From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama
The Towneley Cycle, Play 3 - Noah and the Ark (Processus Noe cum filiis)
001 Noah. Myghtfull god veray / Maker of all that is,
002 Thre persons withoutten nay / oone god in endles blis,
003 Thou maide both nyght & day / beest, fowle, & fysh,
004 All creatures that lif may / wroght thou at thi wish,
005 As thou wel myght;
006 The son, the moyne, verament,
007 Thou maide; the firmament,
008 The sternes also full feruent,
009 To shyne thou maide ful bright.
010 Angels thou maide ful euen / all orders that is,
011 To haue the blis in heuen / this did thou more & les,
012 Ffull mervelus to neuen / yit was ther vnkyndnes,
013 More bi foldis seuen / then I can well expres;
014 Ffor whi?
015 Of all angels in brightnes
016 God gaf lucifer most lightnes,
017 Yit prowdly he flyt his des,
018 And set hym euen hym by.
019 He thoght hymself as worthi / as hym that hym made,
020 In brightnes, in bewty / therfor he hym degrade;
021 Put hym in a low degre / soyn after, in a brade,
022 Hym and all his menye / wher he may be vnglad,
023 Ffor euer.
024 Shall thay neuer wyn away
025 Hence vnto domysday,
026 Bot burne in bayle for ay,
027 Shall thay neuer dysseuer.
028 Soyne after that gracyous lord / to his liknes maide man,
029 That place to be restord / euen as he began,
030 Of the trinite bi accord, / Adam & eue that woman,
031 To multiplie without discord, / In paradise put he thaym,
032 And sithen to both
033 Gaf in commaundement,
034 On the tre of life to lay no hend;
035 Bot yit the fals feynd,
036 Made hym with man wroth,
037 Entysyd man to glotony / styrd him to syn in pride;
038 Bot in paradise securly / myght no syn abide,
039 And therfor man full hastely / was put out, in that tyde,
040 In wo & wandreth for to be / In paynes full vnrid,
041 To knawe,
042 Ffyrst in erth, in sythen in hell
043 With feyndis for to dwell,
044 Bot he his mercy mell
045 To those that will hym trawe.
046 Oyle of mercy he Hus hight / As I haue Hard red,
047 To euery lifyng wight / that wold luf hym and dred;
048 Bot now before his sight / euery liffyng leyde,
049 Most party day and nyght / syn in word and dede
050 Ffull bold;
051 Som in pride, Ire and enuy,
052 Som in Couet[yse] & glotyny,
053 Som in sloth and lechery,
054 And other wise many fold.
055 Therfor I drede lest god / on vs will take veniance,
056 Ffor syn is now alod / without any repentance;
057 Sex hundreth yeris & od / haue I, without distance,
058 In erth, as any sod, / liffyd with grete grevance
059 All way;
060 And now I wax old,
061 Seke, sory, and cold,
062 As muk apon mold
063 I widder away;
064 Bot yit will I cry / for mercy and call;
065 Noe thi seruant, am I / lord ouer all!
066 Therfor me and my fry / shal with me fall;
067 Saue from velany / and bryng to thi hall
068 In heuen;
069 And kepe me from syn,
070 This warld, within;
071 Comly kyng of mankyn,
072 I pray the here my stevyn!
073 God. Syn I haue maide all thyng / that is liffand,
074 Duke, emperour, and kyng / with myne awne hand,
075 Ffor to haue thare likyng / bi see & bi sand,
076 Euery man to my bydyng / shuld, be bowand
077 Ffull feruent;
078 That maide man sich a creatoure,
079 Ffarest of favoure,
080 Man must luf me paramoure,
081 By reson, and repent.
082 Me thoght I shewed man luf / when I made hym to be
083 All angels abuf / like to the trynyte;
084 And now in grete reprufe / full low ligis he,
085 In erth hymself to stuf / with syn that displeasse me
086 Most of all;
087 Veniance will I take,
088 In erth for syn sake,
089 My grame thus will I wake,
090 Both of grete and small.
091 I repente full sore / that euer maide I man,
092 Bi me he settis no store / and I am his soferan;
093 I will distroy therfor / Both beest, man, and woman,
094 All shall perish les and more / that bargan may thay ban,
095 That ill has done.
096 In erth I se right noght
097 Bot syn that is vnsoght;
098 Of those that well has wroght
099 Ffynd, I bot a fone.
100 Therfor shall I fordo / All this medill-erd
101 With floodis that shall flo / & ryn with hidous rerd;
102 I haue good cause therto / ffor me no man is ferd,
103 As I say shal I do / of veniance draw my swerd,
104 And make end,
105 Of all that beris life,
106 Sayf noe and his wife,
107 Ffor that wold neuer stryfe
108 With me [ne] me offend.
109 Hym to mekill wyn / hastly will I go,
110 To noe my seruand, or I blyn / to warn hym of his wo.
111 In erth I se bot syn / reynand to and fro,
112 Emang both more & myn / ichon other fo;
113 With all thare entent;
114 All shall I fordo
115 With floodis that shall floo,
116 Wirk shall I thaym wo,
117 That will not repent.
118 Noe, my freend, I thee commaund / from cares the to keyle,
119 A ship that thou ordand / of nayle and bord, ful wele.
120 Thou was alway well wirkand / to me trew as stele,
121 To my bydyng obediand / frendship shal thou fele
122 To mede;
123 Of lennthe thi ship be
124 Thre hundreth cubettis, warn I the,
125 Of heght euen thrirte,
126 Of fyfty als in brede.
127 Anoynt thi ship with pik and tar / without & als within,
128 The water out to spar / this is a noble gyn;
129 Look no man the mar / thre chese chambres begyn,
130 Thou must spend many a spar / this wark or thou wyn
131 To end fully.
132 Make in thi ship also,
133 Parloures oone or two,
134 And houses of offyce mo,
135 Ffor beestis that ther must be.
136 Oone cubite on hight / A wyndo shal thou make;
137 On the syde a doore with slyght / be-neyth shal thou take;
138 With the shal no man fyght / nor do the no kyn wrake.
139 When all is doyne thus right / thi wife, that is thi make,
140 Take in to the;
141 Thi sonnes of good fame,
142 Sem, Iaphet, and Came,
143 Take in also hame,
144 Thare wifis also thre.
145 Ffor all shal be fordone / that lif in land bot ye,
146 With floodis that from abone / shal fall, & that plente;
147 It shall begyn full sone / to rayn vncessantle,
148 After dayes seuen be done / and induyr dayes fourty,
149 Withoutten fayll.
150 Take to thi ship also
151 Of ich kynd beestis two,
152 Mayll & femayll, bot no mo,
153 Or thou pull vp thi sayll.
154 Ffor thay may the avayll / when al this thyng is wroght;
155 Stuf thi ship with vitayll, / ffor hungre that ye perish noght;
156 Of beestis, foull, and catayll / ffor thaym haue thou in thoght,
157 Ffor thaym is my counsayll / that som socour be soght,
158 In hast;
159 Thay must haue corn and hay,
160 And oder mete alway;
161 Do now as I the say,
162 In the name of the holy gast.
163 Noah. A! benedicite! / what art thou that thus
164 Tellys afore that shall be? / thou art full mervelus!
165 Tell me, for charite / thi name so gracius.
166 God. My name is of dignyte / and also full glorius
167 To knawe.
168 I am god most myghty,
169 Oone god in trynyty,
170 Made the and ich man to be;
171 To luf me well thou awe.
172 Noah. I thank the, lord, so dere / that wold, vowch sayf
173 Thus low to appere / to a symple knafe;
174 Blis vs, lord, here / for charite I hit crafe,
175 The better may we stere / the ship that we shall hafe,
177 God. Noe, to the and to thi fry
178 My blyssyng graunt I;
179 Ye shall wax and multiply,
180 And fill the erth agane,
181 When all thise floodis ar past / and fully gone away.
182 Noah. Lord, homward will I hast / as fast as that I may;
183 My [wife] will I frast / what she will say,
184 And I am agast / that we get som fray
185 Betwixt vs both;
186 Ffor she is full tethee,
187 Ffor litill oft angre,
188 If any thyng wrang be,
189 Soyne is she wroth.
190 God spede, dere wife / how fayre ye?
191 Uxor. Now, as euer myght I thryfe / the wars
192 I thee see;
193 Do tell me belife / where has thou thus long be?
194 To dede may we dryfe / or lif for the, ffor want.
195 When we swete or swynk,
196 Thou dos what thou thynk,
197 Yit of mete and of drynk
198 Haue we veray skant.
199 Noah. Wife, we ar hard, sted / with tythyngis new.
200 Uxor. Bot thou were worthi be cled / In stafford blew;
201 Ffor thou art alway adred / be it fals or trew;
202 Bot god knowes I am led / and that may I rew,
203 Ffull ill;
204 Ffor I dar be thi borow,
205 Ffrom euen vnto morow,
206 Thou spekis euer of sorow;
207 God send the onys thi fill!
208 We women may wary / all ill husbandis;
209 I haue oone, bi mary! / that lowsyd me of my bandis;
210 If he teyn I must tary / how so euer it standis,
211 With seymland full sory, / wryngand both my handis
212 Ffor drede.
213 Bot yit other while,
214 What with gam & with gyle,
215 I shall smyte and smyle,
216 And qwite hym his mede.
217 Noah. We! hold, thi tong, ram-skyt / or I shall the still.
218 Uxor. By my thryft, if thou smyte / I shal turne the vntill.
219 Noah. We shall assay as tyte / haue at the, gill!
220 Apon the bone shal it byte. /
221 Uxor. A, so, mary! thou smytis ill!
222 Bot I suppose
223 I shal not in thi det,
224 Fflyt of this flett!
225 Take the ther a langett
226 To tye vp thi hose!
227 Noah. A! wilt thou so? / mary, that is myne.
228 Uxor. Thou shal thre for two / I swere bi godis pyne.
229 Noah. And I shall qwyte the tho / In fayth or syne.
230 Uxor. Out apon the, ho! /
231 Noah. Thou can both byte and whyne,
232 With a rerd;
233 Ffor all if she stryke,
234 Yit fast will she skryke,
235 In fayth I hold, none slyke
236 In all medill-erd;
237 Bot I will kepe charyte / ffor I haue at do.
238 Uxor. Here shal no man tary the / I pray the go to!
239 Ffull well may we mys the / as euer haue I ro;
240 To spyn will I dres me. /
241 Noah. We! fare well, lo;
242 Bot wife,
243 Pray for me besele,
244 To eft I com vnto the.
245 Uxor. Euen as thou prays for me,
246 As euer myght I thrife.
247 Noah. I tary full Lang / Fro my warke, I traw;
248 Now my gere will I fang / and thederward draw;
249 I may full ill gang / the soth for to knaw,
250 Bot if god help amang / I may sit downe daw
251 To ken;
252 Now assay will I
253 How I can of wrightry,
254 In nomine patris, & filii,
255 Et spiritus sanncti, Amen.
256 To begyn of this tree / my bonys will I bend,
257 I traw from the trynyte / socoure will be send;
258 It fayres full fayre, thynk me / this wark to my hend;
259 Now blissid be he / that this can amend.
260 Lo, here the lenght,
261 Thre hundreth cubettis euenly,
262 Of breed lo is it fyfty,
263 The heght is euen thyrty
264 Cubettis full strenght.
265 Now my gowne will I cast / and wyrk in my cote,
266 Make will I the mast / or I flyt oone foote,
267 A! my bak, I traw, will brast! / this is a sory note!
268 Hit is wonder that I last / sich an old, dote
269 All dold,
270 To begyn sich a wark!
271 My bonys ar so stark,
272 No wonder if thay wark,
273 Ffor I am full old.
274 The top and the sayll / both will I make,
275 The helme and the castell / also will I take,
276 To drife ich a nayll / will I not forsake,
277 This gere may neuer fayll / that dar I vndertake
279 This is a nobull gyn,
280 Thise nayles so thay ryn,
281 Thoro more and myn,
282 Thise bordis ichon;
283 Wyndow and doore / euen as he saide,
284 Thre ches chambre / thay ar well maide,
285 Pyk & tar full sure / ther apon laide,
286 This will euer endure / therof am I paide;
287 Ffor why?
288 It is better wroght
289 Then I coude haif thoght;
290 Hym that maide all of noght
291 I thank oonly.
292 Now will I hy me / and no thyng be leder,
293 My wife and my meneye / to bryng euen heder.
294 Tent hedir tydely / wife, and consider,
295 Hens must vs fle / All sam togeder
296 In hast.
297 Uxor. Whi, syr, what alis you?
298 Who is that asalis you?
299 To fle it avalis you,
300 And ye be agast.
301 Noah. Ther is garn on the reyll / other, my dame.
302 Uxor. Tell me that ich a deyll / els get ye blame.
303 Noah. He that cares may keill / blissid be his name!
304 He has for oure seyll / to sheld vs fro shame,
305 And sayd,
306 All this warld aboute
307 With floodis so stoute,
308 That shall ryn on a route,
309 Shall be ouerlaide.
310 He saide all shall be slayn / bot oonely we,
311 Oure barnes that ar bayn / and thare wifis thre;
312 A ship he bad me ordayn / to safe vs & oure fee,
313 Therfor with all oure mayn / thank we that fre
314 Beytter of bayll;
315 Hy vs fast, go we thedir.
316 Uxor. I wote neuer whedir,
317 I dase and I dedir
318 Ffor ferd of that tayll.
319 Noah. Be not aferd, haue done / trus sam oure gere,
320 That we be ther or none / without more dere.
321 Primus Filius. It shall be done full sone / brether, help to bere.
322 Secundus Filius. Ffull long shall I not hoyne / to do my devere,
323 Brether sam.
324 Tertius Filius. Without any yelp,
325 At my myght shall I help.
326 Uxor. Yit for drede of a skelp
327 Help well thi dam.
328 Noah. Now ar we there / as we shuld be;
329 Do get in oure gere / oure catall and fe,
330 In to this vessell here / my chylder fre.
331 Uxor. I was neuer bard ere / As euer myght I the,
332 In sich an oostre as this.
333 In fath I can not fynd
334 Which is before, which is behynd;
335 Bot shall we here be pynd,
336 Noe, as haue thou blis?
337 Noah. Dame, as it is skill / here must vs abide grace;
338 Therfor, wife, with good will / com into this place.
339 Uxor. Sir, for Iak nor for gill / will I turne my face
340 Till I haue on this hill / spon a space
341 On my rok;
342 Well were he, myght get me,
343 Now will I downe set me,
344 Yit reede I no man let me,
345 Ffor drede of a knok.
346 Noah. Behold to the heuen / the cateractes all,
347 That are open full euen / grete and small,
348 And the planettis seuen / left has thare stall,
349 Thise thoners and levyn / downe gar fall
350 Ffull stout,
351 Both halles and bowers,
352 Castels and towres;
353 Ffull sharp ar thise showers,
354 That renys aboute;
355 Therfor, wife, haue done / com into ship fast.
356 Uxor. Yei, noe, go cloute thi shone / the better will thai last.
357 Prima Mulier. Good moder, com in sone / ffor all is ouer cast,
358 Both the son and the mone. /
359 Secunda Mulier. And many wynd blast
360 Ffull sharp;
361 Thise floodis so thay ryn,
362 Therfor moder come in.
363 Uxor. In fayth yit will I spyn;
364 All in vayn ye carp.
365 Tercius Mulier. If ye like ye may spyn / Moder, in the ship.
366 Noah. Now is this twyys com in / dame, on my frenship.
367 Uxor. Wheder I lose or I wyn / In fayth, thi felowship,
368 Set I not a pyn / this spyndill will I slip
369 Apon this hill,
370 Or I styr oone fote.
371 Noah. Peter! I traw we dote;
372 Without any more note
373 Come in if ye will.
374 Uxor. Yei, water nyghys so nere / that I sit not dry,
375 Into ship with a byr / therfor will I hy
376 Ffor drede that I drone here. /
377 Noah. Dame, securly,
378 It bees boght full dere / ye abode so long by
379 Out of ship.
380 Uxor. I will not, for thi bydyng,
381 Go from doore to mydyng.
382 Noah. In fayth, and for youre long taryyng
383 Ye shal lik on the whyp.
384 Uxor. Spare me not, I pray the / bot euen as thou thynk,
385 Thise grete wordis shall not flay me. /
386 Noah. Abide, dame, and drynk
387 Ffor betyn shall thou be / with this staf to thou stynk;
388 Ar strokis good? say me. /
389 Uxor. What say ye, wat wynk?
390 Noah. Speke!
391 Cry me mercy, I say!
392 Uxor. Therto say I nay.
393 Noah. Bot thou do, bi this day,
394 Thi hede shall I breke.
395 Uxor. Lord, I were at ese / and hertely full hoylle,
396 Might I onys haue a measse / of wedows coyll;
397 Ffor thi saull, without lese / shuld I dele penny doyll,
398 So wold mo, no frese / that I se on this sole
399 Of wifis that ar here,
400 Ffor the life that thay leyd,
401 Wold thare husbandis were dede,
402 Ffor, as euer ete I brede,
403 So wold I oure syre were.
404 Noah. Yee men that has wifis / whyls they ar yong,
405 If ye luf youre lifis / chastice thare tong:
406 Me thynk my hert ryfis / both levyr and long,
407 To se sich stryfis / wedmen emong;
408 Bot I,
409 As haue I blys,
410 Shall chastyse this.
411 Uxor. Yit may ye mys,
412 Nicholl nedy!
413 Noah. I shall make the still as stone / begynnar of blunder!
414 I shall bete the bak and bone / and breke all in sonder.
415 Uxor. Out, alas, I am gone! / oute apon the, mans wonder!
416 Noah. Se how she can grone / and I lig vnder;
417 Bot, wife,
418 In this hast let vs ho,
419 Ffor my bak is nere in two.
420 Uxor. And I am bet so blo
421 That I may not thryfe.
422 Primus Filius. A! whi fare ye thus? / ffader and moder both!
423 Secundus Filius. Ye shuld not be so spitus / standyng in sich a woth.
424 Tertius Filius. Thise ar so hidus / with many a cold coth.
425 Noah. We will do as ye bid vs / we will no more be wroth,
426 Dere barnes!
427 Now to the helme will I hent,
428 And to my ship tent.
429 Uxor. I se on the firmament,
430 Me thynk, the seven starnes.
431 Noah. This is a grete flood / wife, take hede.
432 Uxor. So me thoght, as I stode / we ar in grete drede;
433 Thise wawghes ar so wode. /
434 Noah. Help, god, in this nede!
435 As thou art stere-man good / and best, as I rede,
436 Of all;
437 Thou rewle vs in this rase,
438 As thou me behete hase.
439 Uxor. This is a perlous case:
440 Help, god, when we call!
441 Noah. Wife, tent the stere-tre / and I shall asay
442 The depnes of the see / that we bere, if I may.
443 Uxor. That shall I do ful wysely / now go thi way,
444 Ffor apon this flood haue we / flett many day,
445 With pyne.
446 Noah. Now the water will I sownd:
447 A! it is far to the grownd;
448 This trauell I expownd
449 Had I to tyne.
450 Aboue all hillys bedeyn / the water is rysen late
451 Cubettis fyfteyn, / bot in a highter state
452 It may not be, I weyn / for this well I wate,
453 This forty dayes has rayn beyn / It will therfor abate
454 Full lele.
455 This water in hast,
456 Eft will I tast;
457 Now am I agast,
458 It is wanyd a grete dele.
459 Now are the weders cest / and cateractes knyt,
460 Both the most and the leest. /
461 Uxor. Me thynk, bi my wit,
462 The son shynes in the eest / lo is not yond it?
463 We shuld haue a good feest / were thise floodis flyt
464 So spytus.
465 Noah. We haue been here, all we,
466 Thre hundreth dayes and fyfty.
467 Uxor. Yei, now wanys the see;
468 Lord, well is vs!
469 Noah. The thryd tyme will I prufe / what depnes we bere.
470 Uxor. Now long shall thou hufe / lay in thy lyne there.
471 Noah. I may towch with my lufe / the grownd evyn here.
472 Uxor. Then begynnys to grufe / to vs mery chere;
473 Bot, husband,
474 What grownd may this be?
475 Noah. The hyllys of armonye.
476 Uxor. Now blissid be he
477 That thus for vs can ordand!
478 Noah. I see toppys of hyllys he / many at a syght,
479 No thyng to let me / the wedir is so bright.
480 Uxor. Thise ar of mercy / tokyns full right.
481 Noah. Dame, thi counsell me / what fowll best myght,
482 And Cowth,
483 With flight of wyng
484 Bryng, without taryying,
485 Of mercy som tokynyng
486 Ayther bi north or southe?
487 Ffor this is the fyrst day / of the tent moyne.
488 Uxor. The ravyn, durst I lay / will com agane sone;
489 As fast as thou may / cast hym furth, haue done,
490 He may happyn to day / com agane or none
491 With grath.
492 Noah. I will cast out also
493 Dowfys oone or two:
494 Go youre way, go,
495 God send, you som wathe!
496 Now ar thise fowles flone / Into seyr countre;
497 Pray we fast ichon / kneland on our kne,
498 To hym that is alone / worthiest of degre,
499 That he wold send anone / oure fowles som fee
500 To glad vs.
501 Uxor. Thai may not fayll of land,
502 The water is so wanand.
503 Noah. Thank we god all weldand,
504 That lord that made vs.
505 It is a wonder thyng / me thynk sothle,
506 Thai ar so long taryyng / the fowles that we
507 Cast out in the mornyng. /
508 Uxor. Syr, it may be
509 Thai tary to thay bryng. /
510 Noah. The ravyn is a hungrye
511 All way;
512 He is without any reson,
513 And he fynd any caryon,
514 As peraventure may befon,
515 He will not away;
516 The dowfe is more gentill / her trust I vntew,
517 Like vnto the turtill / for she is ay trew.
518 Uxor. Hence bot a litill / she commys, lew, lew!
519 She bryngys in her bill / som novels new;
521 It is of an olif tre
522 A branch, thynkys me.
523 Noah. It is soth, perde,
524 Right so is it cald.
525 Doufe, byrd, full blist / ffayre myght the befall !
526 Thou art trew for to trist / as ston in the wall;
527 Full well I it wist / thou wold com to thi hall,
528 Uxor. A trew tokyn ist / we shall be sauyd all:
529 Ffor whi?
530 The water, syn she com,
531 Of depnes plom,
532 Is fallen a fathom,
533 And more hardely.
534 Primus Filius. Thise floodis ar gone / fader, behold.
535 Secundus Filius. Ther is left right none / and that be ye bold.
536 Tercius Filius. As still as a stone / oure ship is stold.
537 Noah. Apon land here anone / that we were, fayn I wold;
538 My childer dere,
539 Sem, Japhet and Cam,
540 With gle and with gam,
541 Com go we all sam,
542 We will no longer abide here.
543 Uxor. Here haue we beyn / noy long enogh,
544 With tray and with teyn / and dreed mekill wogh.
545 Noah. Behald, on this greyn / nowder cart ne plogh
546 Is left, as I weyn / nowder tre then bogh,
547 Ne other thyng,
548 Bot all is away;
549 Many castels, I say,
550 Grete townes of aray,
551 Fflitt has this flowyng.
552 Uxor. Thise floodis not afright / all this warld, so wide
553 Has mevid with myght / on se and bi side.
554 Noah. To dede ar thai dyght / prowdist of pryde,
555 Euer ich a wyght / that euer was spyde,
556 With syn,
557 All ar thai slayn,
558 And put vnto payn.
559 Uxor. Ffrom thens agayn
560 May thai neuer wyn?
561 Noah. Wyn? no, I-wis / bot he that myght hase
562 Wold myn of thare mys / & admytte thaym to grace;
563 As he in bayll is blis / I pray hym in this space,
564 In heven hye with his / to purvaye vs a place,
565 That we,
566 With his santis in sight,
567 And his angels bright,
568 May com to his light:
569 Amen, for charite.
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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Towneley Cycle, Play 3 - Noah and the Ark (Processus Noe cum filiis). From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http:www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.