A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume I.
Part 6 out of 9
Very God and man without nay:
That all shall deem and dight,
He sent man's soul into heaven
Aloft all the angels everychone,
There is the Father, the Son, and the soothfast Holy Ghost.
The eighth article we must believe on,
That same God shall come down,
And deem man's soul at the day of doom,
And on mercy then must we trust.
The ninth article without strife,
Every man, maiden and wife,
And all the bodies that ever bare life,
And at the day of doom body and soul shall 'ppear.
Truly the tenth article is,
All they that hath kept God's service
They shall be crowned in heaven bliss,
And Christ's servants to Him full dear.
The eleventh article, the sooth to sayne,
All that hath falsely to God guided them
They shall be put into hell pain,
There shall be no sin-covering.
Sir, after the twelfth we must worch,
And believe in all the sacraments of holy church,
That they been necessary, both last and first,
To all manner of mankind.
Sir, ye must also hear and know tho commandments ten.
Lo, sir, this is your belief; and all men
Do after it, and ye shall heaven win
Without doubt, I know.
AGE. Gramercy, Perseverance, for your true teaching
For in the spirit of my soul will I find,
That it is necessary to all mankind
Truly for to know.
Now, sirs, take all ensample by mo,
How I was born in simple degree,
The world royal received me,
And dubbed me a knight,
Then Conscience met me,
So after him came Folly:
Folly falsely deceived me,
Then Shame my name hyght.
PERSEVERANCE. Yea, and now is your name Repentance,
Through the grace of God almight.
And therefore without any distance
I take my leave of king and knight,
And I pray to Jesu, which has made us all,
Cover you with his mantle perpetual. Amen.
"_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. _In
the word (which is now called the eternal son of God) was life from the
beginning, and that life was the light of men. This light yet shineth in
the darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not_."--JOAN I. ...
4 deg., black letter.
John Bale, author of the morality of "God's Promises," is more known as
an historian and controversialist than as a dramatic writer. He was [the
son of Henry and Margaret Bale, and was] born on the 21st of November
1495, at Cove, a small village near Dunwich, in Suffolk. His parents,
having many other children, and not being in very affluent circumstances,
sent him, at the age of twelve years, to the monastery of Carmelites at
Norwich, where he received part of his education, and whence he
removed to [Jesus] College, Cambridge. While he continued at
the University, being as he says seriously stirred up by the illustrious
the Lord Wentworth, he renounced the tenets of the Church of Rome; and,
that he might never more serve so execrable a beast, I took, says he, to
wife the faithful Dorothy, in obedience to that divine command, "Let him
that cannot contain, marry," Bishop Nicolson insinuates that his dislike
to a state of celibacy was the means of his conversion, more than any
doubts which he entertained about the truth of his faith. The change of
his religion exposed him to the persecution of the Romish clergy,
particularly of Lee, Archbishop of York, and Stokesley, Bishop of London;
but he found an able and powerful protector in the person of Lord
Cromwell, the favourite of Henry the Eighth. On the death of this
nobleman, he withdrew into the Low Countries, and resided there eight
years; in which time he wrote several pieces in the English language. On
the accession of King Edward the Sixth, he was recalled into England, and
obtained the living of Bishopstoke, in the county of Southampton. During
his residence at his living, he was almost brought to the point of death
by an ague; when hearing that the king was come in progress to
Southampton, five miles only from where he dwelt, he went to pay his
respects to him. "I toke my horse," says he, "about 10 of the clocke, for
very weaknesse scant able to sytt him, and so came thydre. Betwixt two
and three of the clocke, the same day, I drew towardes the place where as
his majestie was, and stode in the open strete ryght against the
gallerye. Anon, my frinde Johan Fylpot, a gentylman, and one of hys
previe chambre, called unto him two more of hys companyons, which in
moving their heades towardes me, shewed me most frendely countenaunces.
By one of these three the kynge havynge informacion that I was there in
the strete, he marveled thereof, for so much as it had bene tolde hym a
lytle afore that I was bothe dead and buried. With that hys grace came to
the wyndowe, and earnestly behelde me a poore weake creature, as though
he had upon me so symple a subject an earnest regard, or rather a very
fatherly care." This visit to the king occasioned his immediate
appointment to the bishopric of Ossory, which was settled the next day,
as he declared afterwards, _against his will, of the king's own mere
motion only, without suit of friends, meed, labour, expenses, or any
other sinister means else_. On the [2d February] 1553, he was
consecrated at Dublin by the archbishop of that see, and underwent a
variety of persecutions from the Popish party in Ireland, which at length
compelled him to leave his diocese, and conceal himself in Dublin.
Endeavouring to escape thence in a small trading vessel, he was taken
prisoner by the captain of a Dutch man-of-war, who rifled him of all his
money, apparel, and effects. The ship was then driven by stress of
weather into St Ives in Cornwall, where he was taken up on suspicion of
high treason, but soon discharged. From thence, after a cruise of several
days, the ship arrived in Dover Road, and he was again put in danger by a
false accusation. On his arrival in Holland, he was kept prisoner three
weeks, and then obtained his liberty on payment of a sum of money. From
Holland he retired to Basil in Switzerland, and continued abroad during
the remainder of Queen Mary's reign. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth,
he returned to England; but being disgusted with the treatment he met
with in Ireland, he went thither no more. He was promoted on the 15th of
January 1560, to a prebend in the Cathedral Church of Canterbury, and
died in that city in [or before] November 1563, in the sixty-eighth year
of his age. According to the manners of the times in which he wrote, he
appears to have taken very indecent liberties with all his antagonists in
his religious controversies, and to have considered himself as not bound
by any rules of decorum in replying to those from whom he differed in
matters, wherein the interests of religion were concerned. The acrimony
of his style on these occasions acquired him the appellation of "Bilious
Bale," and it was applied to him with singular propriety. His principal
work is esteemed the "_Scriptorum illustrium majoris Brytaniae quam nunc
Angliam et Scotiam vocant Catalogus;" a Japheto per 3618 annos usque ad
annum hunc domini_ 1557, &c., first printed imperfectly at Wesel in 1549,
and afterwards more completely in 1557 and 1559. He was the author
of a great number of dramatic pieces, [four] of which only appear to
have been published.
This present copy is taken from an old black letter edition in 4to, in
the valuable collection of David Garrick, Esq. The title-page being
damaged, I am unable to give the date of it.
What is remarkable in this drama is that it is divided into seven
acts, and at the end of each act has a kind of chorus, which was
performed with voices and instruments.
PATER COELESTIS. ADAM _primus homo_.
_Justus_ NOAH. ABRAHAM _fidelis_.
MOSES _sanctus_. DAVID _rex pius_.
ESAIAS _propheta_. JOANNES _baptista_.
If profit may grow, most Christian audience,
By knowledge of things which are not 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 gawdish 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 writes,
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 show mercy to every generation,
And to his kingdom of his great goodness call
His elected spouse or faithful congregation,
As here shall appear by open protestation,
Which from Christ's birth shall to his death conclude:
They come, that thereof will show the certitude.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 be,
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 anything,
That was wrought; but through his ordinance
Each have his strength and whole countenance.
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.
_Hic praeceps in terram cadit_ ADAMUS, _ac post quartum versum denuo
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Merciful father, thy pitiful grace extend
To me careful wretch, which have me sore abused,
Thy precept breaking. O Lord, I mind to amend,
If thy great goodness would now 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 slim.
PATER COELESTIS. I wot it is so, yet art thou no less faulty,
Then 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 PRIMUS HOMO. Such heavy fortune hath chiefly chanced me,
For that I was left to mine own liberty.
PATER COELESTIS. Then thou art blameless, and the fault thou layest to
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. 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 COELESTIS. For that I put thee at thine own liberty,
Thou oughtest my goodness to have in more regard.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. 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 danger himself, as appeareth evident;
For I sinned not too long as thou wert present;
But when thou wert gone, I fell to sin by and by,
And thee displeased. Good Lord, I axe thee mercy.
PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt die for it, with all thy posterity.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. For one fault, good Lord, avenge not thyself on me,
Who am but a worm or a fleshly vanity.
PATER COELESTIS. I say thou shalt die, with thy whole posterity.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Yet mercy, sweet Lord, if any mercy may be.
PATER COELESTIS. I am immutable, I may change no decree;
Thou shalt die, I say, without any remedy.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. 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 COELESTIS. But art thou sorry from bottom of thy heart?
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Thy displeasure is to me most heavy smart.
PATER COELESTIS. Then will I tell thee what thou shalt stick unto:
Life to recover, and my good favour also.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. Tell it me, sweet Lord, that I may thereafter go.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 inclose 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 PRIMUS HOMO. 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 show it I will to my posterity,
That they in like case have thereby felicity.
PATER COELESTIS. For a closing up, take yet one sentence with thee.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. At thy pleasure, Lord, all things might ever be.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 abhomination;
The woman shall sorrow in painful propagation.
Like as thou shalt find this true in outward working.
So think the other, though it be an hidden thing.
ADAM PRIMUS HOMO. 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 recompense
By thy appointment, like as I have received
In thy strong promise, here openly pronounced.
This goodness, dear Lord, of me is undeserved,
I so declining from thy first instruction
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 recover. 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 am I 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.
_Tunc sonora voce, provolutis genibus, Antiphonam incipit_, O sapientia,
_quam prosequetur chorus cum organis, eo interim exeunte_.
_Vel sub eodem tono poterit sic Anglice cantare_.
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.
_Finit Actus primus_.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 doth what him lust without discreet advisement,
And will in no wise 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 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 cankered malice, his cursed covetousness,
His lusts lecherous, his vengeable tyranny,
Unmerciful murther and other ungodliness.
I will destroy him for his outrageousness.
And not him only, but all that on earth do stere,
For it repenteth me that ever I made them here.
JUSTUS 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 knowledge, 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 COELESTIS. Thou knowest I have given to him convenient space,
With lawful warnings, yet he amendeth in no place.
The natural law, which I wrote in his heart,
He hath outrased, all goodness putting apart:
Of health the covenant, which I to Adam made,
He regardeth not, but walketh a damnable tread.
JUSTUS NOAH. All this is true, Lord, I cannot thy words reprove,
Let his weakness yet thy merciful goodness move.
PATER COELESTIS. No weakness is it, but wilful working all,
That reigneth in man through mind diabolical.
He shall have therefore like as he hath deserved.
JUSTUS NOAH. Lose him not yet, Lord, though he hath 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 relieved 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 COELESTIS. 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.
JUSTUS NOAH. Blessed be thy name, most Mighty Merciful Maker,
With thee to dispute it were inconvenient.
PATER COELESTIS. Why dost thou say so? be bold to speak thy intent.
JUSTUS NOAH. Shall the other die without any remedy?
PATER COELESTIS. 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.
JUSTUS NOAH. As thy pleasure is, so might it always be,
For my health thou art, and soul's felicity.
PATER COELESTIS. 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.
JUSTUS NOAH. I will, blessed Lord, with my whole heart and mind.
PATER COELESTIS. Farewell then, just Noah, here leave I thee behind.
JUSTUS 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 Enos 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 for ever, thy rainbow bearing record,
Nevermore to drown the world by flood inconstant,
Making the waters more peaceable and pleasant,
Alas! I cannot to thee give praise condign,
Yet will I sing here with heart meek and benign.
_Magna tunc voce Antiphonam incipit_, O oriens splendor, _&c., in genua
cadens; quam chorus prosequetur cum organis ut supra_.
_Vel Anglice sub eodem tono_.
O most orient clearness, and light shining of the sempiternal brightness!
O clear sun of justice and heavenly righteousness, come hither and
illumine the prisoner sitting now in the dark prison and shadow of
_Finit Actus secundus_.
INCIPIT ACTUS TERTIUS.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 venom 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 commised,
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.
Ninus hath also, and all by the devil's illusion,
Through image-making upraised 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 FIDELIS. 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 COELESTIS. Abraham, my servant, for thy most faithful meaning,
Both thou and thy stock shall have my plenteous blessing.
Where the unfaithful, under my curse evermore,
For their vain working shall rue their wickedness sore.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Tell me, blessed Lord, where will thy great malice
My hope is, all flesh shall not perish in thy sight.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 FIDELIS. All that will I do, by assistance of thy goodness.
PATER COELESTIS. From Sodom and Gomorrah the abhominations call
For my great vengeance, which will upon them fall:
Wild fire and brimstone shall light upon them all.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Pitiful Maker, though they have kindled thy fury,
Cast not away yet the just sort with the ungodly.
Paraventure 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 rechless,
And so to destroy the good with the ungodly.
In the judge of all be never such a fury.
PATER COELESTIS. At Sodom, if I may find just persons fifty,
The place will I spare for their sakes verily.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. 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 COELESTIS. Say forth, good Abraham, for ill dost thou not intend.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Happily there may be five less in the same number:
For their sakes I trust thou wilt not the rest accumber.
PATER COELESTIS. If I among them might find but five-and-forty,
Then would I not lose for that just company.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. What if the city may forty righteous make?
PATER COELESTIS. Then will I pardon it for those same forty's sake.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Be not angry, Lord, though I speak indiscreetly.
PATER COELESTIS. Utter thy whole mind, and spare me not hardily.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Paraventure there may be thirty found among them.
PATER COELESTIS. May I find thirty, I will nothing do unto them.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. I take upon me too much, Lord, in thy sight.
PATER COELESTIS. No, no, good Abraham, for I know thy faith is right.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. No less, I suppose, than twenty can it have.
PATER COELESTIS. Could I find twenty, that city would I save.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Once yet will I speak my mind, and then no more.
PATER COELESTIS. Spare not to utter so much as thou hast in store.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. And what, if there might be ten good creatures found?
PATER COELESTIS. The rest for their sakes might so be safe and sound,
And not destroyed for their abhomination.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. O Merciful Maker, much is thy toleration
And sufferance of sin. I see it now indeed,
Witsafe yet of favour out of these cities to lead
Those that be faithful, though their flocks be but small.
PATER COELESTIS. Loth and his household I will deliver all,
For righteousness sake, which is of me and not them.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Great are thy graces in the generation of Shem.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 FIDELIS. Lord, so regard me, as I receive it with gladness.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 FIDELIS. 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 COELESTIS. Farewell, Abraham, for here in place I leave thee.
ABRAHAM FIDELIS. Thanks will I render, like as it shall behove me.
Everlasting praise to thy most glorious name,
Which saved 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, with other that hath sinned;
Yea, the sure health and raise of all 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 laws 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.
_Tunc alta voce canit Antiphonam_, O rex gentium, _choro eandem
prosequente cum organis, ut prius_:
_Vel Anglice hoc modo_.
O most Mighty Governor of thy people, and in heart most desired, the hard
rock and true cornerstone, that of two maketh one, uning the Jews with
the Gentiles in one church, come now and relieve mankind, whom thou hast
formed of the vile earth.
_Finit Actus tertius_.
INCIPIT ACTUS QUARTUS.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 an hound.
My word and promise in his faith taketh no ground,
He will so long walk in his own lusts at large,
That nought 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 gat children of his own daughter-in-law;
Yea, here 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 SANCTUS. 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 when thou hast showed 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 diverse plagues, as I shall here declare:
By blood, frogs, and lice; by flies, death, blotches, and blain.
By hail, by grasshoppers, by darkness, and by care:
By a sudden plague all their firstgotten ware
Thou slewest in one night for his fierce cruelness.
From that thy people withhold not now thy goodness.
PATER COELESTIS. I certify thee, my chosen servant Moses,
That people of mine is full of unthankfulness.
MOSES SANCTUS. 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 appointed'st 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 went'st before them in a shining cloud all day,
And in the dark night in fire thou showed'st their way.
Thou sent them manna from heaven, to be their food.
Out of the hard stone thou gavest them water good.
Thou appointed'st them a land of milk and honey.
Let them not perish for want of thy great mercy.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 Amalech I gave them the victory.
MOSES SANCTUS. Most Glorious Maker, all that is to thy glory,
Thou sentest them also a law from heaven above,
And daily showest them many tokens of great love.
The brazen serpent thou gavest them for their healing,
And Balaam's curse thou turned'st into a blessing.
I hope thou wilt not disdain to help them still.
PATER COELESTIS. 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,
While thou hast talked with me familiarly
In Sinai's mountain the space but of days forty,
Those sights all they have forgotten clearly,
And are turned to shameful idolatry.
For their God they have set up a golden calf.
MOSES SANCTUS. Let me say somewhat, Sweet Father, in their behalf.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 Joshua.
MOSES SANCTUS. Thy eternal will evermore fulfilled be.
For disobedience thou slewest the sons of Aaron,
The earth swallowed in both Dathan and Abiram.
The adders did sting other wicked persons else,
In wonderful number. Thus hast thou punished rebels.
PATER COELESTIS. Never will I spare the cursed iniquity
Of idolatry for no cause, thou mayest trust me.
MOSES SANCTUS. Forgive them yet, Lord, for this time, if it may be.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 SANCTUS. I wot, thy people hath wrought abhomination.
Worshipping false gods, to thy honour's derogation.
Yet merciful thou mayest upon them look
And if thou wilt not, thrust me out of thy book.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 at 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 SANCTUS. Never shall this thing depart from my remembrance.
Laud be for ever to thee, most merciful Lord,
Which never withdrawest from man thy heavenly comfort,
But from age to age thy benefits doth 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 the benevolence.
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, Rebeccah, and fair Rachel,
With Zipporah my wife, the daughter of Revel,
To praise thee, sweet lord, my faith doth me compel,
For thy covenants' sake, wherein rest our salvation,
The seed of promise all other seeds excel,
For therein remaineth our full justification.
From Adam and 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.
_Clara tunc voce Antiphonam incipit_, O Emmanuel, _quam chorus (ut prius)
prosequetur cum organis_.
_Vel Anglice canat_:
O high King Emmanuel, and our liege lord! the long expectation of
Gentiles, and the mighty saviour of their multitude, the health and
consolation of sinners, come now for to save us as our Lord and our
_Finit Actus quartus_.
INCIPIT ACTUS QUINTUS.
PATER COELESTIS. For all the favour I have showed Israel,
Delivering her from Pharaoh's tyranny,
And giving the land _fluentem lac & mel_,
Yet will she not leave her old idolatry,
Nor know me for God. I ahhor her misery:
Vexed her I have with battles and decays,
And must I plague her, I see no other ways.
DAVID REX PIUS. Remember yet, lord, thy worthy servant Moses,
Walking in thy sight, without rebuke of thee.
Both Aaron, Jethro, Eleazar, and Phineas,
Evermore feared to offend thy majesty,
Much thou acceptedst thy servant Josua.
Caleb and Othniel sought thee with all their heart,
Aioth and Shangar for thy folk did their part.
Gideon and Tola 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 wot the Benjaminites 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 Ahithophel.
Measure not by them the faults of Israel,
Whom thou hast loved of long time so entirely,
But of thy great grace remit her wicked folly.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 REX PIUS. For it they have had thy righteous punishment,
And for as much as they did wickedly consent
To the Philistines and Canaanites, ungodly
Idolaters, taking to them in matrimony,
Thou threwest them under the king of Mesopotamia,
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 of the Midianites,
And eighteen years vexed of the cruel Ammonites.
In three great battles, of threescore thousand and five
Of this thy people, not one was left alive.
Have mercy now, lord, and call them to repentance.
PATER COELESTIS. So long as they sin, so long shall they have grievance.
David my servant, somewhat must I say to thee:
For that thou lately hast wrought such vanity.
DAVID REX PIUS. Spare not, blessed lord, but say thy pleasure to me.
PATER COELESTIS. Of late days thou hast misused Beersheba,
The wife of Uriah, and slain him in the field.
DAVID REX PIUS. Mercy, Lord, mercy, for doubtless I am defiled.
PATER COELESTIS. I constitute thee a king over Israel,
And thee preserved from Saul, which was thy enemy.
Yea, in my favour so much thou didst excel,
That of thy 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 REX PIUS. I have sinned, Lord; I beseech thee, pardon me.
PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt not die, David, for this iniquity,
For thy repentance; but thy son by Beersheba
Shall die, for as much as my name is blasphemed
Among my enemies, and thou the worst esteemed.
From thy house for this the sword shall not depart.
DAVID REX PIUS. I am sorry, Lord, from the bottom of my heart.
PATER COELESTIS. To further anger thou dost me yet compel.
DAVID REX PIUS. For what matter, Lord? I beseech thy goodness tell.
PATER COELESTIS. Why didst thou number the people of Israel?
Supposest in thy mind therein thou hast done well?
DAVID REX PIUS. I cannot say nay, but I have done indiscreetly,
To forget thy grace for a human policy.
PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt of these three choose which plague thou wilt
For that sinful act, that I thy soul may save:
A scarceness seven years, or else three months' exile,
Either for three days the pestilence most vile,
For one thou must have: there is no remedy.
DAVID REX PIUS. Lord, at thy pleasure, for thou art full of mercy.
PATER COELESTIS. Of a pestilence then three score thousand and ten
In three days shall die of thy most puissant men.
DAVID REX PIUS. O Lord, it is I which have offended thy grace,
Spare them and not me, for I have done the trespass.
PATER COELESTIS. Though thy sins be great, thy inward heart's contrition
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 mayest 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 REX PIUS. 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 Golias, which was six cubits long.
Against thy 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 tookest thou from me the plenteousness
Of thy godly spirit, 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.
_Canora voce tunc incipit Antiphonam_, O Adonai, _quam (ut prius)
prosequetur chorus cum organis_.
_Vel sic Anglice_:
O Lord God Adonai, and guide of the faithful house of Israel, which
sometime appearedest in the flaming bush to Moses, and to him didst give
a law in Mount Sinai, come now for to redeem us in the strength of thy
_Finit Actus quintus_.
INCIPIT ACTUS SEXTUS.
PATER COELESTIS. I brought up children from their first infancy,
Which now despiseth my godly instructions.
An ox knoweth his lord, an ass his master's duty;
But Israel will not know me nor my conditions.
O froward people, given all to superstitions:
Unnatural children, expert in blasphemies,
Provoketh me to hate by their idolatries.
Take heed to my words, ye tyrants of Sodom,
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 PROPHETA. 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 hath darkened her renown.
Covetous rewards doth so their conscience drown,
That the fatherless they will not help to right,
The poor widow's cause come not afore 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 soul's health and solace.
PATER COELESTIS. First they had fathers, then had they patriarchs,
Then dukes, then judges, to 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 idol-worshipping,
From the vile beggar to the anointed king.
ESAIAS PROPHETA. 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 Hierosolimitans.
In both these countries, according to their doings,
Thou permittedst them to have most cruel kings.
The first of Judah was wicked king Rehoboam,
Of Israel the first was that cruel Jeroboam;
Abijam then followed, and in the other Nadab,
Then Baasha, then Etah, then Zimri, Jehoram, and Ahab.
Then Ahaziah, then Athaliah, then Jehoash;
On the other part was Jotham and Ahaz.
To rehearse them all that have done wretchedly
In the sight of thee, it were long verily.
PATER COELESTIS. For the wicked sin of filthy idolatry,
Which the ten tribes did in the land of Samaria.
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 wist not whither to flee.
The other two tribes, when they from me went back
To idolatry, I left in the hand of Sesack,
The king of Egypt, which took away their treasure,
Conveyed their cattle, and slew them without measure.
In time of Ahaz, an 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.
And alone they may thank their idolatry.
ISAIAS PROPHETA. Well yet, blessed Lord, relieve them with thy mercy.
Though they have been ill by other princes' days.
Yet good Zedekiah 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,
Which 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 COELESTIS. May the wife forget the child of her own body?
ISAIAS PROPHETA. Nay, that she cannot in any wise verily.
PATER COELESTIS. No more can I them which will do my commandments,
But must preserve them from all inconvenients.
ISAIAS PROPHETA. Blessed art thou, Lord, in all thy acts and judgments.
PATER COELESTIS. Well, Isaias, for this thy fidelity
A covenant of health thou shalt have also of me.
ISAIAS PROPHETA. 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 saver as a lamp extend his light.
PATER COELESTIS. A rod shall shoot forth from the old stock of Jesse,
And a bright blossom from that root will arise,
Upon whom always the spirit of the Lord shall be,
The spirit of wisdom, the spirit of heavenly practice,
And the spirit that will all goodness devise.
Take this for a sign: a maid of Israel
Shall conceive and bear that Lord Immanuel.
ISAIAS PROPHETA. 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 grace 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 latter covenant.
Of goodness thou madest Solomon of wit most pregnant,
Asa and Jehosaphat, with good king Hezekiah,
In thy sight to do what was to thee right pleasant.
To quench idolatry, thou raisedest up Elijah,
Jehu, Elisha, Micas, and Abdias,
And Naaman Syrus thou purgedest 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 saver and thy life everlasting,
Thy release from sin and thy whole righteousness.
Help me in this song to acknowledge his great goodness.
_Concinna tunc voce Antiphonam inchoat_, O radix Jesse _quam chorus
prosequeter cum organis_.
_Vel Anglice hoc modo canet_.
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 for to deliver us, and
delay the time no longer.
_Finit Actus sextus_.
PATER COELESTIS. I have with fierceness mankind oftentimes 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 abusions 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.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Manasses, Lord, is past which turned from thee his
Ahaz and Ammon have now no more ado,
Jechonias with other, which did themselves avert
From thee to idols, may now no farther go.
The two false judges, and Baal's wicked priests also,
Phassur and Shemias, with Nebuchadnezzar,
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,
Brent 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 Isaias and Jeremiah,
Sometimes by Daniel, sometimes by Hosea and Joel,
By Amos and Obadiah, by Jonah and by Zephaniah,
By Nahum and Micah, by Haggai, and by Zachariah,
By Malachi, and also by Habakkuk,
By Olda the widow, and by the prophet Baruch.
Remember Josias, which took the abhomination
From the people, then restoring thy laws again.
Of Rechab consider the faithful generation,
Whom to wine-drinking no friendship might constrain.
Remember Abimelech, the friend of truth certain,
Zerubabel the prince, which did repair the temple,
And Jesus Josedec, of virtue the example.
Consider Nehemiah and Ezra the good scribe,
Merciful Tobiah and constant Mordecai:
Judith and queen Esther of the same godly tribe:
Devout Mathias and Judas Macabeus.
Have mind of Eleazar and then Joannes Hircanus,
Weigh the earnest faith of this godly company,
Though the other clean fall from thy memory.
PATER COELESTIS. I will, John, I will, for as I said afore,
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.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. As thy pleasure is, so, blessed Lord, appoint me,
For my health thou art and my soul's felicity.
PATER COELESTIS. Long ere I made thee, I thee 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 peace
A prophet, to show a way before the face
Of my most dear Son, which will come; until then
Apply thee apace thine office to fulfil.
Preach to the people, rebuking their negligence,
Dop them in water, they acknowledging their offence;
And say unto them, "The kingdom of God doth come."
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Unmeet, Lord, I am, _Quia puer ego sum_.
And (other than that), alack, I have no science
Fit for that office, neither yet clean eloquence.
PATER COELESTIS. Thou shalt not say so, for I have given thee grace,
Eloquence and age to speak in the 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.
_Hic extendens Dominus manum, labia Johannis digito tanget, ac ori
imponet auream linguam_.
Go now thy way forth, I shall thee never fail,
The spirit of Elias 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 desert, see thou declare the thing,
I promise thee sure, thou shalt wash him among them
In Jordan, a flood not far from Jerusalem.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Show me yet, good Lord, whereby shall I know that man,
In the multitude which will resort to Jordan.
PATER COELESTIS. In thy mother's womb of him hadst thou cognition.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. Yea, that was in spirit, I would now know his person.
PATER COELESTIS. 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 baptize 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 baptize.
JOHANNES BAPTISTA. 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 spirit 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 law of Moses.
In 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 change is there, where all is turned to light,
Grace and remission anon will shine full bright.
Never man lived that ever see 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's voice in the desert,
To prepare the paths and highways 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.
_Resona tunc voce Antiphonam incipit_, O clavis David, _quam prosequetur
chorus cum organis, ut prius_.
_Vel in Anglico sermone sic_:
O perfect key of David, and high sceptre of the kindred of Jacob, which
openest, and no man spereth; thou speakest, and no man openeth; come
and deliver thy servant mankind, bound in prison, sitting in the darkness
of sin and bitter
The matters are such that 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 hath given to man for every age,
To knit him to Christ, and so clear him of bondage.
As St Paul doth write unto the Corinthians 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 Esay, that after came.
And in John Baptist, which showed the very lamb.
Though they see 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 paid the price,
In his only death was man's life always resting,
And not in will-works, nor yet in man's deserving,
The light of our faith makes this thing evident,
And not the practice of other experiment.
Where is now free-will, whom the hypocrites commend,
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.
THE FOUR P.P.
_See_ Hazlitt's "_Handbook_," 1867, p.269.
John Heywood, or Heewood, one of the most ancient dramatic writers in the
English language, was born in the city of London, and educated in
the University of Oxford, at [Broadgate, afterwards called Pembroke,
College,] in St Aldgate's parish. He was in his time more celebrated for
his wit than his learning; and having some fair possessions at North
Mims, he resided there after he left Oxford, and became intimately
acquainted with Sir Thomas More, who lived in that neighbourhood.
Here the latter wrote his celebrated work called "Utopia," and is
supposed to have assisted Heywood in the composition of his
"Epigrams." Through Sir Thomas More's means, it is probable our
author was introduced to the knowledge of King Henry the Eighth, and of
his daughter the Princess, afterwards Queen Mary; by the former of whom
he was held in much esteem for the mirth and quickness of his conceits;
and so much valued by the latter, that he was often, after she came
to the throne, admitted to the honour of waiting upon and exercising his
fancy before her, even to the time she lay lauguishing on her deathbed.
His education having been in the Roman Catholic faith, he continued
steadily attached to the tenets of that religion; and during the
reign of Edward the Sixth, fell under the suspicion of practising
against the government, and narrowly escaped the halter. After the death
of his patroness the queen, he left the nation, says Wood, for
religion's sake, and settled at Mechlin in Brabrant, where he [appears
to have been still living in January 1576-7. The exact date of his death
is uncertain, but] he died, leaving several children; one of whom,
Jasper Heywood, translated three of Seneca's Plays, and wrote several
poems, printed in the "Paradise of Dainty Devises," 4to, 1576. This
Jasper Heywood was, according to Fuller, executed in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth; but more probably, as Sir Richard Baker asserts, was among
those who were taken in 1585, and sent out of England.
John Heywood was one of our earliest [writers of a dramatic cast. He
can hardly be called a dramatist.] Oldys says he began to write
about the year 1530, but that he could not find he published anything so
early. [His first production in point of date may have been the play of
the "Pardoner and the Frere," printed April, 1533; but two other
interludes by him appeared the same year without note of the month. They
were perhaps all written a little before.
Mr Collier remarks of Heywood's "Spider and Fly:"] "This parable,
apologue, or allegory (for it is one and all three), is not perhaps so
'dull, tedious, and trifling,' as Warton contends; and if it be without
much 'fancy,' it has both meaning and moral. In 'the conclusion,' Heywood
informs us that he began the work twenty years before it was finished,
and that he did nothing to it during an interval of nineteen years. He
adds, that it was commenced 'with the first, and ended with the last,' of
his poor works. The maid who sweeps down the spider he explains to mean
Queen Mary, in 'sense allegorical' also."
Wilson, in his "Rhetorique," published in 1553, speaks of Heywood's
"Proverbs" as then in print. They were also republished in 1561; and
the title-page professes that the work has been "newly overseen, and
somewhat corrected, by the sayde John Heywood." The only copy I have met
with is imperfect at the end, and the title-page does not state who was
the printer of it. "John Heywoodes Woorkes" were printed collectively in
156; they consist of proverbs and epigrams.
Winstanley expressed a doubt whether the author of the epigrams and of
the plays were not different persons. The following epigram will be
sufficient to set that fact beyond contradiction, and at the same time
exhibit a specimen of the author's manner:--
"Art thou _Heywood_ with the mad mery wit?
Ye, forsooth, master, that same is euen hit.
Art thou _Heywood_ that applyeth mirth more then thrift?
Ye, sir, I take mery mirth a golden gift.
Art thou _Heywood_ that hath made many mad plaies?
Ye, many playes, fewe good woorkes in all my daies.
Art thou _Heywood_ that hath made men mery long?
Ye, and will, if I be made mery among.
Art thou _Heywood_ that woulde be made mery now?
Ye, sir, helpe me to it now, I beseche yow."
Winstanley and Philips ascribe to him falsely the "Pinner of Wakefield"
and "Philotus," [the latter] printed at Edinburgh, 1603.
Fuller mentions a book written by our author, entitled "Monumenta
literaria," which are said to be _Non tam lambore condita, quam lepore
condita_. [But this was not by John Heywood. It is apparently _Thomas_
Heywood's account of the "English Poets" referred to by more than one of
The curious old relic here reprinted went through three _known_
editions, of which the earliest may be assigned to 1540 or
thereabouts, the latest bearing date 1569. The colophon of the former
will be found at the end.]
THE FOUR P.P.
PALMER. Now God be here; who keepeth this place?
Now by my faith I cry you mercy;
Of reason I must sue for grace,
My rudeness showeth me so homely.
Whereof your pardon axed and won,
I sue you, as courtesy doth me bind,
To tell this, which shall be begun,
In order as may come best in mind.
I am a Palmer, as ye see,
Which of my life much part have spent
In many a fair and far country.
As Pilgrims do of good intent.
At Jerusalem have I been
Before Christ's blessed sepulchre:
The mount of Calvary have I seen,
A holy place, you may be sure.
To Jehosaphat and Olivet
On foot, God wot, I went right bare:
Many a salt tear did I sweat,
Before thy carcase could  come there.
Yet have I been at Rome also,
And gone the stations  all a-row:
St Peter's shrine and many mo,
Than, if I told all, ye do know.
Except that there be any such,
That hath been there, and diligently
Hath taken heed, and marked much,
Then can they speak as much as I.
Then at the Rhodes also I was;
And round about to Amias.
At St Uncumber and St Trunnion;
At St Botoph and St Anne of Buxton.
On the hills of Armenia, where I saw Noe's ark;
With holy Job, and St George in Southwark;
At Waltham and at Walsingham;
And at the good rood of Dagenham;
At Saint Cornelys; at Saint James in Gales;
And at Saint Wenefrid's well in Wales;
At our Lady of Boston; at Saint Edmund's burgh;
And straight to Saint Patrick's Purgatory;
At Redburne, and at the blood of Hales,
Where pilgrims' pains right much avails;
At Saint David's, and at Saint Denis;
At Saint Matthew, and Saint Mark in Venice;
At Master John Shorn at Canterbury;
The great God of Catwade, at King Henry
At Saint Saviour's; at our lady of Southwell;
At Crome, at Willesden, and at Muswell;
At Saint Richard, and at Saint Rock;
And at Our Lady that standeth in the oak.
To these, with other many one,
Devoutly have I prayed and gone,
Praying to them to pray for me
Unto the blessed Trinity,
By whose prayers and my daily pain
I trust the sooner to obtain
For my salvation, grace, and mercy.
For be ye sure I think surely,
Who seeketh saints for Christ's sake,
And namely such as pain do take
On foot, to punish their frail body,
Shall thereby merit more highly
Than by anything done by man.
PARDONER. And when ye have gone as far as ye can,
For all your labour and ghostly intent,
Ye will come home as wise as ye went.
PALMER. Why, sir, despised ye pilgrimage?
PARDONER. Nay, fore God, sir, then did I rage;
I think ye right well occupied,
To seek these saints on every side.
Also your pain I not dispraise it;
But yet I discommend your wit:
And ere we go, even so shall ye,
If you in this will answer me.
I pray you show what the cause is,
Ye went all these pilgrimages?
PALMER. Forsooth, this life I did begin
To rid the bondage of my sin:
For which these saints rehearsed ere this
I have both sought and seen, i-wis;
Beseeching them to bear record
Of all my pain unto the Lord,
That giveth all remission,
Upon each man's contrition;
And by their good mediation,
Upon mine humble submission,
I trust to have in very deed
For my soul health the better speed.
PARDONER. Now is your own confession likely
To make yourself a fool quickly.
For I perceive ye would obtain
No other thing for all your pain,
But only grace your soul to save:
Now mark in this what wit ye have!
To seek so far, and help so nigh;
Even here at home is remedy;
For at your door myself doth dwell,
Who could have saved your soul as well;
As all your wide wandering shall do,
Though ye went thrice to Jericho.
Now since ye might have sped at home,
What have ye won by running at Rome?
PALMER. If this be true that ye have moved,
Then is my wit indeed reproved.
But let us hear first what ye are?
PARDONER. Truly I am a pardoner.
PALMER. Truly a pardoner! that may be true;
But a true pardoner doth not ensue.
Right seldom is it seen, or never,
That truth and pardoners dwell together,
For be your pardons never so great,
Yet them to enlarge ye will not let
With such lies that ofttimes, Christ wot,
Ye seem to have that ye have not.
Wherefore I went myself to the self thing
In every place and without saying:
Had as much pardon there assuredly,
As ye can promise me here doubtfully.
Howbeit, I think ye do but scoff:
But if ye had all the pardon ye speak of,
And no whit of pardon granted
In any place where I have haunted:
Yet of my labour I nothing repent;
God hath respect how each time is spent;
And as in his knowledge all is regarded,
So by his goodness all is rewarded.
PARDONER. By the first part of this last tale,
It seemeth ye came of late from the ale.
For reason on your side so far doth fail,
That ye leave reasoning, and begin to rail.
Wherein you forget your own part clearly,
For you be as untrue as I:
And in one point ye are beyond me,
For you may lie by authority,
And all that have wandered so far,
That no man can be their controller.
And where you esteem your labour so much,
I say yet again my pardons are such,
That if there were a thousand souls on a heap,
I would bring them to heaven as good cheap.
As ye have brought yourself on pilgrimage,
In the least quarter of your voyage,
Which is far a side heaven, by God:
There your labour and pardon is odd.
With small cost and without any pain,
These pardons bring them to heaven plain;
Give me but a penny or two pence,
And as soon as the soul departeth hence,
In half-an-hour, or threequarters at the most,
The soul is in heaven with the Holy Ghost.
'POTHECARY. Send ye any souls to heaven by water?
PARDONER. If we do, sir, what is the matter?
'POTHECARY. By God, I have a dry soul should thither;
I pray you let our souls go to heaven together,
So busy you twain be in soul's health;
May not a 'pothecary come in by stealth?
Yes, that I will, by St Anthony,
And, by the leave of this company,
Prove ye false knaves both, ere we go,
In part of your sayings, as this, lo!
Thou by thy travail thinkest heaven to get:
And thou by pardons and relics countest no let,
To send thine own soul to heaven sure;
And all other whom thou list to procure.
If I took an action, then were they blank;
For like thieves the knaves rob away my thank.
All souls in heaven having relief,
Shall they thank your crafts? nay, thank mine chief.
No soul, ye know, entereth heaven-gate,
Till from the body he be separate:
And whom have ye known die honestly,
Without help of the 'pothecary?
Nay, all that cometh to our handling,
Except ye happen to come to hanging;
That way perchance ye shall not mister
To go to heaven without a glister.
But be ye sure I would be woe,
If ye should chance to beguile me so.
As good to lie with me a-night,
As hang abroad in the moonlight.
There is no choice to flee my hand,
But, as I said, into the band.
Since of our souls the multitude
I send to heaven, when all is viewed,
Who should but I then altogether
Have thank of all their coming thither?
PARDONER. If ye killed a thousand in an hour's space,
When come they to heaven dying out of grace?
'POTHECARY. If a thousand pardons about your necks were tied,
When come they to heaven, if they never died?
PALMER. Long life after good works indeed
Doth hinder man's receipt of mead;
And death before one duty done,
May make us think we die too soon.
Yet better tarry a thing than have it;
Than go too soon, and vainly crave it.
PARDONER. The longer ye dwell in communication,
The less shall ye like this imagination.
For ye may perceive, even at the first chop,
Your tale is trapped in such a stop.
That at the least ye seem worse than we.
'POTHECARY. By the mass, I hold us nought all three.
PEDLAR. By our lady, then have I gone wrong;
And yet to be here I thought it long.
'POTHECARY. Ye have gone wrong no whit,
I praise your fortune and your wit,
That can direct you so discreetly
To plant you in this company.
Thou a Palmer, and thou a Pardoner,
I a 'Pothecary.
PEDLAR. And I a Pedlar.
'POTHECARY. Now, on my faith, well watched;
Where the devil were we four hatched?
PEDLAR. That maketh no matter, since we be matched,
I could be merry if that I had catched
Some money for part of the ware in my pack.
'POTHECARY. What the devil hast thou there at thy back?
PEDLAR. What! dost thou not know that every pedlar
In all kind of trifles must be a meddler?
Specially in women's triflings;
Those use we chiefly above all things,
Which things to see, if ye be disposed,
Behold what ware here is disclosed!
This gear showeth itself in such beauty,
That each man thinketh it saith, _Come, buy me!_
Look where yourself can like to be chooser,
Yourself shall make price, though I be loser.
Is here nothing for my father Palmer?
Have ye not a wanton in a corner,
For all your walking to holy places?
By Christ, I have heard of as strange cases.
Who liveth in love, and love would win,
Even at this pack he must begin.
Wherein is right many a proper token,
Of which by name part shall be spoken:
Gloves, pins, combs, glasses unspotted,
Pomades, hooks, and laces knotted;
Brooches, rings, and all manner of beads;
Laces, round and flat, for women's heads;
Needles, thread, thimble, shears, and all such knacks,
Where lovers be, no such things lacks:
Sipers, swathbands, ribbons, and sleeve laces,
Girdles, knives, purses, and pincases.
'POTHECARY. Do women buy their pincases of you?
PEDLAR. Yea, that they do, I make God a vow.
'POTHECARY. So mot I thrive then for my part,
I beshrew thy knave's naked heart,
For making my wife's pincase so wide,
The pins fall out, they cannot abide:
Great pins she must have, one or other;
If she lose one, she will find another.
Wherein I find cause to complain:
New pins to her pleasure and to my pain!
PARDONER. Sir, ye seem well-seen in women's causes!
I pray you tell me what causeth this:
That women, after their arising,
Be so long in their apparelling?
PEDLAR. Forsooth, women have many lets,
And they be masked in many nets:
As frontlets, fillets, partlets, and bracelets;
And then their bonnets and their poignets:
By these lets and nets the let is such,
That speed is small when haste is much.
'POTHECARY. Another cause why they come not forward,
Which maketh them daily to draw backward;
And yet is a thing they cannot forbear;
The trimming and pinning up their gear;
Specially their fiddling with the tail-pin;
And when they would have it pricked in,
If it chance to double in the cloth,
Then be they wood, and sweareth an oath.
Till it stand right they will not forsake it,
Thus though it may not, yet would they make it.
But be ye sure they do but defer it;
For when they would make it, oft times mar it.
But prick them and pin them as nice as ye will,
And yet will they look for pinning still.
So that I durst hold with you a joint,
Ye shall never have them at a full point.
PEDLAR. Let women's matters pass, and mark mine:
Whatever their points be, these points be fine.
Wherefore, if ye be willing to buy,
Lay down money, come, off quickly.
PALMER. Nay, by my troth, we be like friars;
We are but beggars, we be no buyers.
PARDONER. Sir, ye may show your ware for your mind.
But I think ye shall no profit find.
PEDLAR. Well, though this journey acquit no cost,
Yet think I not my labour lost:
For, by the faith of my body,
I like full well this company.
Up shall this pack, for it is plain
I came not hither all for gain.
Who may not play one day in a week,
May think his thrift is far to seek.
Devise what pastime that ye think best,
And make ye sure to find me prest.
'POTHECARY. Why, be ye so universal,
That ye can do whatsoever ye shall?
PEDLAR. Sir, if ye list for to oppose me,
What I can do, then shall you see.
'POTHECARY. Then tell me this: are you perfit in drinking?
PEDLAR. Perfit in drinking? as may be wished by thinking.
'POTHECARY. Then, after your drinking, how fall ye to winking?
PEDLAR. Sir, after drinking, while the shot is tinking;
Some heads be swimming, but mine will be sinking,
And upon drinking my eyes will be pinking:
For winking to drinking is alway linking.
'POTHECARY. Then drink and sleep you can well do;
But if ye were desired thereto,
I pray you tell me, can you sing?
PEDLAR. Sir, I have some sight in singing.
'POTHECARY. But is your breast any thing sweet?
PEDLAR. Whatever my breast be, my voice is meet.
'POTHECARY. That answer showeth you a right singing man.
Now what is your will, good father, then?
PALMER. What helpeth will, where is no skill?
PARDONER. And what helpeth skill, where is no will!
'POTHECARY. For will or skill, what helpeth it,
Where forward knave be lacking wit?
Leave off this curiosity.
And who that list, sing after me. [_Here they sing_.
PEDLAR. This liketh me well, so mot I the.
PARDONER. So help me God, it liketh not me.
Where company is met and well agreed,
Good pastime doth right well indeed.
But who can sit in daliance,
Men sit in such a variance?
As we were set, ere ye came in,
Which strife this man did first begin;
Alleging that such men as use
For love of God, and not refuse
On foot to go from place to place
A pilgrimage, calling for grace,
Shall in that pain with penitence
Obtain discharge of conscience:
Comparing that life for the best
Induction to your endless rest.
Upon these words our matter grew:
For if he could avow them true,
As good to be a gardener.
As for to be a pardoner.
But when I heard him so far wide,
I then approached and replied:
Saying this, that this indulgence,
Having the foresaid penitence,
Dischargeth man of all offence
With much more profit than this pretence.
I ask but twopence at the most;
I-wis this is not very great cost,
And from all pain without despair,
My soul for to keep even in his chair,
And when he dieth, he may be sure
To come to heaven even at pleasure.
And more than heaven he cannot get,
How far soever he list to jet.
Then is his pain more than his wit,
To walk to heaven, since he may sit.
Sir, as we were in this contention,
In came this daw with his invention;
Reviling us, himself avaunting,
That all the souls to heaven ascending
Are most bound to the 'pothecary,
Because he helpeth most men to die,
Before which death he saith indeed,
No soul in heaven can have his mede.
PEDLAR. Why, do 'pothecaries kill men?
'POTHECARY. By God, men say so, now and then.
PEDLAR. And I thought ye would not have mit
To make them live as long as ye list.
'POTHECARY. As long as we list? nay, as long as they can.
PEDLAR. So might we live without you then.
'POTHECARY. Yea, but yet it is necessary
For to have a 'pothecary:
For when ye feel your conscience ready,
I can send you to heaven quickly.
Wherefore, concerning our matter here,
Above these twain I am best clear;
And if ye list to take me so,
I am content: you and no mo
Shall be our judge as in this case,
Which of us three shall take the best place.
PEDLAR. I neither will judge thee best nor worst;
For be ye blest or be ye curst,
Ye know it is no whit my sleight
To be a judge in matters of weight.
It behoveth no pedlars nor proctors
To take on them judgment as doctors:
But if your minds be only set
To work for soul-health, ye be well met:
For each of you somewhat doth show,
That souls toward heaven by you do grow.
Then if ye can so well agree,
To continue together all three;
And all you three obey one will,
Then all your minds ye may fulfil.
As if ye came all to one man,
Who should go pilgrimage more than he can?
In that ye, Palmer, as deputy,
May clearly discharge him, parde;
And for all other sins once had contrition,
Your pardons giveth him full remission.
And then ye, Master 'Pothecary,
May send him to heaven by and by.
'POTHECARY. If he taste this box nigh about the prime,
By the mass, he is in heaven ere evensong time.
My craft is such, that I can right well
Send my friends to heaven and myself to hell.
But, sirs, mark this man, for he is wise,
Who could devise such a device:
For if we three may be as one,
Then be we lords everychone;
Between us all could not be mist
To save the souls of whom we list.
But for good order, at a word,
Twain of us must wait on the third.
Back to Full Books