From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama
The Towneley Cycle, Play 16 - Herod the Great (Magnus Herodes)
001 Nuncius. Moste myghty mahowne / meng you with myrth!
002 Both of burgh and of towne / by fellys and by fyrth,
003 Both kyng with crowne / and barons of brith,
004 That radly wyll rowne / many greatt grith
005 Shall be happ.
006 Take tenderly intent
007 What sondys ar sent,
008 Els harmes shall ye hent,
009 And lothes you to lap.
010 Herode, the heynd, kyng / by grace of mahowne,
011 Of Iury, Iourmontyng / sternly with crowne,
012 On lyfe that ar lyfyng / in towre and, in towne,
013 Gracyus you gretyng / commaundys you be bowne
014 At his bydyng;
015 Luf hym with lewte,
016 Drede hym, that doughty!
017 He chargys you be redy
018 Lowly at his lykyng.
019 What man apon mold, / menys hym agane,
020 Tytt teyn shall be told, knyght, sqwyere, or swayn;
021 Be he neuer so bold, / byes he that bargan,
022 Twelf thowsand fold, / more then I sayn
023 May ye trast;
024 He is worthy wonderly,
025 Selcouthly sory;
026 Ffor a boy that is borne her by
027 Standys he abast.
028 A kyng thay hym call / and that we deny;
029 How shuld, it so fall / greatt meruell haue I;
030 Therfor ouer all / Shall I make a cry,
031 That ye busk not to brall / nor lyke not to ly
032 This tyde;
033 Carpys of no kyng
034 Bot herode, that lordyng,
035 Or busk to youre beyldyng,
036 Youre heedys for to hyde.
037 He is Kyng of Kyngys / Kyndly I Knowe,
038 Chefe lord of lordyngys / chefe leder of law,
039 Ther watys on his wyngys / that bold, bost wyll blaw,
040 Greatt dukys downe dyngys / ffor his greatt aw,
041 And hym lowtys.
042 Tuskane and turky,
043 All Inde and Italy,
044 Cecyll and surry,
045 Drede hym and dowtys.
046 Ffrom paradyse to padwa / to mownt flascon;
047 Ffrom egyp to mantua / vnto kemp towne;
048 Ffrom sarceny to susa / to grece it abowne;
049 Both normondy and norwa / lowtys to his crowne;
050 His renowne
051 Can no tong tell,
052 Ffrom heuen vnto hell;
053 Of hym can none spell
054 Bot his cosyn mahowne.
055 He is the worthyest of all / barnes that are borne;
056 Ffree men ar his thrall / full teynfully torne;
057 Begyn he to brall / many men cach skorne;
058 Obey must we all / or els be ye lorne
059 Att onys.
060 Downe dyng of youre knees,
061 All that hym seys,
062 Dysplesyd he beys,
063 And byrkyn many bonys.
064 Here he commys now, I cry / that lord, I of spake;
065 Ffast afore wyll I hy / radly on a rake,
066 And welcom hym worshipfully / laghyng with lake,
067 As he is most worthy / and knele for his sake
068 So low;
069 Downe dernly to fall,
070 As renk most ryall:
071 Hayll, the worthyest of all!
072 To the must I bow!
073 Hayll, luf lord! lo / thi letters haue I layde;
074 I haue done I couth do / and peasse haue I prayd;
075 Mekyll more therto / opynly dysplayd;
076 Bot romoure is rasyd so / that boldly thay brade
077 Emangis thame;
078 Thay carp of a kyng,
079 Thay seasse not sich chateryng.
080 Herodes. Bot I shall tame thare talkyng,
081 And let thame go hang thame:
082 Stynt, brodels, youre dyn / yei, euerychon!
083 I red that ye harkyn / to I be gone,
084 Ffor if I begyn / I breke ilka bone,
085 And pull fro the skyn / the carcas anone,
086 Yei, perde!
087 Sesse all this wonder,
088 And make vs no blonder,
089 Ffor I ryfe you in sonder,
090 Be ye so hardy.
091 Peasse both yong and old / at my bydyng, I red,
092 Ffor I haue all in wold, / in me standys lyfe and dede;
093 Who that is so bold / I brane hym thrugh the hede;
094 Speke not or I haue told, / what I will in this stede;
095 Ye wote nott
096 All that I will mefe;
097 Styr not bot ye haue lefe,
098 Ffor if ye do, I clefe
099 You small as flesh to pott.
100 My myrthes ar turned to teyn / my mekenes into Ire,
101 And all for oone I weyn / with-in I fare as fyre.
102 May I se hym with eyn / I shall gyf hym his hyre;
103 Bot I do as I meyn / I were a full lewde syre
104 In wonys;
105 Had I that lad in hand,
106 As I am kyng in land,
107 I shuld with this steyll brand
108 Byrkyn all his bonys.
109 My name spryngys far and nere / the doughtyest, men me call,
110 That euer ran with spere / A lord and kyng ryall;
111 What ioy is me to here / A lad to sesse my stall!
112 If I this crowne may bere / that boy shall by for all.
113 I anger;
114 I wote not what dewill me alys,
115 Thay teyn me so with talys,
116 That by gottys dere nalys,
117 I wyll peasse no langer.
118 What dewill! me thynk I brast / ffor anger and for teyn;
119 I trow thyse kyngys be past / that here with me has beyn;
120 Thay promysed me full fast / or now here to be seyn,
121 Ffor els I shuld, haue cast / an othere sleght, I weyn;
122 I tell you,
123 A boy thay sayd thay soght,
124 With offeryng that thay broght;
125 It mefys my hart right noght
126 To breke his nek in two.
127 Bot be thay past me by / by mahowne in heuen,
128 I shall, and that in hy / set all on sex and seuen;
129 Trow ye a kyng as I / will suffre thaym to neuen
130 Any to haue mastry / bot my self full euen?
131 Nay, leyfe!
132 The dewill me hang and draw,
133 If I that losell knaw,
134 Bot I gyf hym a blaw,
135 That lyfe I shall hym reyfe.
136 Ffor parels yit I wold, / wyst if thay were gone;
137 And ye therof her told / I pray you say anone,
138 Ffor and thay be so bold, / by god that syttys in trone,
139 The payn can not be told, / that thay shall haue ilkon,
140 Ffor Ire;
141 Sich panys hard, neuer man tell,
142 Ffor vgly and for fell,
143 That lucyfere in hell
144 Thare bonys shall all to-tyre.
145 Primus Miles. Lord, thynk not ill if I / tell you how thay ar past;
146 I kepe not layn, truly / Syn thay cam by you last,
147 An othere way in hy / thay soght, & that full fast.
148 Herodes. Why, and ar thay past me by? / we! outt! for teyn I brast!
149 We! fy!
150 Ffy on the dewill! where may I byde?
151 Bot fyght for teyn and al to-chyde!
152 Thefys, I say ye shuld, haue spyde
153 And told, when thay went by;
154 Ye ar knyghtys to trast! / nay, losels ye ar, and thefys;
155 I wote I yelde my gast / so sore my hart it grefys.
156 Secundus Miles. What nede you be abast? / ther ar no greatt myschefys
157 Ffor these maters to gnast. /
158 Tercius Miles. Why put ye sich reprefys
159 Withoutt cause?
160 Thus shuld ye not thrett vs,
161 Vngaynly to bete vs,
162 Ye shuld not rehett vs,
163 Withoutt othere sawes.
164 Herodes. Ffy, losels and lyars! / lurdans ilkon!
165 Tratoures and well wars! / knafys, bot knyghtys none!
166 Had ye bene woth youre eres / thus had thay not gone;
167 Gett I those land lepars / I breke ilka bone;
168 Ffyrst vengeance
169 Shall I se on thare bonys;
170 If ye byde in these wonys
171 I shall dyng you with stonys,
172 Yei, ditizance doutance.
173 I wote not where I may sytt / for anger & for teyn;
174 We haue not done all yit / if it be as I weyn;
175 Ffy! dewill! now how is it? / as long as I haue eyn
176 I think not for to flytt / bot kyng I will be seyn
177 Ffor euer.
178 Bot stand I to quart,
179 I tell you my hart,
180 I shall gar thaym start,
181 Or els trust me neuer.
182 Primus Miles. Syr, thay went sodanly / or any man wyst,
183 Els had mett we, yei, perdy / and may ye tryst.
184 Secundus Miles. So bold, nor so hardy / agans oure lyst,
185 Was none of that company / durst mete me with fyst
186 Ffor ferd.
187 Tercius Miles. Ill durst thay abyde,
188 Bot ran thame to hyde;
189 Might I thaym haue spyde,
190 I had made thaym a berd.
191 What couth we more do / to saue youre honoure?
192 Primus Miles. We were redy therto / and shal be ilk howre.
193 Herodes. Now syn it is so / ye shall haue fauoure;
194 Go where ye wyll, go / by towne and by towre,
195 Goys hens!
196 I haue maters to mell
197 With my preuey counsell;
198 Clerkys, ye bere the bell,
199 Ye must me encense.
200 Oone spake in myne eere / A wonderfull talkyng,
201 And sayde a madyn shuld, bere / anothere to be kyng;
202 Syrs, I pray you inquere / in all wrytyng,
203 In vyrgyll, in homere / And all other thyng
204 Bot legende;
205 Sekys poece tayllys;
206 Lefe pystyls and grales;
207 Mes, matyns, noght avalys,
208 All these I defende;
209 I pray you tell heyndly / now what ye fynde.
210 Primus Consultus. Truly, sir, prophecy / It is not blynd;
211 We rede thus by Isay / he shalbe so kynde,
212 That a madyn, sothely / which neuer synde,
213 Shall hym bere:
214 "[virgo concipiet,
215 Natumque pariet;"]
216 "[Emanuell"] is hete,
217 His name for to lere,
218 "[God is with vs,"] that is forto say.
219 Secundus Consultus. And othere says thus / tryst me ye may:
220 "[Of bedlem a gracyus / lord shall spray,
221 That of Iury myghtyus / kyng shalbe ay,
222 Lord myghty;
223 And hym shall honoure
224 Both kyng and emperoure."]
225 Herodes. Why, and shuld I to hym cowre?
226 Nay, ther thou lyys lyghtly!
227 Ffy! the dewill the spede / and me, bot I drynk onys!
228 This has thou done in dede / to anger me for the nonys:
229 And thou, knafe, thou thy mede / shall haue, by cokys dere bonys!
230 Thou can not half thi crede! / outt, thefys, fro my wonys!
231 Ffy, knafys!
232 Ffy, dotty-pols, with youre bookys!
233 Go kast thaym in the brookys!
234 With sich wylys and crokys
235 My wytt away rafys!
236 Hard I neuer sich a trant / that a knafe so sleght
237 Shuld, com lyke a sant / and refe me my right;
238 Nay, he shall on slant / I shall kyll hym downe stryght;
239 War! I say, lett me pant / now thynk I to fyght
240 Ffor anger;
241 My guttys will outt thryng
242 Bot I this lad hyng;
243 Withoutt I haue a vengyng,
244 I may lyf no langer.
245 Shuld a carll in a kafe / bot of oone yere age,
246 Thus make me to rafe? /
247 Primus Consultus. Syr, peasse this outrage!
248 A-way let ye wafe / all sich langage,
249 Youre worship to safe / is he oght bot a page
250 Of a yere?
251 We two shall hym teyn
252 With oure wyttys betweyn,
253 That, if ye do as I meyn,
254 He shall dy on a spere.
255 Secundus Consultus. Ffor drede that he reyn / do as we red;
256 Thrug outt bedlem / and ilk othere stede,
257 Make knyghtys ordeyn / and put vnto dede
258 All knaue chyldren / of two yerys brede,
259 And with-in;
260 This chyld, may ye spyll
261 Thus at youre awne will.
262 Herodes. Now thou says here tyll
263 A right nobyll gyn!
264 If I lyf in land / good lyfe, as I hope,
265 This dar I the warand / to make the Pope.
266 O, my hart is rysand / now in a glope!
267 Ffor this nobyll tythand / thou shall haue a drope
268 Of my good grace;
269 Markys, rentys, and powndys,
270 Greatt castels & groundys;
271 Thrugh all sees and sandys
272 I gyf the the chace.
273 Now wyll I procede / and take veniance;
274 All the flowre of knyghthede / call to legeance;
275 Bewshere, I the byd / it may the avance.
276 Nuncius. Lord, I shall me spede / and bryng, perchaunce,
277 To thy syght.
278 Hark, knyghtys, I you bryng
279 Here new tythyng;
280 Vnto herode kyng
281 Hast with all youre myght!
282 In all the hast that ye may / in armowre full bright,
283 In youre best aray / looke that ye be dight.
284 Primus Miles. Why shuld we fray? /
285 Secundus Miles. This is not all right.
286 Tercius Miles. Syrs, withoutten delay I drede that we fight.
287 Nuncius. I pray you,
288 As fast as ye may,
289 Com to hym this day.
290 Primus Miles. What, in oure best aray?
291 Nuncius. Yei, syrs, I say you.
292 Secundus Miles. Somwhat is in hand / what euer it meyn.
293 Tercius Miles. Tarry not for to stand / ther or we haue beyn.
294 Nuncius. Kyng herode all weldand / well be ye seyn!
295 Youre knyghtys ar comand / in armoure full sheyn. At youre wyll.
296 Primus Miles. Hayll, dughtyest of all!
297 We are comen at youre call
298 Ffor to do what we shall,
299 Youre lust to fullfyll.
300 Herodes. Welcom, lordyngys, Iwys / both greatt and small!
301 The cause now is this / that I send for you all:
302 A lad, a knafe, borne is / that shuld, be kyng ryall;
303 Bot I kyll hym and his / I wote I brast my gall;
304 Therfor, Syrs,
305 Veniance shall ye take,
306 All for that lad, sake,
307 And men I shall you make
308 Where ye com ay where, syrs.
309 To bedlem loke ye go / And all the coste aboute,
310 All knaue chyldren ye slo / and lordys, ye shalbe stoute;
311 Of yeres if they be two / and within, of all that rowte
312 On lyfe lyefe none of tho / that lygys in swedyll clowte,
313 I red you;
314 Spare no kyns bloode,
315 Lett all ryn on floode,
316 If women wax woode;
317 I warn you, syrs, to spede you;
318 Hens! now go youre way / that ye were thore.
319 Secundus Miles. I wote we make a fray / bot I wyll go before.
320 Tercius Miles. A, thynk, syrs, I say / I mon whett lyke a bore.
321 Primus Miles. Sett me before ay / good enogh for a skore;
322 Hayll heyndly!
323 We shall for youre sake
324 Make a dulfull lake.
325 Herodes. Now if ye me well wrake
326 Ye shall fynd me freyndly.
327 Secundus Miles. Go ye now tyll oure noytt / and handyll thaym weyll.
328 Tercius Miles. I shall pay thaym on the cote / begyn I to reyll.
329 Primus Miles. Hark, felose, ye dote / yonder commys vnceyll;
330 I hold, here a grote / she lykys me not weyll
331 Be we parte;
332 Dame, thynk it not yll,
333 Thy knafe if I kyll.
334 Prima Mulier. What, thefe! agans my wyll?
335 Lord, kepe hym in qwarte!
336 Primus Miles. Abyde now, abyde / no farther thou gose.
337 Prima Mulier. Peasse, thefe! shall I chyde / and make here a nose?
338 Primus Miles. I shall reyfe the thy pryde / kyll we these boyse!
339 Prima Mulier. Tyd may betyde / kepe well thy nose,
340 Ffals thefe!
341 Haue on loft on thy hode.
342 Primus Miles. What, hoore, art thou woode?
343 Prima Mulier. Outt, alas, my chyldys bloode!
344 Outt, for reprefe!
345 Alas for shame and syn / alas that I was borne!
346 Of wepyng who may blyn / to se hir chylde forlorne?
347 My comforth and my kyn / my son thus alto torne!
348 Veniance for this syn / I cry, both euyn and morne.
349 Secundus Miles. Well done!
350 Com hedyr, thou old stry!
351 That lad of thyne shall dy.
352 Secunda Mulier. Mercy, lord, I cry!
353 It is myn awne dere son.
354 Secundus Miles. No mercy thou mefe / it mendys the not, mawd!
355 Secunda Mulier. Then thi skalp shall I clefe! / lyst thou be clawd?
356 Lefe, lefe, now by lefe! /
357 Secundus Miles. Peasse, byd I, bawd!
358 Secunda Mulier. Ffy, fy, for reprefe! fy, full of frawde!
359 No man!
360 Haue at thy tabard,
361 Harlot and holard!
362 Thou shall not be sparde!
363 I cry and I ban!
364 Outt! morder! man, I say / strang tratoure & thefe!
365 Out! alas! and waloway! / my child that was me lefe!
366 My luf, my blood, my play / that neuer dyd man grefe!
367 Alas, alas, this day! / I wold, my hart shuld, clefe
368 In sonder!
369 Veniance I cry and call,
370 On herode and his knyghtys all!
371 Veniance, lord, apon thaym fall,
372 And mekyll warldys wonder!
373 Tercius Miles. This is well wroght gere / that euer may be;
374 Comys hederward here! / ye nede not to fle!
375 Tercia Mulier. Wyll ye do any dere / to my chyld, and me?
376 Tercius Miles. He shall dy, I the swere / his hart blood shall thou se.
377 Tercia Mulier. God for-bede!
378 Thefe! thou shedys my chyldys blood!
379 Out, I cry! I go near wood!
380 Alas! my hart is all on flood,
381 To se my chyld, thus blede!
382 By god, thou shall aby this dede that thou has done.
383 Tercius Miles. I red the not stry / by son and by moyn.
384 Tercia Mulier. Haue at the, say I! / take the ther a foyn!
385 Out on the I cry / haue at thi groyn
386 An othere!
387 This kepe I in store.
388 Tercius Miles. Peasse now, no more!
389 Tercia Mulier. I cry and I rore,
390 Out on the, mans mordere!
391 Alas! my bab, myn Innocent / my fleshly get! for sorow
392 That god me derly sent / of bales who may me borow?
393 Thy body is all to-rent / I cry both euen and morow,
394 Veniance for thi blod, thus spent / out! I cry, and horow!
395 Primus Miles. Go lightly!
396 Gett out of thise wonys!
397 Ye trattys, all at onys,-
398 Or by cokys dere bonys
399 I make you go wyghtly!
400 Thay ar flayd now, I wote, thay will not abyde.
401 Secundus Miles. Lett vs ryn fote hote / now wold, I we hyde,
402 And tell of this lott / how we haue betyde.
403 Tercius Miles. Thou can do thi note / that haue I aspyde;
404 Go furth now,
405 Tell thou herode oure tayll!
406 Ffor all oure avayll,
407 I tell you, saunce fayll,
408 He wyll vs alow.
409 Primus Miles. I am best of you all / and euer has bene;
410 The deuyll haue my saull / bot I be fyrst sene;
411 It fyttys me to call / my lord, as I wene.
412 Secundus Miles. What nedys the to brall? / be not so kene
413 In this anger;
414 I shall say thou dyd best,
415 Saue myself, as I gest.
416 Primus Miles. We! that is most honest.
417 Tercius Miles. Go, tary no langer!
418 Primus Miles. Hayll herode, oure kyng / full glad may ye be!
419 Good tythyng we bryng / harkyn now to me;
420 We haue mayde rydyng / thrugh outt Iure:
421 Well wyt ye oone thyng / that morderd, haue we
422 Many thowsandys.
423 Secundus Miles. I held, thaym full hote,
424 I payd them on the cote;
425 Thare dammys, I wote,
426 Neuer bynde them in bandys.
427 Tercius Miles. Had ye sene how I fard / when I cam emang them!
428 Ther was none that I spard / bot lade on and dang them.
429 I am worthy a rewarde / where I was emangys them.
430 I stud and I stard / no pyte to hang them
431 Had I.
432 Herodes. Now, by myghty mahowne,
433 That is good of renowne!
434 If I bere this crowne
435 Ye shall haue a lady
436 Ilkon to hym layd, and wed at his wyll.
437 Primus Miles. So haue ye lang sayde / do somwhat thertyll!
438 Secundus Miles. And I was neuer flayde / for good ne for yll.
439 Tercius Miles. Ye might hold, you well payde / oure lust to fulfyll,
440 Thus thynk me,
441 With tresure vntold,
442 If it lyke that ye wold,
443 Both syluer and gold,
444 To gyf vs greatt plente.
445 Herodes. As I am kyng crownde / I thynk it good right!
446 Ther goys none on grownde / that has sich a wyght;
447 A hundreth thowsand pownde / is good wage for a knyght,
448 Of pennys good and rownde / now may ye go light
449 With store;
450 And ye knyghtys of oures
451 Shall haue castels and towres,
452 Both to you and to youres,
453 Ffor now and euer more.
454 Primus Miles. Was neuer none borne / by downes ne by dalys,
455 Nor yit vs beforne / that had sich avalys.
456 Secundus Miles. We haue castels and corne / mych gold in oure malys.
457 Tercius Miles. It wyll neuer be worne / withoutt any talys;
458 Hayll heyndly!
459 Hayll lord! hayll kyng!
460 We ar furth foundyng!
461 Herodes. Now mahowne he you bryng
462 Where he is lord freyndly;
463 Now in peasse may I stand / I thank the, mahowne!
464 And gyf of my lande / that longys to my crowne;
465 Draw therfor nerehande / both of burgh and of towne;
466 Markys ilkon a thowsande / when I am bowne,
467 Shall ye haue.
468 I shalbe full fayn
469 To gyf that I sayn!
470 Wate when I com agayn,
471 And then may ye craue.
472 I sett by no good, / now my hart is at easse,
473 That I shed so mekyll blode / pes all my ryches!
474 Ffor to se this flode / from the fote to the nese
475 Mefys nothing my mode / I lagh that I whese;
476 A, mahowne!
477 So light is my saull,
478 That all of Sugar is my gall;
479 I may do what I shall,
480 And bere vp my crowne.
481 I was castyn in care / so frightly afrayd,
482 Bot I thar not dyspare / for low is he layd
483 That I most dred are / so haue I hym flayd;
484 And els wonder ware / and so many strayd
485 In the strete,
486 That oone shuld be harmeles,
487 And skape away hafles,
488 Where so many chyldes
489 Thare balys can not bete.
490 A hundreth thowsand, I watt / and fourty ar slayn,
491 And four thowsand; ther-at / me aght to be fayn;
492 Sich a morder on a flat / shall neuer be agayn.
493 Had I had bot oone bat / at that lurdan
494 So yong,
495 It shuld, haue bene spokyn
496 How I had me wrokyn,
497 Were I dede and rotyn,
498 With many a tong.
499 Thus shall I tech knauys / ensampyll to take,
500 In thare wyttys that rauys / sich mastre to make;
501 All wantones wafys / no langage ye crak!
502 No sufferan you sauys / youre nekkys shall I shak
503 In sonder;
504 No kyng ye on call
505 Bot on herode the ryall,
506 Or els many oone shall
507 Apon youre bodys wonder.
508 Ffor if I here it spokyn / when I com agayn,
509 Youre branys bese brokyn / therfor be ye bayn;
510 Nothyng bese vnlokyn / it shalbe so playn;
511 Begyn I to rekyn / I thynk all dysdayn
512 Ffor daunche.
513 Syrs, this is my counsell-
514 Bese not to cruell,
515 Bot adew!-to the deuyll!
516 I can nomore fraunch!
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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Towneley Cycle, Play 16 - Herod the Great (Magnus Herodes). From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http:www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.