45. The Weavers' Play: The Assumption of the Virgin

In wailing and weeping, in woe I am weighed,
In sight and in sorrow, in sighing full sad.
My lord and my love, lo, full low is he laid:
That makes me to mourn now, distracted and mad.
What harling and what hurling that headsman he had!
What breaking of branches were burst all about him!
What bruising with beating of bandits full bad!
I learn thus to loyally love him and laud him,
That comely to ken,
God's son Jesus.
He died for us;
That makes me thus
To mourn among many men.

Among men may I mourn for the malice they meant
To Jesus, the gentlest of Jews' generation.
Of wisdom and wit were the ways that he went
That drew all those doomsmen's dire indignation;
For doubtless, full dear was his due domination.
Unkindly they kidded, their king for to ken
With comfort of cruelty and cold recreation.
For he mustered his miracles 'mongst many men,
And to the people he preached
But the Pharasees fierce
All his reasons reverse,
And to the headsman rehearse
That untrue were the tales he did teach.

He taught full true, but the tyrants were enraged
For reproof of their pride, their purpose was pressed
To mischief; with malice their minds were engaged.
Accusals of cursedness caitiffs then cast.
Their rancour was raised, no wretch might it rest
They took him with treason, that teller of truth.
They fed him with fists, and fierce made him fast.
To wreak him, to rip him; there reigned no ruth.
Unduly they doomed him:
They dushed him, they dashed him;
They lushed him, they lashed him;
They pushed him, they pashed him;
All sorrow it seemed that that they said him. 

It seemed every sorrow they said in their saying;
They skipped and they scourged him; he escaped not with scorns.
Though as leader and lord in their law lay no claiming
They crowded and thrust down a crown of thick thorn.
Each tugged at that turtledove, tattered and torn:
That blessed body was blue and bruised from the beating;
Yet the headsmen to hang him, with huge hideous horns,
Like brigands or bribers were bellowing and bleating:
"Crucify him" they cried.
Soon Pilate in parliament
On Jesus gave judgement.
To hang him the harlots then went
And no deed of that doom they denied.

Denied not that doomsman to deem him to dead,
That friendly fair food that never offended.
They hied them in haste then to hang up their head.
What woe that they wrought him, no words can invent it
His title - they took them no time to attend it -
Like traitor attainted they tied him and tugged him,
Shrank not from his shouts as his body they bent it.
They raised him on rood as full cruelly they lugged him.
They pierced him with a spear,
That his blood royal
To earth did fall
In redemption of all
That his law like to hear.

To learn, he that likes, of this law that is real,
May find in our friend here a full faithfull feast.
He would hang thus on high to allow us to heal,
And buy us with blood from the bonds of the beast.
Then all our company's cares were downcast,
But that lord would not leave us alone for so long.
He rose on the third day, his ranks right to rest.
In flesh and full fiercely that figure strong
To my brothers did appear.
They told me of this,
But I believed amiss
To rise in the flesh from abyss
Methought it surpassed his power.

But the power of that prince was preciously proved,
When that sovereign showed himself to my sight.
To make test of his manhood my mind was all moved,
But that reverent reduced me by reason and right.
The wounds full wide of that worthy wight,
He told me to touch them, my truth now to test.
And so I did doubting, and bowed to his might;
I bent my back low and obeyed him, the best.
And soon he ascended.
My fellow men 
Were parted then.
If they came again
My mood were much mended. 		

Amend shall my mirth when again we shall meet.
My fellows to find I shall seek till they're found.
I shall stop in no stead but in stall and in street
I shall get me some guides for to greet them on ground
Oh Sovereign, how soon I am set here so sound!
To the vale of Jehosophat in Judea I'm bent,
But now shall I stop and sit here on the ground,
For I'm weary of walking the ways that I went,
So winding and wild.
So now I divest.
And here shall I rest.
I hold it is best
To be on this bank and abide.

Song One:
Surge proxima mea (first version, see Beadle app. 1)

Rise Mary, O maiden and mother so mild.

Rise, lovely lily, your prayer is full pleasing.

Rise, chieftan of chastity, cheer up your child.

Rise, ripe rose redolent, all rest in your reigning.

Rise, dove of that doomsman whom all is deeming.

Rise, turtledove, tabernacle, temple betrothed.
Rise, seemly in sight, of your son to be seeing.
Rise, greeted goodly in grace for to grow.
Rise up from this ground.
Come chosen child.
Come Mary mild.
Come flower undefiled.
Come up to the king to be crowned.

Song Two:
Veni de libano (first version, see Beadle app. 1)

Oh glorious God, what gleams are these gliding?
I move in my mind, what may this all mean?
I see a bird borne, with bliss to be biding
With angels in company, comely and clean.
Many strange sights I am certain I've seen,
But this mirth and this melody madden my mind!

Thomas, do banish the doubts that have been
For now I fare forth for my fair son to find
I tell you this tide

Who, me, sovereign lady?

Yes, you, certainly.

Where go you, I pray?

To bliss; with my bairn I shall bide.

To bide with your bairn in bliss unabating?
Hail gentlest of Jesse the Jew's generation!
Hail wealth of this world, whom the world is awaiting.
Hail highest, enhanced now to high habitation.
Hail dear worthy; dear is thy due domination.
Hail flower fresh flourished; your fruit is fulfilling.
Hail, seat of our saviour and site of salvation.
Hail, happy to hold to, your help is full healing.
Hail, peerless in pleasance;
Hail, precious and pure;
Hail, salve that is sure;
Hail, care's certain cure;
Hail, boon to our bail in obedience.

Go to your brothers in bale still abiding
And say in what wise to wealth I am wending
Without tarrying, tell them all of this tiding,
And much to their mirth will this news be amending.
For Thomas, to me were all they attending,
When I drew to the death, all but you.

But I, Lady?  Now on my way I am wending;
To immediate obedience my bones I shall bow
But, aye alas!
Where was I then,
When that trouble began?
An unhappy man,
Both now and ever I was!

Unhappy, unlucky I'm held in my name;
What dreary destiny drew me from that need?

Thomas, cease of your sorrow; I'm soothly the same.

That I know well, worthy mother indeed.

Then spare not a space; to my speeches take heed:
Go say then truly, you saw me ascending.

Now doubtless, dear worthy, I dare not, for dread
For the tales that I tell, they are not attending
For any spell that is spoken.

I shall show you
A token true,
Full fresh of hue:
My girdle new - take them this token.

I thank you as reverent root of our rest.
I thank you as steadfast stock for to stand.
I thank you as trusty tree for to test.
I thank you as buxom bough to the band.
I thank you as glossiest leaf in the glade.
I thank you as beauteous branch for to bear.
I thank you as flower that never will fade.
I thank you as fruit that has fed us all here.
I thank you forever.
If they impede me,
Now shall they heed me.
Thy blessing will lead me,
No doubt I shall do my endeavor.

Thomas, obey then this thing I am bidding
He bids you his blessing who bides up above
In sight of my son, who up there is sitting.
I shall kneel to that comely one with crown.
Anyone who despairs, in dale or down,
In peril with pitiful plaint who will pray me
I'll soon ask my sovereign son for to say me
He'll grant them their grace.
Be it man in his mourning,
Or woman in birthing - 
All these to be helping
That prince I shall pray in that place.

I thank you, the goodliest, grounded in grace.
I thank you, the loveliest lady, and higher.
I thank you, the fairest in figure and face.
I thank you, the dearest to do our desire.

Farewell; now I pass to that peerles empire.
Farewell my dear Thomas, I can no more reside here.

Farewell now, the belle of all beauties that bide here
Farewell, oh fair food!
Farewell, key of counsel.
Farewell, all this world's wealth.
Farewell, our hope and our health;
Farewell now, both gracious and good.


Since I've met with that maiden, my mirth now amends.
I shall go now in haste to recall this delight
To my brothers; to bear them this blessing, my back I will bend,
And tell them for certain the truth of this sight.
Through hills and through valleys I'll never alight
Till I find all that fellowship, faithful and dear.
I'll run without rest, searching thoroughly and right
Lo - the many I meant, I meet them right here!  I say,
God save you all here.
Say brothers, what cheer?

What are you doing here?
You might as well get on your way.

Why dear brother?  What new troubles abound?

Thomas, I tell you, there's anger between us.

I am sorry, dear friends, who faithful are found.

Yes, but in fact, little kindness have seen us.

His brag and his boast he is busy to bid us,
But should any cares come, he prefers not to know.
We could run mad and rave, before mercy he did us,
For the friendship he's shown us, by my little toe!

Sirs, I marvel, I say you;
What moves in your mind?

We can well find
That you are unkind.

Now peace then, and prove it, I pray you.

By not coming to court here, unkindness you've shown us.
Our truth has oft turned us to anger and pain.
This year you've been absent, no mercy we've known, as
Now you shall know:  Mary's gone on her way,
And dead in her grave she is buried today,
Mary, that maiden and mother so mild.

Very well I know this.

			Thomas, do go away.

There's no good in asking, he's raving and wild.

Sirs, with her I have spoken 
Later than ye.

That may not be.

Yes, kneeling on knee.

Then quick, can you tell us some token?

Lo:  this token full trusty, she gave me to take you.

Ah, Thomas!  Where got you that girdle so good?

Sirs, my message's meaning more mirthful will make you,
For I found her in flesh on the way to fair food.
When I met with that maiden, it mended my mood.
This sign she has sent you, so seemly to see

Oh Thomas, unsteadfast, here staring you stood,
And that makes your mind merely mad for to be.
But hearken and hear now:
Let us look where we laid her,
If anyone's disarrayed her.

Let's go grope where we graved her
To see if she's missing, all those who are here now.

Behold!  Turn your heads here and look now you must!
That glorious good one is gone from her grave!

Lo.  No attention you paid to my talking to trust.

Ah Thomas, untruly now trespassed we have;
Mercy full kindly we cry and we crave -

Mercy, for foully we've faulted in faith -

Mercy we pray you, we will not deprave -

Mercy, for deeds that we did you today.

Our savious so sweet
Forgives you all,
And so I shall.
This lovely small
Token I've brought, your troubles to beat.

It is welcome indeed from that worthy wight,
For once it enwrapped that maid without sin.

It is welcome indeed from that lady so bright,
The womb that it wrapped held redemption therein.

It is welcome indeed from that healer of sin,
For she bound it about her with blossoms so bright.

It is welcome indeed from that key of our kin,
For it wrapped round that reverent lady full right.

Now kneel we each one
Upon our knee

To that Lady free -

Blessed might she be.
Amen, for she is the loveliest Lady alone.

Now brothers, be busy, go forth now and seek.
To India I turn, to travel and teach.

To the ranks of the Romans so royal I'll speak;
When I pass from this place to my people I'll preach.

And for the Samaritans, sadly I'll search,
To show them the wisdom they work not in waste.

To Achaia in Greece I will goo be the leech;
I'll go there to help them, and heal them in haste.

This covenant accords:
Since you do so,
So must I also:
To Asia I'll go,
He leads you, the Lord of all Lords.

The Lord of all Lords in all lands he shall lead you.
While you travel in trouble the truth for to teach
With the fruits of our faith in those fields he shall feed you,
For that labour is lovely, each man for to leech;
Now I pass from your presence, the people to preach
To lead them and teach them the law of our Lord.
As I said, we must sunder, and sadly go seek
Out each country, to cleanse and to knit in one cord
Of our creed.
That noble food
Who died on rood
Both might and mood:
Commands now:  prepare you to lead.




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