2.The Plasterers' Play: The Creation
GOD: In altissimis habito. In the highest Heaven, my home have I. Eterne mentis et ego. Without end, ever-lastingly. Because I wrought these worlds so wide (Heaven and Air, the Earth also), My High Godhead I will not hide, Although some fools have fallen low. When they agreed, by sin of pride, To climb too high, to take my throne, In Heaven they could not abide, But quickly went to dwell in woe. And since they wrong have wrought, I choose to let them go To suffer sorrow unsought, Since they have served me so. Their debt can never turn to gain, For they agreed to turn their back. And all their strength is but in vain; They shall be devils, foul and black. But those that still with me remain, Who honour me and are not slack, Shall dwell in goodness without end With me, and joy they shall not lack. For their reward shall be Solace that shall not slake. This work seems good to me, And more now I will make. Now, since this world is ordered well, I will make known my power here. Not by strength, by words I tell, A firmament I bid appear. Among the waters, light shall dwell, To mark the day, the month, the year. And this is "Heaven," which shall swell With clouds, and planets bright and clear. The water shall be sent To flow both far and near. And then the firmament In the centre shall be, here. The firmament shall never move, But be the mean, as I do mean, Over the world a shield to prove, The two great seas to stay between. Under the Heavens, and also above, The waters surely must be seen. And so I will my power prove By making creatures of natures clean. This work does well repay My will with pleasures keen. Thus ends the second day That has this labour seen. More subtle works I now shall try, That they may be of use to all. All the waters under sky That have been set, both great and small, Now run together, so say I, And be one ocean, in one hall, So that the earth shall soon be dry, Both valley deep and mountain tall. You, dryness, "Land" shall be; That name I shall you call. And then I name you, "Sea," The throng of waters all. The earth shall flourish, nourishing, As I will bid, obediently, Both herbs and every other thing That grows and waxes worthily. And also, trees thereon shall spring With boughs and branches, spaciously, With flowers fair on high to hang, And fruit for food, abundantly. And so this shall I say: These plants, whose seeds shall be Encompassed by nature---may They grow in each country. And all these things are in my mind; And they are made by my great might. And they are cast of various kind, That they may bear their blossoms bright. And when we shall in ripeness find The fruits, most beautiful in sight, Then the heavens' rains and wind I soon shall send away in flight. And from their seeds, then soon New roots shall rise upright. The third day now is done. These deeds have been done right. Now, since the earth this order has, And by my will is measured and made, Suitably to grow with grass And weeds, that soon are dry and dead, From my own goodness now shall pass- My works to guard and keep from dread- Two lights, one greater and one less, To stay fast in the firmament. The great light, to the day Shall suitably be sent. The lesser light, I say, For the night shall it be meant. Those figures fair their course shall run, And they shall serve my creatures all. The greater light I name the "Sun," To drive the dark from down and dale. The herbs and trees I have begun, All shall he govern, great and small. If they be closed with cold, each one With heat from the sun shall soon be hale. As they have such honours- From bliss they shall not fall- So then shall my creatures Live joyfully, one and all. Sun and moon, in manner fair, Now, suitably go, in your degree. As you have taken your courses clear, As servants henceforth shall you be. For you shall mark the seasons here, That everyone in each country, From day to day and year to year, By certain signs shall surely see. The heavens shall be replete With stars in great plenty. The fourth day is complete. This work well pleases me. Now, since these works thus well are fit, And spread abroad in wood and dell, Within the sea I now shall set The whales with vigour for to dwell, And other fish, with fins to flit- Some with scale and some with shell, Of many kinds, more varied yet- In fitting manner to teem and swell. Some shall be timid and shy, And some both fierce and fell. This world thus make will I, Since I am wisdom's well. Also, up in the air on height, I bid now that ordained should be A host of birds, fair and bright, Dwelling there in their degree, With feathers fair to guide their flight From place to place, thus flittingly, And also, lightly to alight Wherever they should like to be. Now, birds in flight, and fish, I bid you naturally To mingle as you wish, Both by sand and sea. More of these matters will I mend, Thus fulfilling all my thought. Now, various beasts to live in land, To breed, from the womb forth to be brought. Among these beasts, I now shall blend The serpents to be seen unsought, And snakes upon their bellies shall wind, To live in earth and return to nought. So, over every land, Now, all is made that ought. Beginning, middle, end, I, with my word, have wrought. For as I bid must all things be, And duly done as I address. Now beasts are set, in each degree On earth to wander, great and less; Now, birds in air, fish in sea. Beasts on earth of bone and flesh-- Be fruitful, and in great plenty And goodly, grow, for that is best. So multiply you shall Forever in fair process. My blessing have you all. The fifth day ended is.
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