18. The Marshals' Play: The Flight into Egypt

Maker, who is most in might,
To your mercy I make my moan.
Lord, keep this humble man in sight;
I have no help but you alone.
For all this world I have forsaken,
And to your service myself I have taken,
With wit and will
For to fulfil
Your commandment.
On this my heart is set,
By the grace you have to me lent;
No man shall keep me from that.

For all my trust, Lord, is in thee
That made me, man, in your likeness.
Oh, mighty maker, remember me
And look upon my lowliness.
I grow as weak as a twig.  I'm frail;
My feet and hands now feebly fail.
Whatever it mean,
My eyes now seem
Heavy as lead.
Therefore, I think it best
To make this place my bed-
To sleep, and take my rest.

Now, lovely Lord that lives today,
My God, my Lord, my son so dear,
To your Godhead I heartily pray
With all my heart, wholly, entire.
As a mother you did me embrace;
I ask you now to grant your grace
To all mankind
That has a mind
To worship you.
Take care your souls to save,
My gracious son, Jesu;
This gift from you I crave.

Awaken, Joseph, and be attent!
My words shall stop your sorrow sore.
Be glad; your luck is different;
Therefore I bid you, sleep no more.

Ah, mighty Lord, what has this meant?
But what are you, with voice so deep.
That speaks to me thus, in my sleep?
Appear to me,
And let me see
Just what you are.

Joseph, now, have no dread;
For quickly you shall hear;
Therefore, to me take heed.

For I am sent to thee:
Gabriel, God's angel light
Is come, to bid you flee
With Mary and her boy so bright.
For Herod the king will now destroy
Every newborn baby boy;
He wishes gone
Each Jewish son
Less old than two.
'Till he is dead and gone,
In Egypt stay must you,
'Till I call you again.

Everlasting Lord, loved must you be,
That your sweet messenger you would send.
But Lord, why does the king hate me?
I never did the king offend.
What is this fury that makes him kill
Small, helpless babes that never did ill
In word or deed-
At all, indeed,
By night or day?
Since he would be our end,
Dear Lord, I you pray
That you will be our friend,

For though his madness might be great,
Against his power, you can defend.
I pray you, Lord, to guide us straight;
Your help to us I pray you send.
For into Egypt go we will,
Your bidding gladly to fulfil,
As fitting it is.
Now, King of Bliss,
Thy will be done.
Mary, my daughter dear,
I think of you alone.

Ah, Joseph, dear, what cheer?

My cheer has fled forever this day.

Alas!  What news has come?  Tell me.

Now, surely-this is hard to say-
There is no choice, but we must flee
From this our home where we are known;
With all due speed we must be gone,
Both you and I.

Dear Joseph, why?
Conceal it not;
Who has us thus reviled?
Or, what wrong have we wrought,
For which we are exiled?

Us, do harm?  No, no, my wife,
You know too well it is not so.
You must give up that young boy's life
Unless you flee fast from his foe.

His foe?  What is this thing you've said?
Who would wish my dear son dead?
I shrink; I fear!
Who may my care
And sorrow end?
I wish at once to flee;
For all the world to gain,
His death I would not see.

I tell you, he has threatened been
With death by Herod-hard harms to have.
With that child if we are seen,
There is no salve that may him save.
I tell you now, he slays all
Male children, great and small,
In his mad rage,
Within the age
Of two year.
And, for your son's sake,
He will murder our dear-
If the king should him take.

Dear Joseph, who told you this?
How did you hear of this dreadful deed?

An angel bright that came from bliss
These tidings told to me, indeed-
And awakened me from my sleep
That comely child from cares to keep,
And bade me flee
With him and thee
Into Egypt.
And surely, I have great fear
To make even a short trip
Before we're safely there.

Why do they hate him so,
To make for him this strife?
Ah, why should I let go
My sweet son's only life?
Herod ought to be ashamed
To make war on these babes unblamed
That never did ill,
This one to kill,
Though he knows not why.
I would be lost, I make my moan,
If my dear son should die,
When I have but him alone.

Now, dear Mary, have done; let be!
I pray you, leave off your din
And get you ready at once to flee
Away with him, his life to win,
That no mischief should him find,
Nor any mishap of any kind
In road or street,
That none us meet
To slay him.

Alas, Joseph, for care,
Why should I forgo him,
My dear babe that I bore?

That sweet son if you would save,
Then quickly pack up all our gear,
And such small baggage as we have.

Ah, dear Joseph, I cannot bear-

Bear harm?  I know, your strength is small.
But, God knows, I must care for all,
For bed, and back,
And all the pack
That belongs to us.
I must put on a smile;
This baggage bear I must,
Even if I complained the while.

But God grant that I not forget
Any tools that we should with us take.

Alas, Joseph, for grievance great,
When shall all my sorrow slake?
For I do not know where to go.

To Egypt-I told you long ago.

But where is that place?
I should love to know this.

How should I know?
I know not where it stands.

Joseph, I ask pardon now.
Help me out of this land.

Now, surely, Mary, I gladly would
Help, if I can in any way.
And with every ounce of strength I should
Flee with him, and you, away.

How can that fiend be so crazed,
To make us go such lonely ways?
He does great sin.
From kith and kin
He makes us flee.

Dear Mary, stop your tears.

Oh Joseph, woe is me
For my sweet son so dear.

I pray you, Mary, keep him warm
And set him down in gentle style,
And if you wish to rest your arm
Give me him; let me bear him a while.

I thank you of your great good deed;
Now, good Joseph, to him take heed,
That food so free.
To him now see
Here, for this tide.

Let me and him alone,And, if you but badly ride,
Hold on tightly to the mane.

Alas, Joseph, for woe.
No one was ever so distraught.

Stop this, Mary, and say not so,
For you shall have no cause for that.
For know this well:  God is our friend.
He will be with us until the end.
In all our need
He will us speed;
This I know well.
I praise my Lord over all;
Such a strength I think I feel,
I can go where I shall.

Before, I was heavy; now, I am light.
My limbs I may move easily.
I praise my maker, most in might,
That such a grace has granted me.
No man may do us harm;
I have our help here, in my arm.
He will us defend
'Till our journey's end
From treachery.
Let us go with good cheer.
Farewell, and have good day;
God bless all people here.

Amen, as He best may.

Return to York Pageant List.