be still

From a medieval English mystery panto

I’ve been dipping into my Penguin book of English Mystery plays this Advent and (consequently) brushing up on my Middle English. This week I have the Adoration of the Wise Men on my mind even though liturgically this is not celebrated until Ephipany.  Here is a stanza from The Adoration play of the York cycle performed (quite naturally I guess) by the Goldsmiths.  These plays dealt with the spectacular as I guess our pantos do. My volume notes that “there are records of a moving star (on stage) even in the liturgical versions”.  Anyhow (with some minor adaptions by me to make slightly easier reading), here is the “1st King of Orient Are” bringing his gift of gold to Christ:

Hayle, the fairest of felde folke for to fynde,

From the fiende and his feeres faithefully us fende;

Hayll, the best that shall be borne to unbynde

All the barnes that are borne and in sorrow bound;

Hayll, thou mark us thy men and make us in mynde,

Send thy myght on earth evil to amende;

Hayll, clene that is comen of a kynges kynde,

And shall be kyng of this kyth, all clergy has kende.

And sith it shall worthe on this wise,

Thy selffe have soght, soon, I say thee,

With golde that is grettest of price;

Be paied of this present, I pray thee.


(Thanks to Richard)

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