From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama

Albion, Knight

Players' Names:

These appear
ALBION, KNIGHT
JUSTICE
INJURY
DIVISION

These are mentioned in text:
PRINCIPALITY
PEACE
MAINTENANCE
REST
OLD DEBATE
DOUBLE DEVICE
DAME PLENTY


[ALBION, KNIGHT; A MORAL PLAY]

[The manuscript commences here imperfectly]

[Injury.] Nay, I will taste of other assays
And spare our dame for holy days;
So that, for very need, she must use her feet
With other of her house, and such as she can get.
Yet is she not much to blame,
Though she increase her husband's name,
Such children to bring as now ye see me,
Tall man as I am, unworthy though I be.

Justice. Thou speakest like a lorel full large and full lewdly,
And not like a child gotten of true matrimony;
And yet, though thy person induce no likelihood
That in thee should be any manhood,
Yet, beside that, thou seemest of manhood frail,
Because so abused is thy light apparel.

Injury. Apparel, good sir, what fault is that?
Though grey be her coat why blame ye the wild cat?
Why should ye him deem of nature frail
Though as wise as ye would wear a fox-tail?
Or a coat after the common usage?
Or have by nature a mad visage?
These be no witness for Justice to discern,
Nor certain knowledge of nature to learn;
And Christ taught you, sir, how ye should judge men,
Saying, Nolite judicare secundum faciem.
And yet in nature better knowledge should be
Than is in apparel ye know, perdy. Justice.
O yet in apparel is great abusion
If it be framed without discretion;
For, in apparel there may a great token be
Of frailness, of pride, and instability,
If common assize therein use no measure.
For then is apparel a wanton foolish pleasure
And folly; best meed is of presumption
When nature of reason used resumption;
And therefore Christ taught a great wise prose
Saying, Ex fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos.

Injury. Yet, with the same text I pray you wipe your nose !
He said not, Ex vestibus eorum cognoscetis eos.

Albion. Yet, friends, I pray you once again
To cease your travice that breeds disdain;
And heartily both I do you pray
That both your friendships have I may.

Injury. Sir, as for mine ye shall not miss;
But this gentleman, I think, will go piss.

Justice. Nay, sir Albion, I will not draw back

If that of me ye have lack, So that I were in perfect surety
That this man here should Manhood be.

Injury. Now, Christ's benedicite!
How Albion and Justice hath forgot me
Because of me they had no exercise
Of long time by any enterprise!
Wherefore sithen ye cannot know me by experience,
I wot not how ye should know me but by my credence;
Therefore, by my truth and by my honesty,
Believe me, for Manhood truly I am he!

Albion. Then, by your oath I am content
To have your friendship with good assent;
And, Justice, I pray you to do the same.

Justice. Sir, if Manhood be his name,
As he hath sworn, I would be glad
That his friendship also I had.

Albion. Then, Justice, I pray you both
Let me knit you both upon his oath.

[And then he taketh both their hands together, saying:]

Now friends I trust we be, all three,
And with this knot I pray you contented to be.

Injury. Sir, ye ought to be contented best of all
Where justice is treated with due equity;
And where no favour nor meed should be;
And, when reason hath tried there every deal,
That such an act were good for the common weal.
If therein any loss may be
To the disadvantage of Principality,
Such an act loseth all his suit
With a little inducing of reason astute;
And, if it touch the Lords spiritual,
Or be disadvantage to the Lords temporal—
Farewell, go bet! this bill may sleep
As well as through the parliament creep;
And, if that merchants be moved withal,
Or any multitude of the common hail—
This is not for us, say they then,
This bill is naught but for to wipe a pan;
And this is all your new equity,
And for all your message yet thus will it be.

Albion. Alas! if this may not reformed be
I shall never be sure of prosperity.

Injury. Yea, and what followeth hereof,
Master Albion?
To your person universal derision!

Albion. Why to me derision?

Injury. For all other strange nations
They will rail on ye with open proclamations;
Saying, whosoever do as he does
Is half a man and half a wild goose!

Albion. Why half a man and half a wild goose?

Injury. For, with high reason, they say ye can dispute
And try out perils with laborious suit;
And eke the treasure for the common vail
As far as wit or reason can assail;
But, when all is done, and your statute made,
Then forth ye go in a wise trade
To bring it all to good conclusion;
And put it never in execution.
Then speak they further, instead of a mock
They have made a statute like a woodcock!
That hath but one eye, and the other blind,
And it will turn with every wind;
And for because ye study but for the beginning,
And never provide for a sure ending—
Beginning like a man, ye take great assay,
At last, like a wild goose, even but to fly away.

Justice. Well, if this be true it is more pity.
Yet, let us endeavour, both ye and I,
To taste our message that it were done
To help here of some reformation.

Albion. Yea, that to do I pray you both,
To you two I promise, by oath,
I shall me endeavour with the commonalty
Their whole allegiance to keep in unity.

Justice. Then God be your speed, for I will forth my way.

Albion. And I will after, God guide us that best may.

Injury. And I will tarry no longer while
But as I see you over the stile.

[Then departeth Albion and Justice both.]

Injury. Now, here beginneth a game, i-wis;
For Manhood they ween my name is.
But, trust me, sirs, if I should not lie,
My name is called Injury.
Which name, to hide I thought it policy,
And turn it to Manhood, and wot you why?
It is a part of our new experience,
When I against right make stiff defence,
That Justice in his seat may not be enstabled;
Then am I, Injury, Manhood called.
O! then of me croaketh every man—
How like a lord this fellow stare can
The law to defend without a fall,
For all their pleading in Westminster Hall;
Or say what they will, and babble there,
Yet Maintenance and I will keep the chair.
If it come once to the country,
Then, as I will, so shall it be.
A very cause, sirs, why I hide my name
Was they should not suspect my fame;
Because I would spy all their intent,
To change their purpose after my judgment.
And so will I do, for this is their pretence—
By means of Justice, to bring in experience,
That Peace should continue the people among;
And so, by that means, to banish me wrong.
But trust me, sirs, I will none of that,
But rather by their faces I will them scrat!
And me to maintain in this opinion
I have an old mate, called Division,
That shall be of my council in this case;
Which I trust will not turn his face
Till Peace be driven clean from Albion.
And then let Justice and me alone,
For I trust, or he and I have done,
He shall go whistle in a marrow bone
As for any rightful judgment
That, after this, shall follow his intent.
And now, sirs, will I go my way
My fellow to seek, find him if I may.

[Here Injury goeth out and then Division cometh in with a bill, a sword, a buckler, and a dagger.

Division. Have in a rusk
Out of the busk
A lusty captain.
A boar with a tusk
A sturdy lusk
Any battle to derain.
A stallion stout
To bear it out
In everywhere.
And never to lout
For a knave's clout
Though my head it bear.
As stiff as a stake
Battle to make
As never affeared.
I can awake
These knaves and take
Them fast by the beard.
For peace is bent,
Nor full intent
To live at ease
Shall not prevent
Let of my judgment
To alter in disease.
Such cast I have
To conjure a knave
Out of his skin.
Though justice rave
To hang or save—
Fie on him, whoreson!

[Here cometh Injury in again.

Injury. Marry, fie on him, whoreson!
What! art thou mad again?

Division. What, mine old friend Injury!
How were other hanged and thou let go by?

Injury. By God! because I took delay
For lack of thee to be mine attorney.

Division. What, whoreson! wouldest thou have me
Be trussed up instead of thee?

Injury. Yea, by God! but even for a say,
That I might learn of you to know the play.

Division. To play, whoreson! what meanest thou by that?

Injury. By God! methought, even now, you were in a snare,
Or else an hunting to catch an hare.
But, hark! I say, do together and spell—
Beware ever among of the friary clerk s bell'

Division. It is doubtful to me all that thou speakest.
I pray thee spell it thyself, and tell me what thou meanest.

Injury. But, wouldest thou needs so fain know it?
I tell thee, with Albion and Justice I am knit;
Therefore, it were wisdom for thee
To beware what thou sayest before me.

Division. What, whoreson! then thou hast forsaken me?

Injury. Nay, I had liefer ye were skinned all three,
For I have turned the wrong side of my hood
And told them my name was Manhood.
And now, by God! in any wise,
For both our eases, I must have thine advice.

Division. What, hast thou now changed thine old copy—
To Justice and Albion to be a common hobby?
Or, art thou affeared of thy old name,
That in every place is had in fame,
And is supported in such suifrency
From the lowest unto the highest degree?

Injury. Nay, by God! I was not affeared.
It was but for to claw their beard,
Or rub it of all that they meant
That I might know all their intent;
Whereof, the matter is too long to tell,
For the time that we did mell;
But, shortly to show thee for a conclusion,
Their mind is to bring us both to confusion.

Division. I pray thee, by what means?

Injury. Albion hath sent Justice to Principality
To have assistance, and me to suifrency
Of the Lords temporal to have their aid,
That Justice in no wise should be delayed.
And this thou knowest well enough, perdy!
Thus they mean to destroy thee and me.
And as for Justice forth is gone,
Speed as he can, but I tarried alone;
And yet I would no messenger be
Till I had the advice of thee.
Therefore, how sayest thou, now in this case?
We shall not be idle to play at this base.

Division. Tush! as for this, I care not a pudding prick;
For we two will go through thin and thick,
May grease their heads every one
Though they be as hard as rock or stone.

Injury. I pray thee, tell me how.

Division. First, I myself will enterprise
That Peace shall have no exercise
Between the commons and Principality;
Nor between lords spiritual and lords of the temporality.

Injury. Or you go any further, tell me by what means.

Division. I have two spies of great exercise,
The one is called Double Device;
Him will I send, I may tell thee,
Unto the court to Principality;
And him will I charge that, with his provision,
Principality and the commons to set at division.
The second spy is called Old Debate—
A singular fellow, with a bald pate—
Him will I send to the lords spiritual
To cause them to wrangle with the lords temporal.

Injury. What shall they use in their device?

Division. The one, to Principality shall surmise
That the commons' hearth do arise
Against him, when that he doth ask,
In time of need, our money for task;
His heart to move with such unkindness.
Then, the same spy shall use like doubleness,
And go to the commons, and to them tell
That Principality, with equity, doth rebel
More to his lucre in every deal,
Applying his affection then to the common weal;
And how that he, of negligence,
Doth not apply for their defence,
Neither by sea nor by land;
Neither by high waves, neither by strand;
But thieves and raveners, and murderers eke,
Daily true men they pursue and seek;
And that his laws indifferently
Be not used; but maintenance and bribery
Is suffered alone, without reformation;
That the poor commons is in altercation
Of this matter, and wot not what to say;
Bringing them in opinion that they ought not to pay
To Principality their duty of very desert,
Except like duty be ministered on his part.

Injury. I make God a vow this is a sovereign bait
To bring our purpose to a narrow strait.
But what shall the other spy then do?
A fellowship! tell me that also.

Division. Marry! he shall inform the lords temporal
That the spiritual men would rule all;
And say, it were shame to them, by the rood!
That being descended from the noble blood
To suffer any other of such power to be;
To have the governance about Principality,
Sithen they inheritors are born to be
Of the high counsel, by blood and dignity;
Which medicine, I trow, will not likely start
Till it hath tickled them all by the heart.
Then shall the same spy taste the other part,
And turn to them the wrong side of the cart;
And say, that God of His high great grace
To them hath given good fortune and space,
By learning sadness and gravity,
And for their due reward in honour to be;
And bear to them boldly in hand
That they ought, by reason, to rule this land;
Because the power of temporality
Hath no knowledge in cunning, perdy!
Neither in youth will labour the passage
Of pain for virtue to rule in age;
So that, if they rulers would be,
They know not how, for insufficiency.
Thus will I divide, by this proper train,
That peace amongst them shall not reign.

Injury. Marry! this is a cast of a new horse comb
To rub any on the navel that hath a tickle womb;
This gear will work, after my fantasy,
To make of an old grudge a new frenzy;
And this openeth the gate, even for me,
That both the one and the other degree
Shall wrestle with themselves, in such afflictions,
That everyone shall disdain all other jurisdictions.

Division. What wilt thou do then? let me hear thy cast!

Injury. This gentle seed will I sow, at the last,
When Peace by thee is in perplexity;
And wot not in what part quiet to be.
Then Justice must ever be in doubt
Which part, at need, shall bear him out;
So that, for my part, he shall stand still
While I run at large, and have all my will.

Division. But to what conclusion wilt thou bring it then?

Injury. Why, knoweSt not thou? then hark me, man!
This Justice is a fellow of a far cast,
And driveth such drifts to rule at the last;
And Peace is his brother, of one degree,
Which hath a fair daughter that is called Plenty;
And Albion, as long as Rest him treats,
He loveth fair flesh of all meats;
And it is a common saying that Justice, Peace, and he
Will conclude a marriage with fair Dame Plenty.
And then will Albion, that old sot,
With Rest and Peace, so on her dote
That then she, by her and her friends,
Shall sail in storms at all winds.

Division. By God's bread! thou sayest truth—
But this to help we must not use sloth.

Injury. No! and therefore hark me to an end!
Thou and I shall this matter defend;
For thou shalt to Albion a messenger be,
And say thou were present when Principality
With Justice fell at great debate;
When that his message he did dilate
From Albion; and tell him that Principality in no wise
His will with equity will grant to exercise;
But that the law should be but after his liking,
And every writ after his entitling;
And that his will, who ever list to strive,
Should be the best part for his prerogative;
And then they both suddenly, upon this,
In great rages departed, i-wis.
Wherefore, Justice said I am in such confusion
That I am ashamed to turn again to Albion.
And when this message thou hast done soberly,
Tell him thy name is Policy.

Division. What the devil meanest thou by that!
Should I dissemble from a wild cat,
That ever before this have used patching,
And now to play the wise man and leave scratching?

Injury. Why, whoreson! it is a point of high madness,
For a time, to dissemble sadness;
And, though thou be already as mad as a hart
Yet will I make thee madder than thou art.

Division. Well, say on then!

Injury. Marry! then even thus I say:
When that to Albion thou hast taken thy way,
And done thy message as thee I bade,
He will for a while be pensive and sad;
And he will ask thine advice—
Then must thou dissemble thyself wise.

Division. I make God a vow, that is impossible!
That I, and wisdom, should knit in one quyneble
Or, in my brain to print such abusion
That wisdom and I should be in one conclusion;
For, when I was young my mother charged me
And said, beware wit son though thou never thee.

Injury. And I am not disposed to change much your life—
But hear me speak an end though you never thrive.

Division. Well, say on then! and tell me what counsel
I shall give Albion that may sound well
To both our profits—that would I know.

[Injury.] Thou shalt teach him a wrong cross row;
And tell him best it is, after thine advice,
With mirth and prodigality him to exercise:
And take of his own good while he may
Lest all at last be bribed away.

[The manuscript ends here imperfectly.]

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Proper Citation: Albion, Knight. From Stage to Page - Medieval and Renaissance Drama. NeCastro, Gerard, ed. http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/drama. Date Visited.