, among you all!
And hearken now what shall befall
  To this false chuffer here.
That with his false quantyse
Has made himself as God wise
  Among us many a year.
He calls himself a prophet,
And says that he can bales beat
  And make all things amend,
But e'er long know we shall,
Whether he can overcome his own bale,
  Or 'scape out of our hand.

  Was not this a wonder thing
That he durst call himself a king
  And make so great a lie?
  But, by Mahoun! while I may live,
Those proud words shall I never forgive,
  Till he be hanged on high.

2nd Torturer. His pride, fie, we set at nought,
But each man reckon in his thought
  And look that we naught want;
For I shall seek, if that I may,
By the order of knighthood, to-day,
  To make his heart pant.

3rd Torturer. And so shall I, with all my might,
Abate his pride this very night,
  And reckon him a crede.
Lo! he lets on he could no ill,
But he can aye, when he will,
  Do a full foul deed.

4th Torturer. Ye fellows, ye, as I, have rest,
Among us all I rede we cast
  To bring this thief to dede.
Look that we have what we need too
  For to hold strait this shrew.

1st Torturer. That was a noble rede;
Lo, here I have a band,
If need be, to bind his hand;
  This thong, I trow, will last.

2nd Torturer. And one to the other side,
That shall abate his pride,
  If it be but drawn fast.

3rd Torturer. Lo, here a hammer and nails also
For to fasten fast our foe
  To this tree full soon.

4th Torturer. You are wise, withouten dread,
That so can help yourself at need
  To thing that should be done.

1st Torturer. Now dare I say hardily,
He shall with all his mawmentry
  No longer us be-tell.

2nd Torturer. Since Pilate has him to us gi'en
Have done, quickly, let it be seen,
  How we can with him mell.

3rd Torturer. Now we are at the Mount of Calvary,
Have done, fellows, and let now see
  How we can with him play.

4th Torturer. Yes, for as proud as he can look,
He would have turned another crook,
  Had he the rack to-day.

1st Torturer. In faith, sir, since ye called you a king,
You must prove a worthy thing
  That falls into the weir.
You must joust in tournament,
But sit you fast, else you'll be shent,
  Else down I shall you bear.

2nd Torturer. If thou be God's son, as thou tells,
Thou canst save thyself--how shouldst thou else?
  Else were it marvel great;
And canst thou not, we will not trow
What thou has said, but make thee mow
  When thou sitt'st in that seat.

3rd Torturer. If thou be king, we shall thanks adylle
For we shall set thee in thy sadylle
  For falling be thou bold
I promise thee thou bidest a shaft
If thou sitt'st not well thou hadst better laft
  The tales that thou hast told.

4th Torturer. Stand near, fellows, and let us see
How we can horse our king so free
  By any craft;
Stand thou yonder on yon side,
And we shall see how he can ride.
  And how to wield a shaft.

1st Torturer. Sir, come ye hither, and have done,
And get upon your palfrey soon
  For he is ready bowne:
If ye be bound to him be not wroth,
For be ye secure we were full loth
  On any wise that ye fell down.

2nd Torturer. Knit thou a knot, with all thy strength
For to draw this arm at length
  Till it come to the bore.

3rd Torturer. Thou art mad, man, by this light!
It wants, in each man's sight
  Another half span, and more.

4th Torturer. Yet draw out this arm, and make it fast,
With this rope, that well will last,
  And each man lay hand to.

1st Torturer. Yes, and bind thou fast that band,
We shall go to that other hand,
  And look what we can do.

2nd Torturer. Do drive a nail there throughout,
And then there shall nothing doubt,
  For it will not breste.

3rd Torturer. That shall I do, so might I thrive,
For to hammer and to drive
  Thereto I am full pressed;
So let it stick, for it is well.

4th Torturer. Thou sayest sooth,
  There can no man mend.

1st Torturer. Hold down his knees.

2nd Torturer. That shall I do.
His nurse did never better do;
  Lay on with each hand.

3rd Torturer. Draw out his limbs, let see, have at.

4th Torturer. That was well drawn out, that,
Fair befall him that so pulled!
For to have gotten it to the mark
I trow laymen nor clerk
  Nothing better should!

1st Torturer. Hold it now fast there
One of you the bore shall bear,
  And then it may not fail.

2nd Torturer. That shall I do withouten dread,
As ever might I well speed
  Him to mickle bale.

3rd Torturer. So, that is well, it will not brest,
But now, let see, who does the best
  With any sleight of hand.

4th Torturer. Go we to the other ende
Fellows, fasten fast your hende,
  And pull well at the band.

1st Torturer. I counsel, fellows, by this weather
That we draw now all together,
  And look how it will fare.

2nd Torturer. Now let see, and leave your din
And draw we ilka syn from syn.
  For nothing let us spare.

3rd Torturer. Nay, fellows, this is no play,
We no longer draw one way,
  So mickle have I espied.

4th Torturer. No, for as I have bliss
Some can twig whoso it is
  Seeks his ease on his own side.

1st Torturer. It is better, as I hope
Each by himself to draw this rope,
  And then may we see
Who it is that erewhile
All his fellows can beguile
  Of this company.

2nd Torturer. Since thou wilt so have, here's for me!
  How draw I?--as might thou the!

3rd Torturer. Men drew right well!
Have here for me, half a foot.

4th Torturer. Wema, man! thou came not to't.
Men drew it never a deal
But have for me here that I may!

1st Torturer. Well drawnën, son, by this day!
Thou goes well to thy work.

2nd Torturer. Yet after, whilst thy hand is in
Pull thereat with some engine.

3rd Torturer. Yea, and bring it to the mark.

4th Torturer. Pull, pull!

1st Torturer. Have now!

2nd Torturer. Let see!

3rd Torturer. Aha!

4th Torturer. Yet, a draught!

1st Torturer. Thereto with all my might.

2nd Torturer. Aha, hold still thore.

3rd Torturer. So, fellows, look now alive,
Which of you can best drive,
  And I shall take the bore.

4th Torturer. Let me go to it, if I shall
I hope that I be the best marshal
  For to clink it right.
Do raise him up now when we may,
For I hope he and his palfrey
  Shall not twine this night.

1st Torturer. Come hither, fellows, and have done,
And help that this tree soon
  Be lift with all your sleight.

2nd Torturer. Yet let us work awhile,
And no man now the other beguile
  Till it be brought on height.

3rd Torturer. Fellows, lay on all your hende
For to raise this tree on ende
  And lets see who is last.

4th Torturer. I rede we do as he says,
Set we the tree on the mortase,
  And there, will it stand fast.

1st Torturer. Up with the timber.

2nd Torturer. Ah, it holds!
For him, that all this world wields,
  Put from thee, with thy hand.

3rd Torturer. Hold even! amongst us all.

4th Torturer. Yea, and let it into the mortise fall,
For then will it best stand.

1st Torturer. Go we to it, and be we strong,
And raise it, be it never so long,
  Since that it is fast bound.

2nd Torturer. Up with the timber fast on ende.

3rd Torturer. Ah fellows, fair fall now your hende.

4th Torturer. So, sir, gape against the sun!

[To Christ.

1st Torturer. Ah, fellow, wear thy crown!

2nd Torturer. Trowest thou this timber will come down?

3rd Torturer. Yet help, to make it fast.

4th Torturer. Bind him well, and let us lift.

1st Torturer. Full short shall be his thrift.

2nd Torturer. Ah, it stands up like a mast.

Jesus. I pray you, people, that pass me by,
That lead your life so lykandly
  Raise up your heart on high;
Behold if ever ye saw body
Buffet and beaten thus bloody,
  Or dight thus dolefully;
In this world was never no wight
  That suffered half so sair.
My mayn, my mode, my might
Is naught but sorrow to sight,
  And comfort--none but care!
My folk, what have I done to thee
That thou all thus shall torment me?
  Thy sin bear I full soon.
How have I grieved thee? answer me.
That thou thus nailest me to a tree,
  And all for thine error.
Where shalt thou seek succour?
This fault how shalt thou amende
When that thou thy saviour
Drivest to this dishonour
  And nail'st through feet and hende.
All creatures whose kinds may be trest,
Beasts and birds, they all have rest
  When they are woe begone.
But God's own son, that should be best,
Has not whereon his head to rest,
  But on his shoulder bone:
To whom now may I make my moan
  When they thus martyr me?
And sackless will me slone,
And beat me blood and bone,
  That should my brethren be?
What kindness should I kythe them to?
Have I not done what I ought to do,
  Made thee in my likeness?
And thou thus rives my rest and ro
And thinkest lightly on me, lo,
  Such is thy caitifness.
I have shown thee kindness, unkindly thou me 'quitest,
See thus thy wickedness, look how thou me despitest.
Guiltless thus am I put to pine,
Not for my sin, man, but for thine.
  Thus am I rent on rood;
For I that treasure would not tyne
That I marked and made for mine.
  Thus buy I Adam's blood,
That sunken was in sin,
With none earthly good,
But with my flesh and blood
That loath was for to wyn.
My brother, that I came for to buy,
Has hanged me here, thus hideously,
  Friends find I few or none;
Thus have they dight me drearily,
And all be-spit me piteously,
  A helpless man in wone.
But, Father, that sittest on throne,
  Forgive thou them this guilt.
I pray to thee this boon--
They know not what they doon,
  Nor whom they thus have spoilt!

1st Torturer. Yes, what we do full well we know.

2nd Torturer. Yes, that shall he find within a throw.

3rd Torturer. Now, with a mischance to his corse!
Wenys he that we give any force
  What evil so ever he ail?

4th Torturer. For he would tarry us all day,
Of his death to make delay,
  I tell you sans fail.

1st Torturer. Lift we this tree amongst us all.

2nd Torturer. Yea, and let it into the mortise fall
  And that shall make him brest.

3rd Torturer. Yea, and all to rive him, limb from limb.

4th Torturer. And it will break each joint in him;
  Let see now, who does best?

Mary. Alas, the dole I dree! I droop, I go in dread.
Why hang'st thou, son, so high? my woe begins to breed,
All blemished is thy ble, I see thy body bleed,
In the world, my son, we were never so woe, as now in weed.
My food that I have fed,
In life--longing thee led!
Full straight art thou bestead
  Among these foemen fell:
Such sorrow for to see.
My dearest child, on thee,
Is more mourning to me
  Than any tongue may tell.
Alas! thy holy head
Has not whereon to held
Thy face with blood is red,
  Was fair as flower in field
How should I stand in stead!
To see my bairn thus bleed,
Beaten as blo as lead.
  And has no limb to wield?
Fastened both hands and feet,
With nalys full unmeet,
His wounds all wringing wet.
  Alas, my child, for care!
For all rent is thy hide,
I see on either side
Tears of blood down glide
  Over all thy body bare.
Alas that ever I should bide, and see my feyr thus fare!

John. Alas, for dule, my lady dear!
All for changèd is thy cheer,
To see this prince without a peer,
  Thus lappéd all in woe;
He was thy food, thy fairest foine,
Thy love, thy like, thy lovesome son,
That high on tree thus hangs alone
  With body black and blo, alas!
To me and many mo,
A good master he was.

But, lady, since it is his will
The prophecy to fulfil,
That mankind in sin not spill,
  For them to thole the pain;
And with his death ransom to make,
As prophets before of him spake.
I counsel thee, thy grief to slake,
  Thy weeping may not gain
In sorrow;
Our boot he buys full bayne,
Us all from bale to borrow.

Mary. Alas, thine eyes as crystal clear,
That shone as sun in sight,
That lovely were in lyere
Lost they have their light,
And wax all fa'ed in fear,
All dim then are they dight;
In pain thou hast no peer,
That is withouten pight.
Sweet son, say me thy thought;
What wonders hast thou wrought
To be in pain thus brought
  Thy blessed blood to blend?
Ah, son, think on my woe,
Why will thou from me go?
On earth is no man mo
  That may my mirth amend.

John. Comely lady, good and couth,
Fain would I comfort thee;
Me mynnys my master with mouth
Told unto his menyee.
That he should suffer many a pain,
And die upon a tree,
And to the life rise up again,
Upon the third day should it be
  Full right;
For thee, my lady sweet,
Stint awhile to greet,
Our bale then will be beat,
  As he before has bight.

Mary. My sorrow it is so sad,
No solace may me save:
Mourning makes me mad,
No hope of help I have.
I am redeless and afraid
For fear that I should rave,
Nought may make me glad,
Till I be in my grave.
To death my dear is driven,
His robe is all to-riven,
That by me was him given
  And shapen with my sides.
These Jews and he have striven
  That all the bale he bides.
Alas! my lamb so mild,
Why wilt thou from me go
Among these wolvés wild,
That work on thee this woe?
For shame, who may thee shield,
For friends now hast thou foe.
Alas, my comely child,
Why will thou from me go?
Maidens, make your moan,
And weep, ye wives, every one
With me, most sad, in wone
  The child that born was best:
My heart is stiff as stone
  That for no bale will brest.

John. Ah, lady, well wot I,
Thy heart is full of care,
When thou thus openly
Seest thy child thus fare;
Love drives him rathly.
Himself he will not spare,
Us all from bale to buy,
Of bliss that are full bare
For sin;
My dear lady, therefore of mourning look thou blyn.

Mary. "Alas!" may ever be my song,
While I may live in leyd,
Methinks now that I live too long,
To see my bairn thus bleed.
Jews work with him all wrong,
Wherefore do they this deed?
Lo, so high have they him hung,
They let for no dread;
  Why so?
His foeman he is among.
No friend he has, but foe,
My frely food from me must go
What shall become of me?
Thou art warpyd all in woe,
  And spread here on a tree
    Full hie;
I mourn, and so may mo
That see this pain on thee.

John. Dear lady, well for me
If that I might comfort thee,
For the sorrow that I see
  Shears my heart in sunder;
When that I see my master hang
With bitter pains and strong;
Was never wight with wrong
  Wrought so mickle wonder.

Mary. Alas, death, thou dwellest too long,
Why art thou hid from me?
Who bid thee to my child to gang?
All black thou mak'st his ble;
Now witterly, thou workest wrong
The more I will wyte thee.
But if thou wilt my heart now sting
That I may with him dee,
    And bide.
Sore sighing is my song. For pierced is his side!
  Ah, death, what hast thou done?
With thee will I fare soon,
Since I had children none but one,
Best under sun or moon.
Friends I had full foyn
That gars me greet and groan
    Full sore.
Good Lord, grant me my boon,
And let me live no more!
Gabriel! that art so good
Sometime thou did me greet,
And then I understood
Thy words that were so sweet.
But now they vex my mood,
For grace thou canst me hete,
To bear all of my blood
A child our bale should beat
    With right.
Now hangs he here on rood,
Where is that thou me hight.
  All that thou of bliss
Hight me in that stede
From mirth is far amiss.
And yet I trow thy rede
Counsel me now of this,
My life how shall I lead
When from me gone is
He that was my head
    On high?
My death, now, come it is:
My dear son, have mercy!

Jesus. My mother mild, change thou thy cheer,
Cease from thy sorrow and sighing sere,
  It syttes unto my heart full sore;
The sorrow is sharp, I suffer here;
But the dole thou drees, my mother dear,
Me martyrs mickle more.
Thus wills my father I fare
  To loose mankind from bands
His son will he not spare,
To loose that bond was e'er
  Full fast in fiends' hands.
The first cause, mother, of my coming
Was for mankind miscarrying,
  To save them sore I sought;
Therefore, mother make no mourning
Since mankind, through my dying,
  May thus to bliss be brought.
Woman, weep thou right nought,
  Take there, John, unto thy child,
Mankind must needs be bought;
And thou cast, cousin, in thy thought.
  John, lo, there, thy mother mild!
Blue and bloody thus am I beat,
Swongen with swepys and all a-sweat,
  Mankind, for thy misdeed.
For my love's sake when wouldst thou let,
And thy heart sadly set,
  Since I thus for thee have bled?
Such life for sooth, I lead,
That nothing may I more.
This I suffer for thy need,
To mark thee, man, thy meed!
  Now thirst I wonder sore.

1st Torturer. Nought but hold thy peace,
Thou shalt have drink within a resse,
  Myself shall be thy knave;
Have here the draught that I thee hete,
And I shall warrant it is not sweet
  By all the good I have.

2nd Torturer. So, sir, say now all your will,
For if ye could have holden you still
  Ye had not had this brade.

3rd Torturer. Thou would'st all gate be King of Jews,
But by this I trow thou rues
  All that thou has said.

4th Torturer. He has him rused of great prophës
That he should make us tempyllës
  And make it clean fall down;
And yet he said he should it raise
As well as it was within three days,
  He lies, that wot we all;
And for his lies in great despite
We will divide his clothing tyte
  Save he can more of art.

1st Torturer. Yes, as ever might I thrive,
Soon will we this mantle rive,
  And each man take his part.

2nd Torturer. How, wouldst thou we share this cloth?

3rd Torturer. Nay, forsooth, that were I loth,
  For then it were all gate spoilt.
But assent thou to my saw,
And let us all cut draw
  And then is none begylt.

2nd Torturer. Howe'er befall, now I draw,
This is mine by common law,
  Say not there again.

1st Torturer. Now since it may no better be,
Chevithe thee with it for me;
  Methinks thou art full fain.

2nd Torturer. How, fellows, see ye not yon scraw?
It is written yonder within a thraw,
  Now since that we drew lot.

3rd Torturer. There is no man that is alive,
Unless Pilate, as I might thrive
  That durst it there have put.

4th Torturer. Go we fast, and let us look
What is written on yon book
  And what it may be, mean.

1st Torturer. All the more I look thereon,
All the more I think I fon;
  All is not worth a bean.

2nd Torturer. Yes for sooth, methinks I see
Thereon written language three
  Hebrew and Latýn
And Greek methinks written thereon,
For it is hard for to expoun.

3rd Torturer. Thou read, by Apollyon!

4th Torturer. Yea, as I am a true knight.
I am the best Latin wright
      Of this company;
I will go withouten delay
And tell you what it is to say.
    Behold, sirs, verily,
Yonder is written--Jesus of Nazarene
He is King of Jews, I ween.

1st Torturer. Ah, that is written wrong.

2nd Torturer. He calls himself so, but he is none.

3rd Torturer. Go we to Pilate and make our moan,
Have done, and dwell not long. [They go to Pilate.
Pilate, yonder is a false table,
Thereon is written naught but fable,
  Of Jews he is not king,
He calls him so, but he not is,
It is falsely written, I wis,
  This is a wrong-wise thing.

Pilate. Boys, I say, what melle ye yon?
As it is written shall it be now,
  I say certain
Quod scriptum scripsi,
That same wrote I,
  What gadlyng grumbles there again.

4th Torturer. Since that he is a man of law
He must needs have his will;
I trow he had not written that saw
Without some proper skill.

1st Torturer. Yea, let it hang above his head
It shall not save him from the dead
  Naught that he can write.

2nd Torturer. Now ill a hale was he born!

3rd Torturer. My faith, I tell his life is lorn
  He shall be slain as tyte.
If thou be Christ, as men thee call
Come down now among us all
  And thole not these missays.

4th Torturer. Yea, and help myself that we may see
And we shall all believe in thee,
  Whatsoever thou says.

1st Torturer. He calls himself good of might,
But I would see him be so wight
  To do such a deed.
He raised Lazare out of his delf
But he cannot help himself
  Now in his great need.

Jesus. Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani!
My God, my God! wherefor and why
  Hast thou forsaken me?

2nd Torturer. How, hear ye not as well as I
How he can upon Eli cry
  Upon this wise?

3rd Torturer. Yea, there is no Eli in this country
Shall deliver him from this meneye
  No, in no wise.

4th Torturer. I warrant you now at the last
That he shall soon yield the ghost
  For bursten is his gall.

Jesus. Now is my passion brought to end,
Father of heaven, into thy hende
  I do commend my soul.

1st Torturer. Let one prick him with a spear,
And if it should do him no dere
  Then is his life near past.

2nd Torturer. This blind knight may best do that.

Longeus. Gar me not do, save I wit what.

3rd Torturer. Naught, but strike up fast.

Longeus. Ah! Lord, what may this be?
Once I was blind, now I can see;
Gode's son, hear me, Jesu!
For this trespass on me thou rue
For, Lord, other men me gart
That I thee struck unto the heart,
I see thou hangest here on high,
And dies to fulfil the prophecy.

4th Torturer. Go we hence, and leave him here
For I shall be his bail, this year
  He feels now no more pain;
For Eli, ne for none other man
All the good that ever he won
  Gets not his life again. [Exeunt Torturers.

Joseph. Alas, alas, and well a way!
That ever I should abide this day
  To see my master dead;
Thus wickedly as he is shent,
With so bitter tornament
  Thro' the false Jews' red.
Nicodeme, I would we yede
To Sir Pilate, if we might spede
  His body for to crave;
I will strive with all my might
For my service to ask that knight,
  His body for to grave.

Nicodemus. Joseph, I will wend with thee
For to do what is in me
  For that body to pray;
For our good-will and our travail
I hope that it may us avail
  Hereafterward some day.

Joseph. Sir Pilate, God thee save!
Grant me what I crave
  If that it be thy will.

Pilate. Welcome, Joseph, might thou be,
What so thou askest, I grant it thee
  So that it be skill.

Joseph. For my long service, I thee pray,
Grant me the body, say me not nay
  Of Jesus dead on rood.

Pilate. I grant it well if he dead be,
Good leave shalt thou have of me.
  Do with him what thou think good.

Joseph. Gramercy, sir, of your good grace
That you did grant me in this place.
  Go we our way:
Nicodeme, come me forth with,
For I myself shall be the smith
  The nails out for to dray.

Nicodemus. Joseph, I am ready here
To go with thee with full good cheer
  To help with all my might.
Pull forth the nails on either side
And I shall hold him up this tide;
  Ah, Lord, how art thou dight!

[They take down the body.

Joseph. Help now, fellow, with all thy might,
That he be wounden and well dight,
  And lay him on this bier:
Bear we him forth into the kirk
To the tomb that I gar'd work
  Since full many a year.

Nicodemus. It shall be so, withouten nay,
He that died on Good Friday,
  And crownèd was with thorn;
Save you all that now here be
That Lord that thus would dee,
And rose on Paschë morn.