A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume I.
Part 2 out of 9
moral conclusion and exhortation to virtue. [Col.] Johes rastell me
imprimi fecit. Cum privilegio regali. Folio, black letter_.
The only copy known of this piece is among the books of Malone in the
Bodleian Library, and it has never hitherto been reprinted. An account of
it is given, however, by Collier (_History of English Dramatic Poetry_,
AN INTERLUDE, SHOWING THE BEAUTY AND GOOD PROPERTIES OF WOMEN.
Franciscus Petrarcus, the poet laureate,
Saith that Nature, which is mother of all things,
Without strife can give life to nothing create;
And Heraclitus, the wise clerk, in his writing,
Saith in all things create strife is their working;
And there is nothing under the firmament
With any other in all points equivalent.
And, according to their diets rehearsed as thus,
All things are create in manner of strife.
These foolish lovers, then, that be so amorous,
From pleasure to displeasure how lead they their life:
Now sorry, now sad: now joyous, now pensive:
Alas! I, poor maiden, then what shall I do,
Cumbered by dotage of one Calisto?
I know that Nature hath given me beauty,
With sanguineous complexion, favour, and fairness:
The more to God ought I to do fea'ty
With will, life, land, and love of perfectness.
I deny not but Calisto is of great worthiness,
But what of that? for all his high estate,
His desire I defy, and utterly shall hate.
Oh, his sayings and suits so importune,
That of my life he maketh me almost weary!
Oh, his lamentations and exclamations on fortune,
With similitude [of] manner as one that should die!
But who shall pity this? In faith, not I.
Shall I accomplish his carnal desire?
Nay, yet at a stake rather bren in a fire.
Of truth, I am sorry for his trouble;
To strive with himself thus for love of me;
But though his sorrows, I assure you, should double,
Out of his danger will I be at liberty.
[_Enter_ CALISTO _unseen_.]
CAL. What amiss, woman, now Christ benedicite?
MEL. Nay, nay, he shall never that day see;
His voluptuous appetite consented by me.
Wist he now that I were present here,
I assure you shortly he would seek me;
And without doubt he doth now inquire,
Whither I am gone, or where I should be.
See, is he not now come? I repent me
Alas, of this man I can never be rid:
Would to Christ I wist, where I might be hid.
CAL. By you, fair Melibaea, may be seen
The grace, the gifts, the greatness of God.
CAL. In taking effect of Dame Nature's strene;
Nor yearthly, but angelic of likelihood;
In beauty so passing the kind of woman-hood.
O God, I might in your presence be able
To manifest my dolours incomparable;
Greater were that reward than the grace
Heaven to obtain by works of pity!
Not so glorious be the saints that see God's face,
Ne joy not so much, as I do you to see.
Yet difference there is between them and me,
For they glorify by His assured presence,
And I in torment because of your absence.
MEL. Why, thinkest thou that so great a reward?
CAL. Yea, more greater than if God would set me
In heaven above all saints, and more in regard;
And think it a more higher felicity.
MEL. Yet more greater thy reward shall be,
If thou flee from the determination
Of thy consent of mind by such temptation.
I perceive the extent of thy words all,
As of the wit of him, that would have the virtue
Of me such a woman to become thrall.
Go thy way with sorrow! I would thou knew
I have, foul scorn of thee, I tell thee true,
Or [of] any human creature with me should begin
Any communication pertaining to sin.
And I promise thee, where--thou art present,
While I live, by my will I will be absent.
CAL. Lo! out of all joy I am fallen in woe,
Upon whom adverse fortune hath cast her chance
Of cruel hate, which causeth now away to go
The keeper of my joy and all my pleasance.
Alas, alas, now to me what noyance!
_Enter_ SEMPRONIO, _a parasite_.
SEM. _Dieu garde_, my lord, and God be in this place!
SEM. Yea, sir.
CAL. Ah, sir, I shrew thy face!
Why hast thou been from me so long absent?
SEM. For I have been about your business,
To order such things as were convenient,
Your house and horse, and all things, was to dress.
CAL. O Sempronio, have pity on my distress;
For of all creatures I am the woefullest.
SEM. How so? what is the cause of your unrest?
CAL. For I serve in love to the goodliest thing
That is or ever was.
SEM. What is she?
CAL. It is one which is all other exceeding:
The picture of angels, if thou her see:
Phoebus or Phoebe no comparison may be
SEM. What hight she?
CAL. Melibaea is her name.
SEM. Marry, sir, this would make a wild horse tame!
CAL. I pray thee, Sempronio, go fet me my lute,
And bring some chair or stool with thee;
The arguments of love that I may dispute,
Which science, I find, thou art without pity.
Hie thee, Sempronio, hie thee, I pray thee.
SEM. Sir, shortly, I assure you, it shall be done.
CAL. Then farewell! Christ send thee again soon!
Oh, what fortune is equal unto mine!
Oh, what woeful wight with me may compare!
The thirst of sorrow is my mixed wine,
Which daily I drink with deep draughts of care.
SEM. Tush, sir, be merry, let pass away the mare:
How say you, have I not hied me lightly?
Here is your chair and lute to make you merry.
CAL. Merry, quotha? nay, that will not be;
But I must needs sit for very feebleness.
Give me my lute, and thou shalt see
How I shall sing mine unhappiness.
This lute is out of tune now, as I guess;
Alas! in tune how should I set it,
When all harmony to me discordeth each whit,
As he, to whose will reason is unruly?
For I feel sharp needles within my breast;
Peace, war, truth, hatred, and injury:
Hope and suspect, and all in one chest.
SEM. Behold, Nero, in the love of Poppaea oppressed,
Rome how he brent; old and young wept:
But she took no thought, nor never the less slept.
CAL. Greater is my fire, and less pity showed me.
SEM. I will not mock; this fool is a lover. [_Aside_.
CAL. What say'st thou?
SEM. I say, how can that fire be,
That tormenteth but one living man, greater
Than that fire that brenneth a whole city here,
And all the people therein?
CAL. Marry, for that fire is greatest,
That brenneth very sore, and lasteth longest;
And greater is the fire that brenneth one soul,
Than that which brenneth an hundred bodies.
SEM. His saying in this none can control. [_Aside_.
CAL. None but such as list to make lies!
And if the fire of purgatory bren in such wise,
I had liever my spirit in brute beasts should be,
Than to go thither, and then to the deity.
SEM. Marry, sir, that is a spice of heresy.
CAL. Why so?
SEM. For ye speak like no Christian man.
CAL. I would thou knewest Melibaea worship I:
In her I believe, and her I love.
SEM. Ah, ah, then,
With thee Melibaea is a great woman;
I know on which foot thou dost halt on:
I shall shortly heal thee, my life thereupon!
CAL. An incredible thing thou dost promise me.
SEM. Nay, nay, it is easy enough to do;
But first, for to heal a man, knowledge must be
Of the sickness; then to give counsel thereto.
CAL. What counsel can rule him, Sempronio,
That keepeth in him no order of counsel?
SEM. Ah, is this Calisto? his fire now I know well;
How that love over him hath cast her net;
In whose perseverance is all inconstancy.
CAL. Why, is not Elisaeus' love and thine met?
SEM. What then?
CAL. Why reprovest me then of ignorance?
SEM. For thou settest man's dignity in obeisance
To the imperfection of the weak woman.
CAL. A woman? Nay, a god of goddesses.
SEM. Believest that then?
CAL. Yea, and as a goddess I here confess;
And I believe there is no such sovereign
In heaven, though she be in earth.
SEM. Peace, peace.
A woman a god! nay, to God, a villain.
Of your saying ye may be sorry.
CAL. It is plain.
SEM. Why so?
CAL. Because I love her, and think surely
To obtain my desire I am unworthy.
SEM. O fearful heart! why comparest thou with Nimrod
Or Alexander? of this world not lords only,
But worthy to subdue heaven, as saying go'th;
And thou reputest thyself more high
Than them both, and despairest so cowardly
To win a woman, of whom hath been so many
Gotten and ungotten, never heard of any?
It is recited in the Feast of Saint John:
This is the woman of ancient malice;
Of whom but of a woman was it sung on,
That Adam was expulsed from Paradise?
She put man to pain whom Eli did despise.
CAL. Then sith Adam gave him to their governance,
Am I greater than Adam myself to advance?
SEM. Nay, but of those men it were wisdom,
That overcame them to seek remedy,
And not of those that they did overcome.
Flee from their beginnings, eschew their folly:
Thou knowest they do evil things many.
They keep no mean, but rigour of intention;
Be it fair [or] foul, wilful without reason.
Keep them never so close, they will be showed,
Give tokens of love by many subtle ways:
Seeming to be sheep, and serpently shrewd:
Craft in them renewing, that never decays.
Their sayings and sightings provoking their plays.
Oh, what pain is to fulfil their appetites,
And to accomplish their wanton delights!
It is a wonder to see their dissembling,
Their flattering countenance, their ingratitude,
Inconstancy, false witness, feigned weeping:
Their vain-glory, and how they can delude:
Their foolishness, their jangling not mew'd:
Their lecherous lust and vileness therefore:
Witchcrafts and charms to make men to their lore:
Their embalming and their unshamefacedness:
Their bawdry, their subtlety, and fresh attiring!
What trimming, what painting, to make fairness!
Their false intents and flickering smiling:
Therefore lo! it is an old saying
That women be the devil's nets, and head of sin;
And man's misery in Paradise did begin--
CAL. But what thinkest thou by me yet for all this?
SEM. Marry, sir, ye were a man of clear wit,
Whom Nature hath endued with the best gifts,
As beauty and greatness of members perfit:
Strength, lightness; and beyond this each whit
Fortune hath parted with you of her influence,
For to be able of liberal expense.
For without goods, whereof Fortune is lady,
No man can have wealth. Therefore by conjecture
You should be beloved of everybody.
CAL. But not of Melibaea now I am sure;
And though thou hadst praised me without measure,
And compared me without comparison,
Yet she is above in every condition.
Behold her nobleness, her ancient lineage,
Her great patrimony, her excellent wit,
Her resplendent virtue, her portly courage,
Her godly grace, her sovereign beauty perfit!
No tongue is able well to express it;
But yet, I pray thee, let me speak awhile,
Myself to refresh in rehearsing of my style.
I begin at her hair, which is so goodly,
Crisped to her heels, tied with fine lace.
Far shining beyond fine gold of Araby:
I trow the sun colour to it may give place;
That who to behold it might have the grace,
Would say in comparison nothing countervails--
SEM. Then is it not like hair of ass-tails?
CAL. Oh, what foul comparison! this fellow rails.
Her gay glassing eyes so fair and bright;
Her brows, her nose in a mean no fashion fails;
Her mouth proper and feat, her teeth small and white;
Her lips ruddy, her body straight upright;
Her little teats to the eye is a pleasure.
Oh, what a joy it is to see such a figure!
Her skin of whiteness endarketh the snow,
With rose-colour ennewed. I thee ensure
Her little hands in mean manner--this no trow--
Her fingers small and long, with nails ruddy: most pure
Of proportion, none such in portraiture:
Without peer: worthy to have for fairness
The apple that Paris gave Venus the goodness.
SEM. Sir, have ye all done?
CAL. Yea, marry, what then?
SEM. I put case all this ye have said be true;
Yet are ye more noble, sith ye be a man.
SEM. She is imperfect, I would ye knew,
As all women be, and of less value.
Philosophers say the matter is less worthy
Than the form; so is woman to man surely.
CAL. I love not to hear this altercation
Between Melibaea and me her lover.
SEM. Possible it is in every condition
To abhor her as much as you do love her
In the woman beguiling is the danger,
That ye shall see hereafter with eyes free.
CAL. With what eyes?
SEM. With clear eyes, trust me.
CAL. Why, with what eyes do I see now?
SEM. With dim eyes, which show a little thing much.
But for ye shall not despair, I assure you
No labour nor diligence in me shall grutch:
So trusty and friendly ye shall find me such,
In all things possible that ye can acquire
The thing to accomplish to your desire.
CAL. God bring that to pass, so glad it is to me
To hear thee thus, though I hope not in thy doings.
SEM. Yet I shall do it, trust me for a surety.
CAL. God reward thee for thy gentle intending;
I give thee this chain of gold in rewarding.
SEM. Sir, God reward you, and send us good speed;
I doubt not but I shall perform it indeed.
But without rewards it is hard to work well.
CAL. I am content, so thou be not negligent.
SEM. Nay, be not you; for it passeth a marvel,
The master slow, the servant to be diligent.
CAL. How thinkest it can be? show me thine intent.
SEM. Sir, I have a neighbour, a mother of bawdry,
That can provoke the hard rocks to lechery.
In all evil deeds she is perfect wise.
I trow more than a thousand virgins
Have been destroyed by her subtle devices,
For she never faileth, where she begins:
Alone by this craft her living she wins.
Maids, wives, widows, and every one,
If she once meddle, there escapeth none.
CAL. How might I speak with her, Sempronio?
SEM. I shall bring her hither unto this place;
But ye must in any wise let rewards go,
And show her your griefs in every case.
CAL. Else were I not worthy to attain grace.
But, alas, Sempronio, thou tarriest too long.
SEM. Sir, God be with you.
CAL. Christ make thee strong! [_Exit Sem_.
The mighty and perdurable God be his guide,
As he guided the three kings into Bedlam
From the east by the star, and again did provide
As their conduct to return to their own realm;
So speed my Sempronio to quench the leme
Of this fire, which my heart doth waste and spend;
And that I may come to my desired end!
To pass the time now will I walk
Up and down within mine orchard,
And to myself go commune and talk;
And pray that fortune to me be not hard;
Longing to hear, whether made or marred,
My message shall return by my servant Sempronio.
Thus farewell, my lords; for a while I will go.
_Enter_ CELESTINA, _the bawd_.
CEL. Now the blessing that our lady gave her son,
That same blessing I give now to you all!
That I come thus homely, I pray you of pardon;
I am sought and send for as a woman universal.
Celestina, of truth, my name is to call;
Sempronio for me about doth inquire,
And it was told me I should have found him here.
I am sure he will come hither anon;
But the whilst I shall tell you a pretty game:
I have a wench of Sempronio's, a pretty one,
That sojourneth with me: Elicaea is her name.
But the last day we were both nigh a stark shame,
For Sempronio would have her to himself several;
And she loveth one Crito better or as well.
This Crito and Elicaea sat drinking
In my house, and I also making merry;
And as the devil would, far from our thinking,
Sempronio almost came on us suddenly.
But then wrought I my craft of bawdry;
I bade Crito go up, and make himself room
To hide him in my chamber among the broom.
Then made I Elicaea sit down a-sewing,
And I with my rock began for to spin;
As who saith of Sempronio we had no knowing.
He knocked at the door, and I let him in;
And for a countenance I did begin
To catch him in mine arms, and said, see, see!
Who kisseth me, Elicaea, and will not kiss thee?
Elicaea for a countenance made her grieved,
And would not speak, but still did sew.
Why speak ye not? quoth Sempronio, be ye moved?
Have I not a cause, quoth she? no, quoth he, I trow.
Ah! traitor, quoth she, full well dost thou know!
Where hast thou been these three days from me,
That the imposthumes and evil death take thee!
Peace, mine Elicaea, quoth he, why say ye thus?
Alas! why put you yourself in this woe?
The hot fire of love so brenneth between us,
That my heart is with yours, wherever I go;
And for three days' absence to say to me so,
In faith, methinketh, ye be to blame.
But now hark well, for here beginneth the game!
Crito, in my chamber above that was hidden,
I think lay not easily, and began to rumble;
Sempronio heard that, and asked who was within,
Above in the chamber that so did tumble.
Who? quoth she; a lover of mine! may-hap, ye stumble,
Quoth he, on the truth, as many one doth.
So up, quoth she, and look, whether it be sooth.
Well, quoth he, I go. Nay, thought I, not so,
I said, come, Sempronio, let this fool alone;
For of thy long absence she is in such woe,
And half beside herself, and her wit nigh gone.
Well, quoth he, above yet there is one.
Wilt thou know, quoth I? yea, quoth he, I thee require;
It is a wench, quoth I, sent me by a friar.
What friar? quoth he. Wilt thou needs know? quoth I; then
It is the friar ...
Oh, quoth he, what a load hath that woman
To bear him! Yea, quoth I; though women per case
Bear heavy full oft, yet they gall in no place.
Then he laughed; yea, quoth I, no more words of this
For this time; too long we spend here amiss.
SEM. O mother Celestine, I pray God prosper thee.
CEL. My son Sempronio, I am glad of our meeting.
And, as I hear say, ye go about to seek me?
SEM. Of truth, to seek you was mine hither coming.
Mother, lay apart now all other thing,
And alonely tend to me, and imagine
In that that I purpose now to begin.
Calisto in the love of fair Melibaea
Burneth; wherefore of thee he hath great need.
CEL. Thou say'st well, knowest not me Celestina?
I have the end of the matter, and for more speed
Thou shalt wade no farther; for of this deed
I am as glad, as ever was the surgeon
For salves for broke heads to make provision.
And so intend I to do to Calisto:
To give him hope and assure him remedy;
For long hope to the heart much trouble will do.
Wherefore to the effect thereof I will hie.
SEM. Peace, for methinketh Calisto is nigh.
_Intrat_ CALISTO _et_ PARMENO.
PAR. What say you?
CAL. Wottest who is here?
Sempronio! that reviveth my cheer.
PAR. It is Sempronio, with that old bearded whore.
Be ye they my master so sore fordoth long?
CAL. Peace, I say, Parmeno, or go out of the door!
Comest thou to hinder me? then dost thou me wrong;
I pray thee help for to make me more strong,
To win this woman: else, gods forbode,
She hath equal power of my life under God.
PAR. Wherefore to her do ye make such sorrow?
Think ye in her arse there is any shame?
The contrary who telleth you, be never his borrow;
For as much she glorifieth her in her name,
To be called an old whore, as ye would of fame.
Dogs in the street and children at every door
Bark and cry out, There goeth an old whore!
CAL. How knowest all this? dost thou know her?
PAR. Yea that [I do time long] agone
For a false whore, the devil overthrow her!
My mother, when she died, gave me to her alone,
And a starker bawd was there never none.
For that I know I dare well say:
Let see the contrary who can lay.
I have been at her house and seen her trinkets
For painting; things innumerable;
Squalms and balms; I wonder where she gets
The things that she hath with folks for to fable,
And to all bawdry ever agreeable.
Yet worse than that, which will never be laft,
Not only a bawd, but a witch by her craft.
CEL. Say what thou wilt, son, spare not me.
SEM. I pray thee, Parmeno, leave thy malicious envy.
[_Calisto goes aside_.
PAR. Hark hither, Sempronio, here is but we three;
In that I have said canst thou deny?
GAL. Come hence, Parmeno, I love not this, I;
And, good mother, grieve you not, I you pray.
My mind I shall show now, hark what I say.
O notable woman, O ancient virtue!
O glorious hope of my desired intent!
The end of my delectable hope to renew:
My regeneration to this life present,
Resurrection from death so excellent;
Thou art above [all] other. I desire humbly
To kiss thy hands, wherein lieth my remedy.
But mine unworthiness maketh resistance;
Yet worship I the ground that thou goest on,
Beseeching thee, good woman, with most reverence
On my pain with thy pity to look upon.
Without thy comfort my life is gone;
To revive my dead spirits thou may'st prefer me,
With the words of thy mouth to make or mar me.
CEL. Sempronio, can I live with these bones,
That thy master giveth me here for to eat?
Words are but wind; therefore at once
Bid him close his mouth, and to his purse get.
For money maketh [the] merchant, that must jet.
I have heard his words, but where be his deeds?
For without money with me nothing speeds. [_Aside_.
CAL. What saith she, Sempronio? alas, my heart bleeds,
That I with you, good woman, mistrust should be.
SEM. Sir, she thinketh that money all thing feeds.
CAL. Then come on, Sempronio, I pray thee, with me;
And tarry here, mother, awhile, I pray thee;
For where of mistrust ye have me appealed,
Have here my cloak, till your doubt be assoiled.
SEM. Now do ye well; for weeds among corn,
Nor suspicions with friends, did never well.
For faithfulness of words turned to a scorn
Maketh minds doubtful, good reason doth tell.
CAL. Come on, Sempronio, thou givest me good counsel.
SEM. Go ye before, and I shall wait you upon.
Farewell, mother, we will come again anon.
PAR. How say ye, my lords? see ye not this smoke,
In my master's eyes that they do cast?
The one hath his chain, the other his cloak;
And I am sure they will have all at last.
Ensample may be by this that is passed,
How servants be deceitful in their master's folly,
Nothing but for lucre is all their bawdry. [_Aside_.
CEL. It pleaseth me, Parmeno, that we together
May speak, whereby thou may'st see I love thee,
Yet undeserved now thou comest hither;
Whereof I care not; but virtue warneth me
To flee temptation, and follow charity:
To do good against ill, and so I read thee,
Sempronio, and I will help thy necessities.
And in token now that it shall so be,
I pray thee among us let us have a song.
For where harmony is, there is amity.
PAR. What, an old woman sing?
CEL. Why not among?
I pray thee no longer the time prolong.
PAR. Go to; when thou wilt, I am ready.
CEL. Shall I begin?
PAR. Yea, but take not too high. [_Cantant_.
CEL. How say ye now by this, little young fool?
For the third part Sempronio we must get.
After that thy master shall come to school
To sing the fourth part, that his purse shall sweat;
For I see craftly the song can set.
Though thy master be hoarse, his purse shall sing clear,
And taught to solf, that woman's flesh is dear.
How say'st to this, thou praty Parmeno?
Thou knowest not the world nor no delights therein:
Dost understand me? in faith, I trow no,
Thou art young enough the game to begin;
Thy master hath waded himself so far in,
And to bring him out lieth not in me, old poor--
PAR. Thou shouldst say it lieth not in me, old whore.
CEL. Ah, whoreson, a shame take such a knave!
How darest thou with me, thou boy, be so bold?
PAR. Because such knowledge of thee I have.
CEL. Why, who art?
PAR. Parmeno, son to Albert the old;
I dwelt with thee by the river, where wine was sold,
And thy mother, I trow, hight Claudena.
That a wild-fire bren thee, Celestina!
CEL. But thy mother was as old a whore as I.
Come hither, thou little fool, let me see thee:
Ah, it is even he, by our blessed lady!
What, little urchin, hast forgotten me?
When thou layest at my bed's-feet, how merry were we!
PAR. Ah, thou old matron, it were alms thou were dead!
How wouldest thou pluck me up to thy bed's head,
And embrace me hard unto thy belly!
And for thou smelled'st oldly, I ran from thee.
CEL. A shameful whoreson! fie upon thee, fie, fie!
Come hither, and now shortly I charge thee,
That all this foolish speaking thou let be.
Leave wantonness of youth; then shalt thou do well;
Follow the doctrine of thy elders and counsel.
To whom thy parents (on whose souls God have mercy!)
In pain of cursing bade thee be obedient.
In pain whereof, I command thee straitly,
Too much in mastership put not thine intent:
No trust is in them, if thine own be spent.
Masters nowadays covet to bring about
All for themselves, and let their servants go without.
Thy master, men say, and as I think he be,
But light care ich not--who come to his service;
Fair words shall not lack, but small rewards, trust me.
Make Sempronio thy friend in any wise;
For he can handle him in the best guise.
Keep this, and for thy profit: tell it to none;
But look that Sempronio and thou be one.
PAR. Mother Celestine, I wot not what ye mean;
Calisto is my master, and so I will take him,
And as for riches I defy it clean;
For whosoever with wrong rich doth make him,
Sooner than he gat it, it will forsake him.
I love to live in joyful poverty,
And to serve my master with truth and honesty.
CEL. Truth and honesty be riches of the name;
But surety of wealth is to have riches,
And after that for to get him good fame.
By report of friends, this is truth, doubtless;
Then no such manner friend can I express
As Sempronio, for both your profits to speed;
Which lieth in my hands now, if ye be agreed.
O Parmeno, what a life may we endure!
Sempronio loveth the daughter of Eliso--
PAR. And who? Arusa?
CEL. Likest her?
CEL. I shall get her to thee, that shall I do.
PAR. Nay, mother Celestine, I purpose not so.
A man should be conversant, I hear tell,
With them that be ill, and think to do well.
Sempronio, his ensample shall not make me
Better nor worse; nor his faults will I hide;
But, mother Celestine, a question to thee--
Is not sin anon in one espied?
That is drowned in delight, how should he provide
Against virtue to save his honesty?
CEL. Like a child without wisdom thou answerest me.
Without company mirth can have none estate:
Use no sloth; nature abhorreth idleness,
Which leseth delight to nature appropriate.
In sensual causes delight is chief mistress;
Specially recounting love's business.
To say thus doth she: the time thus they pass,
And such manner they use, and thus they kiss and bass;
And thus they meet and embrace together.
What speech, what grace, what plays is between them!
Where is she? there she goeth; let us see whither:
Now pleased, now froward; now mum, now hem!
Strike up, minstrel, with saws of love, the old problem.
Sing sweet songs; now jousts and tourney.
Of new inventions what conceits find they?
Now she goeth to mass; to-morrow she cometh out.
Behold her better; yonder goeth a cuckold.
I left her alone: she cometh: turn about!--
Lo thus, Parmeno, thou mayest behold
Friends will talk together, as I have told.
Wherefore perceive thou, that I say truly,
Never can be delight without company.
_Hic iterum intrat_ CALISTO.
CAL. Mother, as I promised to assoil thy doubt,
Here I give thee an hundred pieces of gold.
CEL. Sir, I promise you I shall bring it about,
All thing to purpose, even as ye would;
For your reward I will do as I should.
Be merry, fear nothing, content ye shall be.
CAL. Then, mother, farewell; be diligent, I pray thee.
How sayest, Sempronio, have I done well?
SEM. Yea, sir, in my mind, and most according.
CAL. Then wilt thou do after my counsel?
After this old woman will thou be hieing,
To remember and haste her in everything.
SEM. Sir, I am content, as ye command me.
CAL. Then go, and bid Parmeno come, I pray thee.
Now God be their guides! the posts of my life,
My relief from death, the ambassadors of my wealth!
My hope, my hap; my quietness, my strife;
My joy, my sorrow; my sickness, my health.
The hope of this old woman; my heart telleth
That comfort shall come shortly, as I intend.
Or else come, death, and make of me an end.
PAR. In faith, it maketh no force nor matter mich,
CAL. What sayest, Parmeno, what sayest to me?
PAR. Marry, I say plainly, that yonder old witch
And Sempronio together will undo thee.
CAL. Ah, ill-tongued wretch, will ye not see?
Thinkest thou, lurden, thou handlest me fair?
Why, knave, wouldest thou put me in despair?
PAR. Lo, sirs, my master, ye see, is angry;
But this it is, tell fools for their profit,
Or warn them for their wealth, it is but folly;
For strike them on the heel, and as much wit
Shall come forth at their forehead to perceive it.
Go thy way, Calisto, for on my charge
Thy thrift is sealed up, though thou be at large.
Oh, how unhappy I am to be true;
For other men win by falsehood and flattery:
I lose for my truth: the world doth so ensue,
Truth is put back, and taken for folly.
Therefore now I will change my copy.
If I had done, as Celestine bad me,
Calisto to his mission still would have had me.
This giveth me warning from henceforward
How to deal with him for all thing as he will:
I will [be] the same forward or backward.
I will go straight to him, and follow him still:
Say as he saith, be it good or ill;
And sith these bawds get good provoking lechery,
I trust flattery shall speed as well as bawdry.
_Hic exeat_ PARMENO _et intret_ MELIBAEA.
MEL. I pray you, came this woman here never sin'?
In faith, to enter here I am half adrad;
And yet why so? I may boldly come in:
I am sure from you all I shall not be had.
But, Jesus, Jesus, be these men so mad
On women, as they say? how should it be?
It is but fables and lies, ye may trust me.
CEL. God be here!
MEL. Who is there?
CEL. Will ye buy any thread?
MEL. Yea, marry, good mother, I pray you come in.
CEL. Christ save you, fair mistress, and God be your speed;
And health be to you and your kin;
And Mary, God's mother, that blessed virgin,
Preserve and prosper your womanly personage,
And well to enjoy your youth and pucellage!
For that time pleasures are most escheved;
And age is the hospital of all manner sickness,
The resting-place of all thought unrelieved;
The sport of time, past the end of all quickness:
Neighbour to death; a dry stock without sweetness:
Discomfort, disease all age alloweth;
A tree without sap, that small charge boweth.
MEL. I marvel, mother, ye speak so much ill
Of age, that all folk desire effectuously.
CEL. They desire hurt for themselves as all of will;
And the cause why they desire to come thereby,
Is for to live; for death is so loathly.
He that is sorrowful would live to be sorrier,
And he that is old would live to be older.
Fair damsel, who can show all the hurts of age?
His weariness, feebleness, his discontenting;
His childishness, frowardness of his rage;
Wrinkling in the face, lack of sight and hearing;
Hollowness of mouth, fall of teeth, faint of going;
And, worst of all, possessed with poverty,
And the limbs arrested with debility.
MEL. Mother, ye have taken great pain for age,
Would ye not return to the beginning?
CEL. Fools are they that are past their passage,
To begin again, which be at the ending;
For better is possession than the desiring.
MEL. I desire to live longer; do I well, or no?
CEL. That ye desire well, I think not so;
For as soon goeth to market the lamb's fell
As the sheep's; none so old but may live a year;
And there is none so young but, ye wot well,
May die in a day. Then no advantage is here
Between youth and age; the matter is clear.
MEL. With thy fabling and thy reasoning, i-wis,
I am beguiled; but I have known thee ere this:
Art not Celestine, that dwelleth by the river side?
CEL. Yea, forsooth.
MEL. Indeed, age hath arrayed thee!
That thou art she, now can scant be espied.
Me thinketh by thy favour thou shouldest be she:
Thou art sore changed, thou mayest believe me.
CEL. Fair maiden, keep thou well this time of youth;
But beauty shall pass at the last, this is truth:
Yet I am not so old as ye judge me.
MEL. Good mother, I joy much of thine accointenance,
And thy motherly reasons right well please me.
And now I thank thee here for thy pastance.
Farewell, till another time, that hap may chance,
Again that we two may meet together.
Mayhap ye have business, I know not whither.
CEL. O angelic image! O heart so precious!
Oh, how thou speakest, it rejoiceth me to hear.
Knowest thou not by the divine mouth gracious,
That against the infernal fiend Lucifer
We should not only live by bread here,
But by our good works, wherein I take some pain:
If ye know not my mind now, all is in vain.
MEL. Show me, mother, hardily all thy necessity,
And, if I can, I shall provide the remedy.
CEL. My necessity! nay, God wot, it is not for me:
As for mine, I left it at home surely.
To eat when I will, and drink when I am dry;
And I thank God ever one penny hath been mine,
To buy bread when I list, and to have four for wine.
Before I was widow, I cared never for it,
For I had wine enough of mine own to sell;
And with a toast in wine by the fire I could sit,
With two dozen sops the colic to quell;
But now with me it is not so well,
For I have nothing but that is brought me
In a pitcher-pot of quarts scant three.
Thus I pray God help them that be needy;
For I speak not for myself alone,
But as well for other, however speed I.
The infirmity is not mine, though that I groan,
It is for another that I make moan,
And not for myself: it is another way,
But what I must moan, where I dare not say.
MEL. Say what thou wilt, and for whom thou lest.
CEL. Now, gracious damsel, I thank you then,
That to give audience ye be so prest,
With liberal readiness to me old woman,
Which giveth me boldness to show what I can
Of one that lieth in danger by sickness
Remitting his languor to your gentleness.
MEL. What meanest thou, I pray thee, gentle mother?
Go forth with thy demand, as thou hast done.
On the one part thou provokest me to anger,
And on the other side to compassion:
I know not how thy answer to fashion.
The words which thou speakest in my presence
Be so misty, I perceive not thy sentence.
CEL. I said I left one in danger of sickness,
Drawing to death for ought that I can see:
Now choose you or no to be murderess,
Or revive him with a word to come from thee?
MEL. I am happy, if my word be of such necessity,
To help any Christian man, or else gods forbid:
To do a good deed is liking to God,
For good deeds to good men be allowable,
And specially to needy above all other;
And ever to good deeds ye shall find me agreeable,
Trusting ye will exhort me to none other.
Therefore, fear not, speak your petition, good mother,
For they that may heal sick folk, and do refuse them,
Surely of their death they cannot excuse them.
CEL. Full well and graciously the case ye consider,
For I never believed that God in vain
Would give you such countenance and beauty together,
But charity therewith to relieve folk in pain;
And as God hath given you, so give him again.
For folks be not made for themselves only,
For then they should live like beasts all rudely,
Among which beasts yet some be pitiful,
The unicorn humbleth himself to a maid;
And a dog in all his power ireful,
Let a man fall to ground, his anger is delayed:
Thus by nature pity is conveyed.
The cock, when he scrapeth, and happeth meat to find,
Calleth for his hens: lo! see the gentle kind!
Should human creatures then be of cruelness?
Should not they to their neighbours show charity,
And specially to them wrapped in sickness,
When they that may heal them cause the infirmity?
MEL. Mother, without delay, for God's sake show me,
I pray thee heartily, without more praying,
Where is the patient that so is paining.
CEL. Fair damsel, thou mayest well have knowledge hereto:
That in this city is a young knight,
And of clear lineage, called Calisto,
Whose life and body is all in thee, I plight.
The pelican, to show nature's right,
Feedeth his birds,--methinketh I should not preach thee!
Thou wotest what I mean, as nature should teach thee.
MEL. Ha, ha, is this the intent of thy conclusion?
Tell me no more of this matter, I charge thee.
Is this the dolent for whom thou makest petition?
Art thou come hither thus to deceive me?
Thou bearded dame, shameless thou seemest to be!
Is this he that hath the passion of foolishness?
Thinkest, thou ribald, I am such an one of lewdness?
It is not said, I see well, in vain:
The tongue of man and woman worst members be;
Thou brute bawd, thou great enemy to honesty, certain;
Cause of secret errors: Jesu, Jesu, benedicite
Some good body take this old thief from me,
That thus would me deceive with her false sleight!
Go out of my sight now! get thee hence straight!
CEL. In an evil hour came I hither, I may say;
I would I had broken my legs twain.
MEL. Go hence, thou brothel, go hence, in the devil way!
Bidest thou yet to increase my pain?
Wilt thou make me of this fool to be fain?
To give him life, to make him merry,
And to myself death, to make me sorry?
Wilt thou bear away profit for my perdition,
And make me lese the house of my father,
To win the house of such an old matron
As thou art, shamefullest of all other?
Thinkest thou that I understand not, thou false mother,
Thy hurtful message, thy false subtle ways?
Make amends to God, thou livest too long days!
Answer, thou traitress, how darest be so bold?
CEL. The fear of thee maketh me so dismayed,
That the blood of my body is almost cold.
Alas! fair maiden, what hast thou said
To me poor widow? why am I denied?
Hear my conclusion, which is of honesty;
Without cause ye blame this gentleman and me.
MEL. I say I will hear no more of that fool:
Was he not here with me even now?
Thou old witch, thou bringest me in great dole:
Ask him what answer he had of me, and how
I took his demand, as now know mayest thou,
More showing is but lost, where no mercy can be.
Thus I answered him, and thus I answer thee.
CEL. The more strange she maketh, the gladder am I:
There is no tempest, that ever doth endure. [_Aside_.
MEL. What say'st thou, what say'st, thou shameful enemy?
CEL. So 'feard I am of your displeasure;
Your anger is so great, I perceive it sure,
And your patience is in so great an heat,
That for woe and fear I both weep and sweat.
MEL. Little is the heat in comparison to say
To the great boldness of thy demeaning.
CEL. Fair maiden, yet one word, now I you pray:
Appease with patience, and bear my saying.
It is for a prayer, mistress, my demanding,
That is said ye have of Saint Appoline,
For the toothache, whereof this man is in pain.
And the girdle there thou wearest about thee,
And so many holy relics it hath touched,
That this knight thinketh his boot thou may'st be.
Therefore let thy pity now be avouched;
For my heart for fear like a dog is couched.
The delight of vengeance whoso doth use,
Pity at their need shall them refuse.
MEL. If this be true, that thou say'st to me now,
Mine heart is lightened, perceiving the case:
I would be content well, if I wist how,
To bring this sick knight unto some solace.
CEL. Fair damsel, to thee be health and grace:
For if this knight and ye were acquainted both two,
Ye would not judge him the man that ye do.
By God and by my soul, in him is no melancholy:
With grace endued in freedom as Alexander,
In strength as Hector, in countenance merry:
Gracious, envy in him reigned never.
Of noble blood, as thou knowest, and if ye ever
Saw him armed, he seemeth a Saint George.
Rather than to be made in nature's forge,
An angel thou would'st judge him, I make a vow.
The gentle Narcissus was never so fair,
That was enamoured on his own shadow;
Wherefore, fair maid, let thy pity repair:
Let mercy be thy mother, and thou her heir.
This knight, whom I come for, never ceaseth.
But crieth out of pain, that still increaseth.
MEL. How long time, I pray thee, hath it holden him?
CEL. I think he be twenty-four years of age;
I saw him born, and holp for to fold him.
MEL. I demand thee not thereof: thine answer assuage;
I ask thee how long in this painful rage
He hath lain?
CEL. Of truth, fair maiden, as he says,
He hath be in this agony this eight days.
But he seemeth, [as] he had lain this seven year.
MEL. Oh, how it grieveth me the ill of my patient,
Knowing his agony and thy innocency here.
Unto mine anger thou hast made resistance,
Wherefore thy demand I grant in recompense.
Have here my girdle: the prayer is not ready;
To-morrow it shall be: come again secretly.
And, mother, of these words passed between us
Show nothing thereof unto this knight,
Lest he would report me cruel and furious.
I trust thee now be true, for thoughts be light.
CEL. I marvel greatly thou dost me so atwite
Of the doubt, that thou hast of my secretness:
As secret as thyself I shall be doubtless.
And to Calisto with this girdle Celestina
Shall go, and his leady heart make whole and light.
For Gabriel to our lady with Ave Maria
Came never gladder than I shall to this knight.
Calisto, how wilt thou now sit upright?
I have showed thy water to thy physician:
Comfort thyself: the field is half-won. [_Aside_.
MEL. Mother, he is much beholden unto thee.
CEL. Fair maiden, for the mercy thou hast done to us
This knight and I both thy beadfolks shall be.
MEL. Mother, if need be, I will do more than thus.
CEL. It shall be needful to do so and righteous;
For this thus begun must needs have an end,
Which never can be without ye condescend.
MEL. Well, mother, to-morrow is a new day:
I shall perform that I have you promised.
Show to this sick knight in all that I may.
Bid him be bold in all things honest,
And though he to me as yet be but a guest,
If my word or deed his health may support,
I shall not fail; and thus bid him take comfort.
CEL. Now, Christ comfort thee, and keep thee in thy need!
Now say you, now is not this matter carried clear?
Cannot old Celestina her matter speed?
A thing not well handled is not worth a bean.
Now know ye by the half tale what the whole doth mean:
These women at the first be angry and furious:
Fair weather cometh after storms tempestuous.
And now to Calisto I will me dress,
Which lieth now languishing in great pain,
And show him that he is not remediless;
And bear him this to make him glad and fain;
And handle him, so that ye shall see plain,
That I am well worthy to bear the name,
For to be called a noble arch dame. [_Exit_.
_Intrat_ DANIO _pater_ MELIBAEAE.
O marvellous God, what a dream had I to-night!
Most terrible vision to report and hear!
I had never none such, nor none yearthly wight.
Alas! when I think thereon, I quake for fear;
It was of Melibaea, my daughter dear.
God send me good tidings of her shortly,
For, till I hear from her, I cannot be merry.
MEL. O dear father, nothing may me more displease,
Nothing may do me more annoyance,
Nothing may do me greater disease,
Than to see you, father, in any perturbance,
For me chiefly, or for any other chance.
But for me I pray you not to be sad,
For I have no cause but to be merry and glad.
DAN. O sweet Melibaea, my daughter dear,
I am replete with joy and felicity,
For that ye be now in my presence here,
As I perceive, in joy and prosperity;
From death to life me thinketh it reviveth me;
For the fearful dream that I had lately.
MEL. What dream, sir, was that, I pray you heartily?
DAN. Doubtless, me thought that I was walking
In a fair orchard, where were places two:
The one was a hot bath, wholesome and pleasing
To all people that did repair thereto,
To wash them and clean them from sickness also;
The other a pit of foul stinking water;
Shortly they died, all that therein did enter.
And unto this wholesome bath methought that ye
In the right path were coming apace,
But before that methought that I did see
A foul, rough bitch--a prick-eared cur it was--
Which straking her body along on the grass,
And with her tail licked her so, that she
Made herself a fair spaniel to be.
This bitch then (methought) met you in the way,
Leaping and fawning upon you apace,
And round about you did run and play,
Which made you then disport and solace;
Which liked you so well, that in short space
The way to the hot bath anon ye left it,
And took the straight way to the foul pit.
And ever ye looked continually
Upon that same bitch, and so much her eyed,
That ye came to the foul pit-brink suddenly,
Like to have fallen in, and to have been destroyed,
Which when I saw, anon then I cried,
Starting in my sleep, and therewith did awake;
That yet for fear, methink, my body doth quake.
Was not this a fearful dream and marvellous?
I pray you, daughter, what think ye now to this?
_Hic_ MELIBAEA _certo tempore non loquitur, sed vultu lamentabili
Why speak ye not? why be ye now so studious?
Is there anything that hath chanced you amiss?
I am your father: tell me what it is.
MEL. Alas, now your dream, which ye have expressed,
Hath made me all pensive and sore abashed.
DAN. I pray you, dear daughter, now tell me why?
MEL. Sir, I know the cause of your vision,
And what your dreadful dream doth signify.
DAN. Thereof would I fain now have knowlition.
MEL. Alas, dear father, alas, what have I done?
Offended God as a wretch unworthy!
DAN. Wherein? despair not; God is full of mercy.
MEL. Then on my knees now I fall down,
And of God chiefly asking forgiveness;
And next of you; for into oblivion
I have put your doctrine and lessons doubtless.
DAN. Fear not, daughter, I am not merciless;
I trust ye have not so greatly offended,
But that right well it may be amended.
MEL. Ye have fostered me up full lovingly
In virtuous discipline, which is the right path
To all grace and virtue; which doth signify
By your dream the fair, pleasant, wholesome bath:
The foul pit, whereof ye dreamed, which hath
Destroyed so many, betokeneth vice and sin,
In which, alas, I had almost fallen in.
The prick-eared cur and the foul bitch,
Which made herself so smooth and fair to see,
Betokeneth an old quean, a bawdy witch,
Called Celestina, that woe might she be!
Which with her fair words aye so persuaded me,
That she had almost brought me hereunto,
To fulfil the foul lust of Calisto.
DAN. Alas, dear daughter, I taught you a lesson,
Which way ye should attain unto virtue:
That was every morning to say an orison,
Praying God for grace all vice to eschew.
MEL. O dear father, that lesson I have kept true;
Which preserved me, for though I did consent
In mind, yet had he never his intent.
DAN. The virtue of that prayer, I see well one thing,
Hath preserved you from the shame of that sin;
But because ye were somewhat consenting,
Ye have offended God greatly therein;
Wherefore, daughter, ye must now begin
Humbly to beseech God of His mercy
For to forgive you your sin and misery.
MEL. O blessed Lord, and father celestial,
Whose infinite mercy no tongue can express,
Though I be a sinner, wretch of wretches all,
Yet of thy great mercy grant me forgiveness.
Full sore I repent, my sin I confess:
Intending henceforth never to offend more:
Now humbly I beseech thy mercy therefore.
DAN. Now that is well said, mine own fair daughter;
Stand up therefore, for I know verily,
That God is good and merciful ever
To all sinners which will ask mercy,
And be repentant and in will clearly
To sin no more. He of His great goodness
Will grant them therefore His grace and forgiveness.
Lo, here ye may see, what a thing it is
To bring up young people virtuously,
In good custom; for grace doth never miss
To them that use good prayers daily,
Which hath preserved this maid undoubtedly,
And kept her from actual deed of shame:
Brought her to grace: preserved her good name.
Wherefore, ye virgins and fair maidens all,
Unto this example now take good heed;
Serve God daily; the sooner ye shall
To honesty and goodness no doubt proceed;
And God shall send you ever his grace at need
To withstand all evil temptations,
That shall come to you by any occasions.
And ye, fathers, mothers, and other, which be
Rulers of young folks, your charge is doubtless
To bring them up virtuously, and to see
Them occupied still in some good business;
Not in idle pastime or unthriftiness,
But to teach them some art, craft, or learning,
Whereby to be able to get their living.
The bringers-up of youth in this region
Have done great harm because of their negligence,
Not putting them to learning nor occupations:
So, when they have no craft nor science,
And come to man's state, ye see the experience,
That many of them compelled be
To beg or steal by very necessity.
But if there be therefore any remedy,
The heads and rulers must first be diligent
To make good laws, and execute them straitly,
Upon such masters that be negligent.
Alas! we make no laws, but punishment,
When men have offended. But laws evermore
Would be made to prevent the cause before.
If the cause of the mischiefs were seen before,
Which by conjecture to fall be most likely,
And good laws and ordinance made therefore
To put away the cause, that were best remedy.
What is the cause, that there be so many
Thefts and robberies? It is because men be
Driven thereto by need and poverty.
And what is the very cause of that need?
Because they labour not for their living;
And truth is, they cannot well labour indeed,
Because in youth of their idle upbringing.
But this thing shall never come to reforming,
But the world continually shall be nought,
As long as young people be evil up-brought.
Wherefore the eternal God, that reigneth on high,
Send his merciful grace and influence
To all governors, that they circumspectly
May rule their inferiors by such prudence,
To bring them to virtue and due obedience,
And that they and we all by his great mercy
May be partners of his blessed glory.
EVERYMAN: A MORAL PLAY.
For a list of the editions, see Hazlitt_ ut infra. _A facsimile of the
title-page of one of the editions by Skot is here given. Neither of the
editions by Pynson has the title_.
This morality, or moral play, was published early in the reign of Henry
VIII., and is given from a black-letter copy, preserved in the
library of the church of Lincoln. It was communicated to the editor with
the greatest politeness by the Rev. Dr Stinton, chancellor of that
church. The design of it was to inculcate great reverence for old mother
church and her Popish superstitions.
As the most ingenious Dr Percy has given an analysis of this and the
following moralities, they are, with his permission, prefixed to the
present edition:--"The subject of this piece is the summoning of man out
of the world by death; and its moral, that nothing will then avail him
but a well-spent life and the comforts of religion. This subject and
moral are opened in a monologue spoken by the Messenger (for that was the
name generally given by our ancestors to the prologue on their rude
stage). Then God is represented, who, after some general complaints on
the degeneracy of mankind, calls for Death, and orders him to bring
before his tribunal Everyman, for so is called the personage who
represents the human race. Everyman appears, and receives the summons
with all the marks of confusion and terror. When Death is withdrawn,
Everyman applies for relief in this distress to Fellowship, Kindred,
Goods, or Riches, but they successfully renounce and forsake him. In this
disconsolate state he betakes himself to Good Deeds, who, after
upbraiding him with his long neglect of her, introduces him to her sister
Knowledge, and she leads him to the holy man Confession, who appoints him
penance; this he inflicts upon himself on the stage, and then withdraws
to receive the sacraments of the priest. On his return he begins to wax
faint; and, after Strength, Beauty, Discretion, and Five Wits, have all
taken their final leave of him, gradually expires on the stage; Good
Deeds still accompanying him to the last. Then an angel descends to sing
his _requiem_; and the epilogue is spoken by a person called Doctor, who
recapitulates the whole, and delivers the moral.
'This moral men may have in mind;
Ye hearers, take it of worth old and young,
And forsake pride, for he deceiveth you in the end,
And remember Beauty, Five Wits, Strength, and Discretion.
They all at the last do Everyman forsake;
Save his Good Deeds there doth he take:
But beware, and they be small,
Before God he hath no help at all.'
"From this short analysis it may be observed that Everyman is a grave,
solemn piece, not without some rude attempts to excite terror and pity,
and therefore may not improperly be referred to the class of tragedy. It
is remarkable that in this old simple drama the fable is conducted upon
the strictest model of the Greek tragedy. The action is simply one, the
time of action is that of the performance, the scene is never changed,
nor the stage ever empty. Everyman, the hero of the piece, after his
first appearance, never withdraws, except when he goes out to receive the
sacrament, which could not well be exhibited in public; and during this,
Knowledge descants on the excellence and power of the priesthood,
somewhat after, the manner of the Greek chorus. And, indeed, except in
the circumstance of Everyman's expiring on the stage, the 'Samson
Agonistes' of Milton is hardly formed on a severer plan."
The woodcuts accompanying this and the succeeding piece (_Hickescorner_),
occur in the original editions by Skot, and presumably were also in those
KINDRED. FIVE WITS.
GOOD DEEDS. DOCTOR.
HERE BEGINNETH A TREATISE HOW THE HIGH FATHER OF HEAVEN SENDETH DEATH TO
EVERY CREATURE TO COME AND GIVE ACCOUNT OF THEIR LIVES IN THIS WORLD, AND
IS IN MANNER OF A MORAL PLAY.
I Pray you all give your audience,
And hear this matter with reverence,
By figure a moral play;
The Summoning of Everyman called it is,
That of our lives and ending shows,
How transitory we be all day:
This matter is wonders precious,
But the intent of it is more gracious,
And sweet to bear away.
The story saith: man, in the beginning
Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
Be you never so gay:
Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep,
When the body lieth in clay.
Here shall you see how Fellowship and Jollity,
Both Strength, Pleasure, and Beauty,
Will fade from thee as flower in May;
For ye shall hear, how our Heaven King
Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning:
Give audience, and hear what he doth say.
I perceive here in my Majesty,
How that all creatures be to me unkind,
Living without dread in worldly prosperity:
Of ghostly sight the people be so blind,
Drowned in sin, they knew me not for their God;
In worldly riches is all their mind,
They fear not my rightwiseness, the sharp rod;
My law that I showed, when I for them died,
They forget clean, and shedding of my blood red;
I hanged between two, it cannot be denied;
To get them life I suffered to be dead;
I healed their feet, with thorns hurt was my head:
I could do no more than I did truly,
And now I see the people do clean forsake me:
They use the seven deadly sins damnable,
As pride, covetise, wrath, and lechery,
Now in the world be made commendable:
And thus they leave, of angels the heavenly company,
Every man liveth so after his own pleasure,
And yet of their life they be nothing sure:
I see the more that I them forbear
The worse they be from year to year;
All that liveth appaireth fast,
Therefore I will in all the haste
Have a reckoning of every man's person;
For, and I leave the people thus alone
In their life and wicked tempests,
Verily they will become much worse than beasts;
For now one would by envy another up eat;
Charity they do all clean forget.
I hoped well that every man
In my glory should make his mansion,
And thereto I had them all elect;
But now I see, like traitors deject,
They thank me not for the pleasure that I to them meant,
Nor yet for their being that I them have lent;
I proffered the people great multitude of mercy,
And few there be that asketh it heartly;
They be so cumbered with worldly riches,
That needs on them I must do justice,
On every man living without fear.
Where art thou, Death, thou mighty messenger?
Almighty God, I am here at your will,
Your commandment to fulfil.
Go thou to Everyman,
And show him in my name
A pilgrimage he must on him take,
Which he in no wise may escape;
And that he bring with him a sure reckoning
Without delay or any tarrying.
Lord, I will in the world go run over all,
And cruelly out-search both great and small;
Every man will I beset that liveth beastly,
Out of God's laws, and dreadeth not folly:
He that loveth riches I will strike with my dart,
His sight to blind, and fro heaven to depart,
Except that alms be his good friend,
In hell for to dwell, world without end.
Lo, yonder I see Everyman walking:
Full little he thinketh on my coming:
His mind is on fleshly lusts and his treasure;
And great pain it shall cause him to endure
Before the Lord, heaven's King.
Everyman, stand still; whither art thou going
Thus gaily? hast thou thy Maker forgot?
Why askest thou? Wouldest thou wit?
Yea, sir, I will show you; in great haste I am sent to thee
Fro God out of his Majesty.
What! sent to me?
Though you have forgot him here,
He thinketh on thee in the heavenly sphere;
As, ere we depart, thou shalt know.
What desireth God of me?
That shall I show thee;
A reckoning he will needs have
Without any lenger respite.
To give a reckoning longer leisure I crave;
This blind matter troubleth my wit.
On thee thou must take a long journey,
Therefore thy book of count with thee thou bring,
For turn again thou cannot by no way:
And look thou be sure of thy reckoning;
For before God thou shalt answer and show
Thy many bad deeds, and good but a few,
How thou hast spent thy life, and in what wise,
Before the chief lord of paradise.
Have ado that we were in that way,
For, wit thou well, thou shalt make none attorney.
Full unready I am such reckoning to give:
I know thee not; what messenger art thou?
I am Death, that no man dreadeth;
For every man I 'rrest, and no man spareth,
For it is God's commandment
That all to me should be obedient.
O Death, thou comest, when I had thee least in mind;
In thy power it lieth me to save;
Yet of my good will I give thee, if thou will be kind,
Yea, a thousand pounds shalt thou have,
And [thou] defer this matter till another day.
Everyman, it may not be by no way;
I set not by gold, silver, nor riches,
Ne by pope, emperor, king, duke, ne princes;
For, and I would receive gifts great,
All the world I might get;
But my custom is clean contrary;
I give thee no respite, come hence, and not tarry.
Alas! shall I have no lenger respite?
I may say Death giveth no warning:
To think on thee it maketh my heart sick;
For all unready is my book of reckoning:
But, [for] twelve year and I might have abiding,
My counting-book I would make so clear,
That my reckoning I should not need to fear.
Wherefore, Death, I pray thee for God's mercy,
Spare me, till I be provided of remedy.
Thee availeth not to cry, weep, and pray:
But haste thee lightly, that thou wert gone this journey;
And prove thy friends, if thou can;
For, wit thou well, the tide abideth no man,
And in the world each living creature
For Adam's sin must die of nature.
Death, if I should this pilgrimage take,
And my reckoning surely make,
Show me, for Saint Charity,
Should I not come again shortly?
No, Everyman, and thou be once there,
Thou mayest never more come here,
Trust me verily.
O gracious God, in the high seat celestial,
Have mercy on me in this most need.
Shall I have no company from this vale terrestrial
Of mine acquaince, that way me to lead?
Yea, if any be so hardy,
That would go with thee, and bear thee company:
Hie thee that thou were gone to God's magnificence,
Thy reckoning to give before his presence.
What, weenest thou thy life is given thee,
And thy worldly goods also?
I had ween'd so verily.
Nay, nay; it was but lend thee;
For, as soon as thou art gone,
Another awhile shall have it, and then go therefro,
Even as thou hast done.
Everyman, thou art mad, thou hast thy wits five,
And here on earth will not amend thy life;
For suddenly I do come.
O wretched caitiff, whither shall I flee,
That I might escape this endless sorrow!
Now, gentle Death, spare me till to-morrow,
That I may amend me
With good advisement.
Nay, thereto I will not consent,
Nor no man will I respite;
But to the heart suddenly I shall smite
Without any advisement.
And now out of thy sight I will me hie;
See thou make thee ready shortly,
For thou mayest say, this is the day
That no man living may 'scape away.
Alas! I may well weep with sighs deep:
Now have I no manner of company
To help me in my journey, and me to keep;
And also my writing is full unready.
How shall I do now for to excuse me!
I would to God I had never be got;
To my soul a full great profit it had be;
For now I fear pains huge and great.
The time passeth: Lord, help, that all wrought!
For though I mourn, it availeth nought:
The day passeth, and is almost ago;
I wot not well what for to do.
To whom were I best my complaint to make?
What, and I to Fellowship thereof spake,
And showed him of this sudden chance!
For in him is all mine affiance;
We have in the world so many a day
Be good friends in sport and play,
I see him yonder certainly;
I trust that he will bear me company,
Therefore to him will I speak to ease my sorrow,
Well met, good Fellowship, and good morrow.
Everyman, good morrow, by this day:
Sir, why lookest thou so piteously?
If anything be amiss, I pray thee, me say,
That I may help to remedy.
Yea, good Fellowship, yea;
I am in great jeopardy.
My true friend, show to me your mind;
I will not forsake thee, to my life's end,
In the way of good company.
That was well spoken and lovingly.
Sir, I must needs know your heaviness;
I have pity to see you in any distress:
If any have you wronged, ye shall revenged be,
Though I on the ground be slain for thee;
Though that I know before that I should die.
Verily, Fellowship, gramercy.
Tush! by thy thanks I set not a straw;
Show me your grief, and say no more.
If I my heart should to you break,
And then you to turn your mind fro me,
And would not me comfort, when ye hear me speak,
Then should I ten times sorrier be.
Sir, I say as I will do in deed.
Then be you a good friend at need;
I have found you true here-before.
And so ye shall evermore;
For in faith, and thou go to hell,
I will not forsake thee by the way.
Ye speak like a good friend, I believe you well;
I shall deserve it, and I may.
I speak of no deserving, by this day;
For he that will say and nothing do,
Is not worthy with good company to go:
Therefore show me the grief of your mind,
As to your friend most loving and kind.
I shall show you how it is:
Commanded I am to go a journey,
A long way, hard and dangerous;
And give a strait account without delay
Before the High Judge Adonai;
Wherefore, I pray you, bear me company,
As ye have promised in this journey.
That is matter indeed; promise is duty;
But, and I should take such a voyage on me,
I know it well, it should be to my pain:
Also it make[s] me afeard certain.
But let us take counsel here as well as we can,
For your words would fear a strong man.
Why, ye said, if I had need,
Ye would me never forsake, quick ne dead,
Though it were to hell truly.
So I said certainly;
But such pleasures be set aside, the sooth to say,
And also if ye took such a journey,
When should we come again?
Nay, never again till the day of doom.
In faith, then will not I come there:
Who hath you these tidings brought?
Indeed, Death was with me here.
Now, by God that all hath bought,
If Death were the messenger,
For no man that is living to-day
I will not go that loath journey,
Not for the father that begat me.
Ye promised otherwise, pardy.
I wot well I said so truly,
And yet if thou wilt eat and drink, and make good cheer,
Or haunt to women the lusty company,
I would not forsake you, while the day is clear,
Trust me verily.
Yea, thereto ye would be ready;
To go to mirth, solace and play,
Your mind will sooner apply
Than to bear me company in my long journey.
Now, in good faith, I will not that way;
But, and thou will murder, or any man kill,
In that I will help thee with a good will.
Oh, that is a simple advice indeed:
Gentle fellows[hip,] help me in my necessity;
We have loved long, and now I need,
And now, gentle Fellowship, remember me.
Whether ye have loved me or no,
By Saint John, I will not with thee go.
Yet, I pray thee, take the labour, and do so much for me,
To bring me forward, for Saint Charity,
And comfort me, till I come without the town.
Nay, and thou would give me a new gown,
I will not a foot with thee go;
But, and thou had tarried, I would not have left thee so:
And as now God speed thee in thy journey!
For from thee I will depart, as fast as I may.
Whither away, Fellowship? will you forsake me?
Yea, by my fay; to God I betake thee.
Farewell, good Fellowship; for this my heart is sore:
Adieu for ever, I shall see thee no more.
In faith, Everyman, farewell now at the end;
For you I will remember that parting is mourning.
Alack! shall we thus depart in deed,
O Lady, help, without any more comfort,
Lo, Fellowship forsaketh me in my most need:
For help in this world whither shall I resort?
Fellowship here before with me would merry make;
And now little sorrow for me doth he take.
It is said, in prosperity men friends may find,
Which in adversity be full unkind.
Now whither for succour shall I flee,
Sith that Fellowship hath forsaken me?
To my kinsmen I will truly,
Praying them to help me in my necessity;
I believe that they will do so;
For kind will creep, where it may not go.
I will go say; for yonder I see them go:
Where be ye now, my friends and kinsmen [lo?]
Here be we now at your commandment:
Cousin, I pray thee, show us your intent
In any wise, and do not spare.
Yea, Everyman, and to us declare
If ye be disposed to go any whither;
For, wot ye well, we will live and die together.
In wealth and woe we will with you hold;
For over his kin a man may be bold.
Gramercy, my friends and kinsmen kind,
Now shall I show you the grief of my mind.
I was commanded by a messenger,
That is an high king's chief officer;
He bad me go on pilgrimage to my pain,
But I know well I shall never come again:
Also I must give a reckoning strait;
For I have a great enemy that hath me in wait,
Which intendeth me for to hinder.
What account is that which ye must render?
That would I know.
Of all my works I must show,
How I have lived, and my days spent;
Also of ill deeds that I have used
In my time, sith life was me lent,
And of all virtues that I have refused:
Therefore, I pray you, go thither with me
To help to make mine account, for Saint Charity.
What, to go thither? Is that the matter?
Nay, Everyman, I had liever fast bread and water,
All this five year and more.
Alas, that ever I was bore!
For now shall I never be merry,
If that you forsake me.
Ah, sir! what, ye be a merry man!
Take good heart to you, and make no moan.
But one thing I warn you, by Saint Anne,
As for me ye shall go alone.
My cousin, will you not with me go?
No, by our lady, I have the cramp in my toe:
Trust not to me; for, so God me speed,
I will deceive you in your most need.
It availeth not us to tice:
Ye shall have my maid with all my heart;
She loveth to go to feasts, there to be nice,
And to dance, and abroad to start:
I will give her leave to help you in that journey,
If that you and she may agree.
No, show me the very effect of your mind;
Will you go with me, or abide behind?
Abide behind! yea, that will I, and I may;
Therefore farewell till another day.
How should I be merry or glad?
For fair promises men to me make;
But, when I have most need, they me forsake;
I am deceived, that maketh me sad.
Cousin Everyman, farewell now;
For verily I will not go with you:
Also of mine own life an unready reckoning
I have to account, therefore I make tarrying;
Now God keep thee, for now I go.
Ah, Jesu, is all come hereto?
Lo, fair words maketh fools fain;
They promise, and nothing will do certain.
My kinsmen promised me faithfully,
For to abide with me steadfastly;
And now fast away do they flee:
Even so Fellowship promised me.
What friend were best me of to provide?
I lose my time here longer to abide;
Yet in my mind a thing there is:
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