From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama
The Towneley Cycle, Play 19 - John the Baptist (Iohannes Baptista)
001 John the Baptist. God, that mayde both more and les,
002 Heuen and erth, at his awne wyll,
003 And merkyd man to his lyknes,
004 As thyng that wold his lyst ffulfyll,
005 Apon the erth he send lightnes,
006 Both son and moyne lymett thertyll,
007 He saue you all from synfulnes,
008 And kepe you clene, both lowd and styll.
009 Emang prophetys then am I oone
010 That god has send to teche his law,
011 And man to amend, that wrang has gone,
012 Both with exampyll and with saw.
013 My name, for sothe, is baptyst Iohn,
014 My fader zacary ye knaw,
015 That was dombe and mayde great mone,
016 Before my byrth, and stode in awe.
017 Elezabeth my moder was,
018 Awntt vnto mary, madyn mylde;
019 And as the son shynys thorow the glas,
020 Certys, in hir wombe so dyd hir chyld.
021 Yit the Iues inqueryd me has
022 If I be cryst; thay are begyld,
023 For ihesus shal amend mans trespas,
024 That with freylte of fylthe is fylyd.
025 I am send bot messyngere
026 Ffrom hym that alkyn mys may mend;
027 I go before, bodword to bere,
028 And as forgangere am I send,
029 His wayes to wyse, his lawes to lere,
030 Both man and wyfe that has offende.
031 Ffull mekyll barett mon he bere,
032 Or tyme he haue broght all tyll ende,
033 Thise Iues shall hyng hym on a roode,
034 Man's saull to hym it is so leyfe,
035 And therapon shall shede his bloode,
036 As he were tratoure or a thefe,
037 Not for his gylt bot for oure goode,
038 Because that we ar in myschefe;
039 Thus shall he dy, that frely foode,
040 And ryse agane tyll oure relefe.
041 In water clere then baptyse I
042 The pepyll that ar in this coste;
043 Bot he shall do more myghtely,
044 And baptyse in the holy goost;
045 And with the bloode of his body
046 Wesh oure synnes both leste and moost,
047 Therfor, me thynk, both ye and I
048 Agans the feynde ar well endoost.
049 I am not worthy for to lawse
050 The leste thwong that longys to his shoyne;
051 Bot god almyghty, that all knawes,
052 In erth thi will it must be done.
053 I thank the, lord, that thi sede sawes
054 Emong mankynde to groyf so sone,
055 And euery day that on erth dawes
056 Ffeydys vs with foode both euen and none.
057 We ar, lord, bondon vnto the,
058 To luf the here both day and nyght,
059 Ffor thou has send thi son so fre
060 To saue mans saull that dede was dight
061 Thrugh adam syn and eue foly,
062 That synnyd thrugh the feyndis myght;
063 Bot, lord, on man thou has pyte,
064 And beyld thi barnes in heuen so bright.
065 Primus Angelus. Harkyn to me, thou Iohn baptyst!
066 The ffader of heuen he gretys the weyll,
067 Ffor he has fon the true and tryst,
068 And dos thi dever euery deyll;
069 Wyt thou well his will thus ist,
070 Syn thou art stabyll as any steyll,
071 That thou shall baptyse ihesu cryst
072 In flume Iordan, mans care to beyll
073 John the Baptist. A, dere god! what may this be?
074 I hard a steuen, bot noght I saw.
075 Primus Angelus. Iohn, it is I that spake to the;
076 To do this dede haue thou none aw.
077 John the Baptist. Shuld I abyde to he com to me?
078 That that shall neuer be, I traw;
079 I shall go meyt that lord so fre,
080 As far as I may se or knaw.
081 Secundus Angelus. Nay, Iohn, that is not well syttand;
082 His fader will thou must nedys wyrk.
083 Primus Angelus. Iohn, be thou here abydand,
084 Bot when he commys be then not yrk.
085 John the Baptist. By this I may well vnderstand
086 That childer shuld be broght to kyrk,
087 Ffor to be baptysyd in euery land;
088 To me this law yit is it myrk.
089 Secundus Angelus. Iohn, this place it is pleassyng,
090 And it is callyd flume Iordan;
091 Here is no kyrk, ne no bygyng,
092 Bot where the fader wyll ordan,
093 It is godys wyll and his bydyng.
094 John the Baptist. By this, for sothe, well thynk me than
095 His warke to be at his lykyng,
096 And ilk folk pleasse hym that thay can.
097 Sen I must nedys his lyst fulfyll
098 He shall be welcom vnto me;
099 I yeld, me holy to his will,
100 Where so euer I abyde or be.
101 I am his seruande, lowd and styll,
102 And messyngere vnto that fre;
103 Whethere that he will saue or spyll
104 I shall not gruch in no degre.
105 Jesus. Iohn, godys seruand and prophete,
106 My fader, that is vnto the dere,
107 Has send me to the, well thou wytt,
108 To be baptysyd in water clere;
109 Ffor reprefe vnto mans rytt
110 The law I will fulfyll right here;
111 My fader ordynance thus is it,
112 And thus my wyll is that it were.
113 I com to the, baptym to take,
114 To whome my fader has me sent,
115 With oyle and creme that thou shal make
116 Vnto that worthi sacrament.
117 And therfor, Iohn, it not forsake,
118 Bot com to me in this present,
119 Ffor now will I no farther rake
120 Or I haue done his commaundement.
121 John the Baptist. A, lord! I loue the for thi commyng!
122 I am redy to do his will,
123 In word, in wark, in all kyn thyng,
124 What soeuer he sendys me tyll;
125 This bewteose lord to bryng to me,
126 His awne seruande, this is no skyll,
127 A knyght to baptyse his lord kyng,
128 My pauste may it not fulfyll.
129 And if I were worthy
130 Ffor to fulfyll this sacrament,
131 I haue no connyng securly,
132 To do it after thyn intent;
133 And therfor, lord, I ask mercy;
134 Hald, me excusyd as I haue ment;
135 I dar not towche thi blyssyd body,
136 My hart will neuer to it assent.
137 Jesus. Of thi connyng, John, drede the noght;
138 My fader his self he will the teche;
139 He that all this warld, has wroght,
140 He send the playnly forto preche;
141 He knawys mans hart, his dede, his thoght;
142 He wotys how far mans myght may reche,
143 Therfor hedir haue I soght;
144 My fader lyst may none appeche.
145 Behold, he sendys his angels two,
146 In tokyn I am both god and man;
147 Thou gyf me baptym or I go,
148 And dyp me in this flume Iordan.
149 Sen he wyll thus, I wold wytt who
150 Durst hym agan stand? Iohn, com on than,
151 And baptyse me for freynde or fo,
152 And do it, Iohn, right as thou can.
153 Primus Angelus. Iohn, be thou buxom and right bayn,
154 And be not gruchand in no thyng;
155 Me thynk thou aght to be ful fayn
156 Ffor to fulfyll my lordis bydyng
157 Erly and late, with moyde and mayn,
158 Therfor to the this word I bryng,
159 My lord has gyffen the powere playn,
160 And drede the noght of thi conyng.
161 Secundus Angelus. He sendys the here his awne dere chylde,
162 Thou welcom hym and make hym chere,
163 Born of a madyn meke and mylde,
164 That frely foode is made thi fere;
165 With syn his moder was neuer fylde,
166 Ther was neuer man neghyd hyr nere,
167 In word ne wark she was neuer wylde,
168 Therfor hir son thou baptyse here.
169 Primus Angelus. And, securly, I will thou knaw
170 Whi that he commys thus vnto the;
171 He commys to fulfyll the law,
172 As pereles prynce most of pauste;
173 And therfor, Iohn, do as thou awe,
174 And gruch thou neuer in this degre
175 To baptyse hym that thou here saw,
176 Ffor wyt thou well this same is he.
177 John the Baptist. I am not worthy to do this dede;
178 Neuer the les I will be godys seruande;
179 Bot yit, dere lord, sen I must nede,
180 I will do as thou has commaunde.
181 I tremyll and I whake for drede!
182 I dar not towche the with my hande,
183 Bot, certys, I will not lose my mede;
184 Abyde, my lord, and by me stande.
185 I baptyse the, Ihesu, in hy,
186 In the name of thi fader fre,
187 In nomine patris & filii,
188 Sen he will that it so be,
189 Et spiritūs altissimi,
190 And of the holy goost on he;
191 I aske the, lord, of thi mercy,
192 Here after that thou wold blys me.
193 Here I the anoynt also
194 With oyle and creme, in this intent,
195 That men may wit, where so thay go,
196 This is a worthy sacrament.
197 Ther ar sex othere and no mo,
198 The which thi self to erthe has sent,
199 And in true tokyn, oone of tho,
200 The fyrst on the now is it spent.
201 Thou wysh me, lord, if I do wrang;
202 My will it were forto do weyll;
203 I am ful ferd yit ay emang,
204 If I dyd right I shuld done knele.
205 Thou blys me, lord, hence or thou gang,
206 So that I may thi frenship fele;
207 I haue desyryd this sight ful lang,
208 Ffor to dy now rek I no dele.
209 Jesus. This beest, Iohn, thou bere with the,
210 It is a beest full blyst;
211 Iohn, it is the lamb of me,
212 Beest none othere ist;
213 It may were the from aduersyte,
214 And so looke that thou tryst;
215 By this beest knowen shall thou be,
216 That thou art Iohn baptyst.
217 John the Baptist. Ffor I haue sene the lamb of god
218 Which weshys away syn of this warld,
219 And towchid hym, for euen or od,
220 My hart therto was ay ful hard.
221 Ffor that it shuld be better trowed,
222 An angell had me nerehand mard,
223 Bot he that rewlys all with his rod
224 He blys me when I draw homward.
225 Jesus. I graunt the, Iohn, for thi trauale,
226 Ay lastand ioy in blys to byde;
227 And to all those that trowys this tayll,
228 And saw me not yit gloryfyde.
229 I shalbe boytt of all thare bayll,
230 And send them socoure on euery syde;
231 My fader and I may thaym auayll,
232 Man or woman that leyffys thare pryde.
233 Bot, Iohn, weynd thou furth and preche
234 Agans the folk that doth amys;
235 And to the pepyll the trowthe thou teche;
236 To rightwys way look thou tham avys,
237 And as far as thi wyt may reche
238 Byd thaym be bowne to byde my blys;
239 Ffor at the day of dome I shall thaym peche
240 That herys not the nor trowys not this.
241 Byd thaym leyfe syn, for I it hate;
242 Ffor it I mon dy on a tre,
243 By prophecy ffull well I wate;
244 My moder certys that sight mon se,
245 That sorowfull sight shall make hir maytt,
246 Ffor I was born of hir body.
247 Ffarwell Iohn, I go my gaytt;
248 I blys the with the trynyte!
249 John the Baptist. Almyghty god in persons thre,
250 All in oone substance ay ingroost,
251 I thank the, lord in mageste,
252 Ffader and son and holy goost!
253 Thou send thi son from heuen so he,
254 To mary mylde, into this cooste,
255 And now thou sendys hym vnto me,
256 Ffor to be baptysid in this oost.
257 Ffarwell! the frelyst that euer was fed!
258 Ffarwell! floure more fresh then foure de lyce!
259 Ffarwell! stersman to theym that ar sted
260 In stormes, or in desese lyse!
261 Thi moder was madyn and wed;
262 Ffarwell! pereles, most of pryce!
263 Ffarwell! the luflyst that euer was bred!
264 Thi moder is of hell emprise.
265 Ffarwell! blissid both bloode and bone!
266 Ffarwell! the semelyst that euer was seyn!
267 To the, ihesu, I make my mone;
268 Ffarwell! comly, of cors so cleyn!
269 Ffarwel! gracyouse gome! where so thou gone,
270 Ffull mekill grace is to the geyn;
271 Thou leyne vs lyffyng on thi lone,
272 Thou may vs mende more then we weyn.
273 I wyll go preche both to more and les,
274 As I am chargyd securly;
275 Syrs, forsake youre wykydnes,
276 Pryde, envy, slowth, wrath, and lechery.
277 Here gods seruice, more & lesse;
278 Pleas god with prayng, thus red I;
279 Be war when deth comys with dystres,
280 So that ye dy not sodanly.
281 Deth sparis none that lyf has borne,
282 Therfor thynk on what I you say;
283 Beseche youre god both euen and morne
284 You for to saue from syn that day.
285 Thynk how in baptym ye ar sworne
286 To be godis seruandis, withoutten nay;
287 Let neuer his luf from you be lorne,
288 God bryng you to his blys for ay. Amen.
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Proper Citation: NeCastro, Gerard. The Towneley Cycle, Play 19 - John the Baptist (Iohannes Baptista). From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. http:www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.