Alfred W. (Alfred William) Pollard.

English miracle plays, moralities, and interludes : specimens of the pre-Elizabethan drama online

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commethe before if, saytnge a-loude.

Mulciber, whom the Poetes doth call the god of fyer,

Smith unto Jupiter kinge over all,
Come foorth of thy office, I the desyre, 24

And graunte me my petiction, I aske a thynge but small.
I wyl none of thy lightning, that thou art wont to make
For the goddes supernall, for yre when they do shake,
With whiche they thruste the gyauntes downe to hell,
That were at a convention heaven to bye and sell;
But I woulde have some helpe of Lemnos and Ilva, 30
That of theyr stele, by thy crafte, condatur mihi galea.

MULCIBER. What felowe Thersites, do ye speake Latyn


Nay then, farewell ! I make God a vowe
I do not you understande, no Latyn is in my palet.

THERSITES. I say Abyde, good Mulciber ! I pray the
make me a sallet. 35

MULCIBER. Why Thersites hast thou anye wytte in thy head.
Woldest thou have a sallet nowe all the herbes are dead ?
Besyde that it is not mete for a smyth
To gether herbes, and sallettes to medle with. 39


THERSITES. I meane a sallet with whiche men do fyght,
MULCIBER. It is a small tastinge of a marines mighte 46

That he shoulde for any matter

Fyght with a fewe herbes in a platter!

No greate laude shoulde folowe that victorye !

THERSITES. [I pray thee,] Mulciber, where is thy wit and
memory ? 50

I wolde have a sallet made of stele !
MULCIBER. Whye syr, in youre stomacke longe you shall

it fele.
For stele is harde for to digest.

THERSITES. Mans bones and sydes, hee is worse then a

beest !

I wolde have a sallet to were on my hed, 55

Whiche under my chyn with a thonge red
Buckeled shall be.
Doest thou yet perceyve me ?

MULCIBER. Your mynde now I se.

Why, thou pevysshe ladde, 60

Arte thou almost madde,

Or well in thy wytte?

Gette the a wallette!

Wolde thou have a sallette

What woldest thou do with it ? 65

THERSITES. I pray the, good Mulciber, make no mo bones,

But let me have a sallet made at ones !
MULCIBER. I must do somewhat for this knave!

What maner of sallet, syr, woulde ye have?

THERSITES. I wold have such a one that nother might
nor mayne 70

Sholde perse it thorowe, or parte it in twayne;
Whiche nother gonstone, nor sharpe speare,
Shoulde be able other to hurte or teare.


I woulde have it also for to save my heade
Yf Jupiter him selfe woulde have me dead ; 75

And if he, in a fume, woulde cast at me his fire,
This sallet I woulde have to kepe me from his yre.

MULCIBER. I perceave youre mynde,
Ye shall fynde me kynde.
I wyll for you prepare. 80

And then he goeth in to his shop, and maketh a sallet
for hym : at the taste, he sayth.

Here, Thersites, do this sallet weare,
And on thy head it beare,
And none shall worke the care.

Then Muldber goeth into his shop, untyl he is called


THERSITES. Now woulde I not feare with anye bull to fyghte,
Or with a raumpinge lyon, nother by daye nor nyghte,

what greate strength is in my body so lusty, 86
Whiche for lacke of exercise is nowe almost rustye !
Hercules in comparison to me was but a boye
When the bandogge Cerberus from hell he bare awaye,
When he kylled the lyons, hydra, and the bere so wylde,
Compare him to me and he was but a chylde. 91
Why Sampson, I saye, hast thou no more wytte?
Woldest thou be as strong as I, come suck thy mothers

tytte !

Wene you that David, that lyttle elvyshe boye,
Should with his slinge have take my life awaye? 95
Nay ywys, Golyath, for all his fyve stones,

1 woulde have quashed his little boysshe bones

howe it woulde do my harte muche good
To se some of the giauntes before Noes floud!

1 woulde make the knaves to crye creke, 100
Or elles with my clubbe their braynes I wyll breake !



But Mulciber, yet I have not with the do !
My heade is armed, my necke I woulde have to !
And also my shoulders with some good habergyn
That the devyll, if he shote at me, coulde not enter in.
For I am determined greate battayle to make, 106
Excepte my fumishenes by some meanes may aslake.

MULCIBER. Bokell on this habergyn as fast as thou canne
And feare for the metinge of nother beast nor manne
Yf it were possible for one too shote an oke no

This habergyn wyll defende thee frome the stroke.
Let them throwe mylstones at the as thick as haile,
Yet the to kyll they shall their purpose faile.
Yf Malverne hylles shoulde on thy shoulders light
They shall not hurt the, nor suppress thy mighte, 115
Yf Bevis of Hampton, Colburne and Guy,
Will the assaye, set not by them a flye,
To be briefe, this habergyn shall the save
Bothe by lande and water. Nowe playe the lusty knave !

Then he goeth in to his shoppe againe.

THERSITES. When I consider my shoulders that so brode
be, 1 20

When the other partes of my bodye I do beholde,

I verely thinke that none in Chrystente^

With me to medele dare be so bolde.

Now have at the lyons on Cotsolde !

I wyll neyther spare for heate nor for colde, 125

Where art thou king Arthur, and the Knightes of the
Rounde Table?

Come, brynge forth your horses out of the stable.

Lo ! with me to mete they be not able !

By the masse, they had rather were a bable ! 129

Where arte thou Gawyn the curtesse and Cay the crabed ?

Here be a couple of knightes cowardishe and scabbed !


Appere in thy likenesse Syr Libeus Disconius,
Yf thou wilt have my clubbe lyghte on thy hedibus.
Lo ! ye maye see he beareth not the face
With me to trye a blowe in thys place. 135

Howe syrray, approche Syr Launcelot de Lake!
What renne ye awaie and for feare quake?
Nowe he that did the a knight make
Thought never that thou any battaile shouldest take.
Yf thou wilt not come thy self, some other of thy
felowes send, 140

To battaile I provoke them, themselves let them defende.
Lo ! for all the good that ever they se,
They wyll not ones set hande to fight with me.

good lorde ! howe brode is my brest,

And stronge with all, for hole is my chest ! 145

He that should medle with me shall have shrewde rest !
Beholde you my handes, my legges and my feete
Every parte is stronge proportionable and mete.
Thinke you that I am not feared in felde and strete?
Yes, yes, god wote they geve me the wall, 150

Or elles with my clubbe I make them to fall.
Backe knaves ! I saye to them ; then for feare they

And take me then to the taverne and good chere me


The proctoure and his men I made to renne their waies,
And some wente to hide them in broken heys. 155

1 tell you, [yea, I,]
I set not a [fly]

By none of them al.
Early and late I wyll walke,
And London stretes stalke, 160

Spyte of them greate and small.
For I thinke verely,
That none in heaven so hye,
K 2


Nor yet in hell so lowe,

Whyle I have this clubbe in my hande, 165

Can be able me to withstande,

Or me to overthrowe.
But, Mulciber, yet I must the desyre

To make me briggen yrons for myne armes,
And then I will love the as mine owne syre, 170

For withoute them I can not be safe frome all harmes.
Those once had I will not sette a strawe
By all the worlde, for then I wyll by awe
Have all my mynde, or elles, by the holye roode,
I wyll make them thinke the devyll caryeth them to
the wood. 175

Yf no man wyll with me battayle take,
A vyage to hell quickely I wyll make,
And there I wyll bete the devyll and his dame,
And bringe the soules awaye, I fullye entende the same.
After that in hell I have ruffled so, 180

Streyghte to olde purgatorye wyll I go.
I wyll cleane that so purge rounde aboute,
That we shall nede no pardons to helpe them oute.
Yf I have not fyghte ynoughe this wayes,
I wyll clymbe to heaven and fet awaye Peters kayes,
I wyll kepe them myselfe and let in a great route. 186
What shoulde suche a fysher kepe good felowes out?
MULCIBER. Have here, Thersites, briggen yrons bright,
. And feare thou no man manly to fyghte,
Thoughe he be stronger then Hercules or Sampson, 190
Be thou prest and bolde to set him upon.
Nother Amazon nor Xerxes with their hole rable
The to assayle shall fynde it profytable.
I warrante the they wyll Me fro thy face,
As doth an hare from the dogges in a chase. 195

Would not thy blacke and rustye grym berde,
Nowe thou art so armed, make anye man aferde?


Surely if Jupiter dyd see the in this gere,

He woulde renne awaye and hyde hym for feare !

He wold thinke that Typhoeus the gyant were alive 200

And his brother Enceladus, agayn with him to strive !

If that Mars, of battell the god stoute and bold,

In this aray shoulde chaunce the to beholde,

He would yelde up his sworde unto the,

And god of battayle (he would say) thou shouldest be.

Now fare thou wel, go the world through, 206

And seke adventures, thou arte man good enough.

THERSITES. Mulciber, whyle the starres shall shyne in

the sky,

And Phaeton's horses with the sonnes charret shall fly,
Whyle the mornynge shall go before none, 210

And cause the darkennesse to vanysshe away soone
Whyle that the cat shall love well mylke,
And whyle that women shal love to go in sylke,
Whyle beggers have lyce,

And cockneys are nyce, 215

Whyle pardoners can lye,
Marchauntes can by,
And chyldren crye,
Whyle all these laste and more,

Whiche I kepe in store, 220

I do me faythfully bynde,
Thy kyndnes to beare in mynde.
But yet, Mulciber, one thinge I aske more,
Haste thou ever a sworde now in store?
I would have suche a one that would cut stones, 225
And pare a great oke down at ones 1 ,
That were a sworde, lo, even for the nones.

MULCIBER. Truly I have suche a one in my shoppe
That wil pare yron, as it were a rope.

1 once, Text.


Have, here it is, gyrde it to thy syde. 230

Now fare thou well, Jupiter be thy guyde.

THERSITES. Gramercye, Mulciber, wyth my hole harte.
Geve me thy hande and let us departe.

Mulciber goeth in to hys shoppe againe and Ther sites saith

Nowe I go hence, and put my selfe in prease.

I wyll seeke adventures, yea and that I wyl not cease,

If there be any present here thys nyghte 236

That wyll take upon them with me to fighte,

Let them come quickly, and the battayle shall be


Where is Cacus, that knave, not worthe a grote, 239
That was wont to blowe cloudes oute of his throte,
Which stale Hercules kine and hyd them in his cave?
Come hether Cacus, thou lubber and false knave.
I wyll teache all wretches by the to beware,
If thou come hether I trappe the in a snare.
Thou shalt have knocked breade and yll fare. 245
How say you, good godfather, that loke so stale
Ye seeme a man to be borne in the vale,
Dare ye adventure wyth me a stripe or two ?
Go, coward, go, hide the, as thou wast wonte to do.
What a sorte of dasterdes have we here 2^0

None of you to battaile with me dare appeare!

Well, let all go ! whye, wyll none come in,

With me to fyghte that I maye pare his skyn? 26;

The mater commeth in.
MATER. What saye you my sonne, wyl ye fyght ? God

it defende !
For what cause to warre do you nowe pretende?


Wyll ye committe to battayles daungerous
Youre lyfe that is to me so precious?

THERSITES. I wyll go ! I wyll go ! stoppe not my
waye ! 270

Holde me not good mother, I hartely you pray !
If there be any lyons, or other wylde beest,
What wyll not suffer the husbandmen in rest,
I wyll go seeche them, and byd them to a feest. 274
They shall abye bytterlye the comminge of suche a gest !
I wyll searche for them bothe in busshe and shrubbe,
And laye on a lode with this lustye clubbe !

MATER. O my swete sonne, I am thy mother,
Wylt thou kyll me and thou hast none other?

THERSITES. No ! mother, no ! I am not of suche
iniquitye, 280

That I wyll defyle my handes upon the.
But be contente, mother, for I wyll not rest
Tyll I have foughte with some man or wylde beast.

MATER. Truely, my sonne, yf that ye take thys way,
Thys shall be the conclusion, marke what I shall say !
Other I wyll drowne my selfe for sorowe, 286

And fede fyshes with my body before to morowe,
Or wyth a sharpe swerde, surely I wyll me kyll,
Nowe thou mayst save me, if it be thy wyll.
I wyll also cut my pappes awaye, 290

That gave the sucke so manye a daye,
And so in all the worlde it shall be knowen,
That by my owne sonne I was overthrowen.
Therefore, if my lyfe be to the pleasaunte,
That whiche I desyre, good sonne, do me graunte. 295

THERSITES. Mother, thou spendest thy winde but in

The goddes of battayle hyr fury on me hath cast,


I am fullye fyxed battayle for to taste.

how many to deth I shall dryve in haste !

1 wyll ruffle this clubbe aboute my hedde, 300
Or els I pray God I never dye in my bedde !

There shall never a stroke be stroken with my hande
But they shall thynke that Jupiter doth thonder in the land.

MATER. My owne swete sonne, I, knelynge on my knee,
And bothe my handes holdinge up to the, 305

Desyre the to cease and no battayle make.
Call to the pacience and better wayes take.

THERSITES. Tushe, mother, I am deafe, I wyll the

not heare !

No ! no ! yf Jupiter here him selfe nowe were,
And all the goddes, and Juno his wife, 310

And lovinge Minerva, that abhorreth all stryfe,
Yf all these, I saye, would desyre me to be content,
They dyd theyr wynde but in vaine spente.
I wyll have battayle in Wayles or in Kente,
And some of the knaves I wyll all to rent. 315

Where is the valiaunt knighte, Syr Isembrase?
Appere, Syr, I praye you, dare ye not shewe your face?
Where is Robin John and Little Hode?
Approche hyther quickely, if ye thinke it good.
I wyll teache suche outlawes wyth [Heaven's] curses 320
How they take hereafter awaye abbottes purses !
Whye, wyll no adventure appeare in thys place?
Where is Hercules with his greate mase?
Where is Busyris that fed hys horses,
Full lyke a tyraunte, with dead mens corses? .115

Come any of you bothe,
And I make an othe,
That yer I eate any breade
I wyll dryve a wayne,
Ye, for neede, twayne, 330


Betwene your bodye and your heade.
[This 1 ] passeth my braynes !
Wyll none take the paynes

To trye wyth me a blowe?

what a fellowe am I, 335
Whome everye man dothe flye,

That dothe me but once knowe !

MATER. Sonne all do you feare,
That be present here,

They wyll not wyth you fyghte. 34

You, as you be worthye,
Have nowe the victorye,

Wythoute tastynge of youre myghte.
Here is none, I trowe,
That profereth you a blowe, 34 ?

Man, woman nor chylde.
Do not set your mynde
To fyghte with the wynde,

Be not so madde nor wylde.

THERSITES. I saye, aryse, who so ever wyll fighte !

1 am to battayle here readye dyghte. 35 l
Come hyther, other swayne or knyghte,

Let me *see who dare presente him to my syghte !

Here with my clubbe readye I stande,

Yf anye wyll come to take them in hand. 355

MATER. There is no hope left in my brest,
To bring my sonne unto better rest,
He wyll do nothinge at my request,
He regardeth me no more then a best.
I see no remedye, but styll I wyll praye 360

To God, my sonne to gyde in his waye,
That he maye have a prosperous journyynge,
And to bee save at his returnynge.

1 Thus, Ed.


Sonne, God above graunte thys my oration,

That when in battaile thou shalt have concertation 365

With your enemies, other farre or nere,

No wounde in them nor in you may appere,

So that ye nother kyll nor be kylled.

THERSITES. Mother, thy peticion I praye God be


For then no knaves bloude shall be spilled. 370

Felowes, kepe my counsell, by the masse I doo but crake,
I wyll be gentyll enoughe and no busenesse make.
But yet I wyll make her beleve that I am a man !
Thincke you that I wyll fight ? no, no, but wyth the can,
Excepte I finde my enemye on thys wyse 375

That he be a slepe or els can not aryse.
Yf his armes and his fete be not fast bounde,
I wyll not prefer a stripe, for a thousande pound.
Fare well, mother, and tarrye here no longer,
For after proves of chivalry I do both thyrste and hunger,
I wyll beate the knaves as flatte as a conger. 381

Then the mother goeth in the place ivhich is prepared for her,

What ! how long shall I tary ? be your hartes in your hose,
Will there none of you in battayl me appose?
Come, prove me ! whye stande you so in doubte ?
Have you any wylde bloude, that ye would have let oute ?
Alacke that a man's strengthe can not be knowen, 386
Because that he lacketh ennemies to be over throwen !

Here a snaile muste appere unto him, and hee muste loke
fearefully uppon the snaile, saienge :

But what a monster do I see nowe

Cominge hetherwarde with an armed browe?

What is it ? ah, it is a sowe ! 390

No, by [my faith], it is but a grestle,

And on the backe it hath never a brystle.


It is not a cow, ah there I fayle,
For then it should have a long tayle.
What the devyll ! I was blynde, it is but a snayle ! 395
I was never so afrayde in east nor in south,
My harte at the fyrste syght was at my mouth.
Mary, syr, fy ! fy ! fy ! I do sweate for feare !
I thoughte I had craked but to tymely here.
Hens, thou beest and plucke in thy homes 400


Haste thou nothynge elles to doo

But come wyth homes and face me so?

Howe, how my servauntes, get you shelde and spere 405

And let us werye and kyll thys monster here !

Here MILES cometh in.

MILES. Is not thys a worthye knyghte
That wyth a snayle dareth not fight
Excepte he have hys servauntes ayde?
Is this the chaumpyon that maketh al men afraid? 410
I am a pore souldiour come of late from Calice,
I trust or I go to debate some of his malyce,
I wyll tarrye my tyme till I do see
Betwixt hym and the snayle what the ende wyll be.

THERSITES. Why ye [rascal] knavys, regard ye not
my callinge ? 415

Whye do ye not come and wyth you weapons brynge?
Why shall this monster so escape kyllinge?
No ! that he shal not, and God be wyllinge.

MILES. I promyse you, thys is as worthye a knyghte
As ever shall brede oute of a bottell byte : 420

I thinke he be Dares, of whom Virgyll doth write,
That woulde not let Entellus alone,
But ever provoked and ever called on,


But yet at the last he tooke a fall,

And so within a whyle, I trowe I make the shall. 425
THERSITES. By [Jupiter], knaves, if I come I wyll you

fetter !

Regarde ye my callinge and cryinge no better?
Why, [rascals,] I saye, wyll ye not come?
By the masse, the knaves be all from home !
They had better have fette me an errande at Rome !

MILES. By my trouthe, I thynke that very skante 431
This lubber dare adventure to fighte with an ant !

THERSITES. Well, seinge my servauntes come to me

will not,

I must take hede that this monster me spyll not,
I wyll joparde with it a joynte, 435

And, other with my clubbe or my sweardes poynte,
I wyll reche it suche woundes,
As I woulde not have for xl M. poundes.
Plucke in thy homes, thou unhappy beast,
What, facest thou me ? wilte not thou be in reste ? 440
Why? wylte not thou thy homes in holde?
Thinkest thou that I am a cockolde?
[Nay, truly] the monster cometh towarde me styll !
Excepte I fyght manfully, it wyll me surely kyll !

Then he muste fyghte against the snayle with his club.
MILES. O Jupiter Lorde ! doest thou not see and heare
How he feareth the snayle as it were a bere ? 446

THERSITES. Well, with my clubbe I have had good

Nowe with my sworde have at the a plucke.

And he must cast his club awaye.
I wyll make the, or I go, for to ducke,
And thou were as tall a man as frier Tucke ! 450


I saye yet agayne thy homes in drawe,

Or elles I wyll make the to have woundes rawe.

Arte not thou aferde

To have thy bearde

Pared with my swearde? 455

Here he must fighte then with his sworde against the snayle
and the snayle draweth her homes in.

Ah well nowe no more !

Thou mightest have done so before !

I layed at it so sore

That it thoughte it shoulde have be lore.

And it had not drawen in his homes againe, 460

Surely I woulde the monster have slaine.

But now farewell, I wyll worke the no more payne.

Nowe my fume is paste,

And dothe no longer laste,

That I did to the monster cast. 465

Now in other countreis both farre and neare

Mo dedes of chyvalrye I wyll go inquere.

MILES. Thou nedes not seke any further for redy I am

I wyll debate anone, I trowe, thy bragginge chere.

THERSITES. Nowe where is any mo that wyll me
assay le ? 470

I wyll turne him and tosse him, both toppe and tayle,
Yf he be stronger then Sampson was,
Who with his bare handes kylde lyons apas.

MILES. What nedeth this booste ? I am here at hande,
That with the will fighte, kepe the heade and stande !
Surelye for al thy hye wordes I wyll not feare 476

To assaye the a towche tyll some bloude apeare,
I wyll geve the somewhat for the gifte of a new yeare.


A nd he begynth to fight with Aim, but Ther sites must ren
awaye, and hyde hym behynde hys mother's backe sayinge :

THERSITES. O mother, mother, I praye the me hyde!
Throwe some thinge over me and cover me every syde !

MATER. O my sonne, what thynge eldyth the? 481

THERSITES. Mother, a thousande horsemen do perse-
cute me !

MATER. Marye, sonne then it was time to flye !
I blame the not then, thoughe afrayde thou be.
A deadlye wounde thou mightest there sone catche, 485
One against so manye is no indyfferente matche.

THERSITES. No, mother ! but if they had bene but ten

to one,

I woulde not have avoyded, but set them uppon,
But seinge they be so many I ran awaye.
Hyde me, mother, hyde me, I hartely the pray. 490

For if they come hyther and here me fynde
To their horses tayles they wyll me bynde,
And after that fasshyon hall me and kyll me,
And thoughe I were never so bolde and stoute 494

To fyghte againste so manye, I shoulde stande in doubte.

MILES. Thou that doest seke giauntes to conquere,
Come foorth, if thou dare, and in this place appere !
Fy, for shame, doest thou so sone take flighte ?
Come forth and shewe somewhat of thy myghte !

THERSITES. Hyde me, mother, hyde me, and never
worde saye. 500

MILES. Thou olde trotte, seyst thou any man come thys

Well armed and weaponed and readye to fighte?

MATER. No forsothe Maister, there came none in my


MILES. He dyd avoyde in tyme, for withoute doubles
I woulde have set on his backe some clowtes. 505

Yf I may take him I wyll make all slowches
To beware by him, that they come n t in my clowches.

Then he goeth oute, and the mother saith :

MATER. Come foorth my sonne, youre enemy is gone,
Be not afrayed, for hurte thou canst have none.

Then he loketh aboute if he be gone or <?/, at the last he
sayth :

THERSITES. Ywys thou didest wisely, who so ever thou
be, 510

To tarrye no longer to fighte with me,
For with my clubbe I woulde have broken thy skull,
Yf thou were as bigge as Hercules bull.
Why, thou cowardely knave, no stronger then a ducke
Barest thou trye maystries with me a plucke, 515

Whiche fere nother giauntes nor Jupiters fire bolte,
Nor Beelzebub, the mayster devyll, as ragged as a colte.
I woulde thou wouldest come hyther ones againe,
I thincke thou haddest rather alyve to be flayne.
Come againe and I sweare, by my mothers wombe, 520
I wyll pull the in peeces no more then my thombe,
And thy braines abrode I wyll so scatter
That all knaves shall feare, against me to clatter.

[The play is interrupted here by the incident of the young Telemachus
coming to Thersites' mother, to be cured of a disease. When he
is gone, Thersites resumes his boasting.]

Then Miles cometh in saynge :

MILES. Wylte thou so in deede?
Hye the, make good spede, , 876


I am at hande here prest.
Put awaye tongue shakynge
And this folysshe crakynge, 880

Let us trye for the best.
Cowardes make speake apase,

Strypes prove the manne.
Have nowe at thy face !

Keepe of, if thou canne ! 885

And then he muste stryke a hym, and Thersytes muste runne

awaye and leave his dubbe and sworde behynde.
Whye, thou lubber, runnest thou awaye,

And leavest thy swearde and thy clubbe thee behynde ?
Nowe thys is a sure carde, nowe I maye well saye

That a cowarde crakinge here I dyd fynde.
Maysters, ye maye see by this playe in sighte 890

That great barking dogges do not most byte,
And oft it is sene that the best men in the hoost
Be not suche, that use to bragge moste.
Yf ye wyll avoyde the daunger of confusion,
Printe my wordes in harte and marke this conclusion,
Suche gyftes of God that ye excelle in moste, 896

Use them wyth sobernesse and youre selfe never bost.
Seke the laude of God in all that ye doo,
So shall vertue and honoure come you too. 899

But if you geve youre myndes to the sinne of pryde,

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Online LibraryAlfred W. (Alfred William) PollardEnglish miracle plays, moralities, and interludes : specimens of the pre-Elizabethan drama → online text (page 12 of 26)