Abraham / Isaac


Transcription by Dave Teeuwen.

The Abraham play is the first in the cycle to be incomplete. It could be considered confusing as a play, since the story of Jacob and Esau begins in the last page and a half, without any warning, and the Abraham play finishes without any apparent resolve. While the key elements of the tale are present, the story is not completely told.




13

Sequitur Abraham


Abraham
Adonay thou god veray
Thou here vs when we to the call
As thou art he that best may
Mightfull lord to the I pray
Let onys the oyle of m[er]cy fall
Shall I neu[er] abide that day
Truly yit I hope I shall
Mercy lord om[n]ipotent
long syn he this warld has wroght
Whed[er] ar all oure elders went
This musys mekill in my thoght
From adam vnto eue assent
Ete of that appyll sparid he noght
For all the wisdom that he ment
Full dere that bargan has he boght
From paradise thai bad hym gang
He went mowrnyng w[ith] symple chere
And aft[er] liffyd he here full lang
More then CCC yere
In sorow and in tranell strang
And eu[er]y day he was in were
his childre angred hym amang
Caym slo abell was hym full dere
Sithen Noe that was trew and good
His and his chyldre thre
Was saued when all was flood
That was a wond[er] thyng to se
And loth fro sodome when he yede
Thre cytees brent yit eschapyd he
Thus for thai menged my lord[ys] mode
He venged syn thrugh his panste
When I thynk of oure elders all
And of the m[er]vels that has been


[13v]

No gladnes in my hart may fall
M comfort goys away full cleyn
lord when shall dede make me his thrall
Ma fa sone I hope he shall
---------- And yeris cert[ys] haue I seyn
---------- For it were right hietyme I weyn
Yit adam is to hell gone
And and all oure elders eu[er]ychon
---------- And ther has ligen many a day
---------- Thay ar gone the same way
Vnto god will here thare mone
For cert[ys] I can no bett[er] wone
---------- Now help lord adonay
---------- And ther is none that bett[er] may

Deus
I will help adam and his kynde // Might I luf and lowte fynd
Wold thay to me be trew and blyn // Of thare pride and of thare syn
My seruand I will found [and] frast // Abraham if he be trast
On certan wise I will hym proue // If he to me be trew of louf
Abraham Abraham

Abrahm
Who is that war let me se
I herd oone neven my name

Deus
It is I tke tent to me
That fourmed thi fad[er] adam
And eu[er]y thyng in it degre

Abrahm
To here thi will redy I am
And to fulfill what eu[er] it be

Deus
Of m[er]cy haue I here thi cry
If thou me luf look [that] thou hy
---------- Thi devoute prayers haue me bun
---------- Vnto the land of visyon
And the thryd day be ther bid
As a beest to sacryfy
---------- And take w[ith] the Isaac thi son
---------- To slo hym look thou not shon
And bren hym ther to thyn offerand

Abraham
A lovyd be thou lord in throne
Hold ou[er] me lord thy holy hand
For cert[ys] thi bidyng shall be done
Blissyd be that lord in eu[er]y land
Fayn wold I this thyng ordand
---------- Wold viset his seruand this so soyn
---------- For [pro]fett[ys] noght to hoyne
This co[m]manndement must I ned[ys] fulfill
Shuld I offend lord[ys] will
---------- If that my hert wax hevy as leyde
---------- Nay yit were I leysser my child were dede
What so he bidd[ys] me good or ill
Both wife and child if he bid spill
---------- That shal bedone in eu[er]y steede
---------- I will not do agane his rede
With Isaac wher so he were
How that he is in dangere
---------- He wold be abast now
---------- Isaac son wher art thou


14

Isaac
All redy fad[er] lo me here
Now was I commyng vnto you
I luf you mekill fad[er] dere

Abrahm
And dos thou so I wold wit how
Luf[ys] thou me son as thou has saide

Isaac
Yei fader with all myn hart
More then all that eu[er] was maide
God hold me long youre life in quart

Abrahm
Now who wold not be glad that had
Thi lufly chere mak[ys] my hert glad
---------- A child so lufand as thou art
---------- And many a tyme so has it gart
So home son com sone agane
So now god the faif and sayne
---------- And [tl] tell thi mod[er] I com ful fast
---------- Now well is me that he is past
Alone right here in this playn
I wold that all were well fulfayn
---------- Myght I speke to myn hart brast
---------- Bot it must ned[ys] bedone at last
And it is good that I be war
The land of vision is ful far
---------- To be avised full good it were
---------- The thrid day end must I be there
Myn ase shall with vs if it thar
For my son may be slayn no nar
---------- To bere oure harnes les [and] more
---------- A swerd must w[ith] vs yit therfore
And I shall found to make me yare :/ This myght will I begyn my way
Yof Isaac be neu[er] so fayre :/ And myn awn son the soth to say
And thof he be myn right haire :/ And all shuld weld aft[er] my day
God[ys] bydyng shall I not spare // Shuld I that ganstand we nay mafay
Isaac /

Isaac
sir

Abrahm
Luke thou be bowne :/ For certan son thi self and I
We two must now weynd furth of towne // In far country to sacrifie
For certan I kyllys and encheson // Cake was and fyere w[ith] the in hy
Bi hillys and dayllys both vp [and] downe // Son thou shal ride and I will go bi
Looke thou mys noght [that] thou shuld nede :/ So make the redy my darlyng

Isaac
I am redy to do this dede :// And eu[er] to fulfill youre bydyng

Abrahm
My dere son look thou haue no drede :/ We shal com home w[ith] grete lovyng
Both to [and] fro I shal vs lede :// Com now son in my blyssyng
Ye take here w[ith] this asse abide :// For Isaac [and] I will to yond hill
It is so hie we may not ride :/ therfor ye two shal abide here still

p[ri]mus puer
Sir ye ow not to be denyed :/ We ar redy youre bydyng to fulfill

s[e]c[un]d[u]s puer
What so eu[er] to vs betide // To do youre bidyng ay we will

Abrahm
God[ys] blyssyng haue ye both in fere :/ I shall not tary long yon fro


[14v]

prim[us] puer
Sir we shal abide you here :/ Oute of this stede shall we not go

Abrahm
Childre ye ar ay to me full dere
---------- I pray god kepe eu[er] fro wo

S[e]c[un]d[u]s puer
We will do [sir] as ye vs lere

Abrahm
Isaac now ar we bot we two
We must go afull good paase : For it is farther then I wend
We shall make myrth [and] grete solace :/ Bithis thyng be broght to end
Lo my son here is the place

Isaac
Wod and fyere ar in my hend
Tell me now if ye haue space /
Where is the beest that shuld be brend

Abrahm
Now son I may no long[er] layn :/ Sich will is into myne hart went
Thou was eu[er] to me full bayn :/ Eu[er] fulfill myn entent
Bot certanly thou must be slayn :/ And it may be as I hauement

Isaac
I am hevy and nothyng fayn :/ Thus hastely that shall be shnt

Abrahm
Isaac

Isaac
---------- sir

Abrahm
---------- Com hed[er] bid I
Thou shal bedede what so eu[er] betide

Isaac
A fad[er] m[er]cy m[er]cy

Abrahm
That I say may not bedenyde
Take thi dede therfor mekely

Isaac
A good [sir] abide
Fad[er]

Abrahm
---------- What son

Isaac
---------- to do youre will I am redy
Where so eu[er] ye go or ride
If I my may oght ou[er]take youre will
syn I haue trespat I wold be bet

Abrahm
Isaac

Isaac
---------- What [sir]

Abraahm
---------- good son bestill

Isaac
Fad[er]

Abrahm
---------- What son

Isaac
---------- thynk on thi get
Whathaue I done

Abrahm
---------- truly none ill

Isaac
And shall be slayn

Abrahm
---------- so haue I het

Isaac Abrahm
[Sir] what may help

Abrahm
---------- cert[ys] no skill

Isaac
I ask m[er]cy

Abrahm
---------- that may not let

Isaac
When I am dede and closed in clay
Who shall then be youre son

Abrahm
A lord that I shuld abide this day

Isaac
[Sir] [who] shall do that I was won

Abrahm
Speke no sich word[ys] son I the pray

Isaac
shall ye me slo

Abrahm
---------- I trow I mon
lyg still I smyte

Isaac
---------- [Sir] let me say

Abrahm
Now my dere child thou may not shon


15

Isaac
The shynyng of youre bright blayde
It gals me quake for ferde to dee

Abrahm
Therfor groflyng[ys] thou shall be layde
Then when I stryke thou shal not se

Isaac
What haue I done fad[er] what haue I saide

Abraam
Truly no kyns ill to me

Isaac
And thus gyltles shall be arayde

Abrahm
Now good son let sich word[ys] be

Isaac
I luf you ay

Abrahm
---------- so do I the

Isaac
Fad[er]

Abrahm
---------- What son

Isaac
---------- let now be sayn
For my mod[er] luf

Abrahm
let be let be
It will not help that thou wold meyn
Bot ly styll till I com to the
I mys a lytyll thyng I weyn
He spek[ys] so rufully to me
That wat[er] shot[ys] in both myn eeyn
I were len[er] then all warldly wyn
That I had son hym onys vnkynde
Bot no defawt I faund hym in
I wold be dede for hym or pynde
To slo hym thus I thynk grete syn
so rufull word[ys] I with hym fynd
I am full wo that we shuld cwyn
For he will neu[er] oute of my mynd
What shal I to his mod[er] say
For where is he tyte will she spyr
If I tell hir son away
Hir answere bere belife nay sir
And I am ferd hir forto slay
I ne wote what I shal say till hir
He lyys full still ther as he lay
For to I com dar he not styr

Deus
Angell hy with all thi mayn
To abrahm thou shall be sent
Say Isaac shall not be slayn
He shall lif and not be brent
My bydyng stand[ys] he not agane
Go put hym out of his intent
Byd hym go home agane
I knaw well how he ment


[15v]

Angelus
Gladly lord I am redy :- thi bidyng shall be magnyfyed
I shall me spede ful hastely :-/ the to obeye ay eu[er]y tyde
Thi will thi name to glorifyd :-/ Ou[er] all this warld so wide
And to thi [sir]uand now in hy :-/ good trew abrahm will I glyde

Abrahm
Bot myght I yit of wepyng sese :-/ till I had done this sacrifice
It must ned[ys] be withoutten lesse :-/ thof all I carpe on this wise
The more my sorow it will unres
When I look to hym I gryse
I will ryn on ares
And slo hym here right as he lyse

Angelus
Abrahm Abrahm

Abrahm
---------- Who is ther now
War let the go

Angelus
---------- stand vp now stand
Thi good will com I to alow
Therfor I byd the hold thi hand

Abrahm
Say who bad so any bot thou

Angelus
Yei god [and] send[ys] this beest to thyn offerand

Abrahm
I speke with god latt[er] I trow
And doyng he me co[m]mannd

Angleus
He has [per]sanyd thy mekenes
And thi good will also Iwis
He will thou do thi son no distres
For he has graunt to the his blys

Abrahm
Bot wote thou well that it is
As thou ha sayd

Angelus
---------- I say the yis

Abrahm
I thank the lord well of goodnes
That all thus has relest me this
To speke w[ith] the haue I [ ] no space :-/ With my dere son till I haue spokyn
My good son thou shal haue grace :-/ On the now will I not be wrokyn
Ryse vp now with thi frely face

Isaac
Sir shall I lif

Abrahm
---------- yei this to tokyn [Et osculat en]
Son thou has skapid a full hard grace
Thou shuld haue beyn both brent [and] brokyn

Isaac
Bot fad[er] shall I not be slayn

Abrahm
No cert[ys] son

Isaac
---------- then am I glad
good [sir] put vp youre sword agayn

Abrahm
Nay hardely son be thou not adrad

Isaac
Is all for geyn

Abrahm
---------- yei son certan

Isaac
For ferd [sir] was I nere hand mad


Note: This portion of the play is incomplete. At this point, the Abraham play ends and the Isaac play begins, though only for a page of text. Isaac continues to speak into the next page.


16

Com nere son and kys me :- that I may feyle the smell of the
The smell of my son is lyke :-/ to a feld with flouris or hony bike
Where art thou Esaw my son

Iacob
Here fad[er] and ask[ys] youre benyson

Isaac
The blyssyng my fad[er] gaf to me :-/ god of heuen [and] I gif the /
God gif the plente grete :- of wyne of oyll and of whete /
And graunt thi childre all :-/ to worship the both grete and small
Who so the blyssys blyssed be he :-/ Who so the waris wared be he
Now has thou my grete blyssyng :-/ loue the shall all thyne of spryng
Go now whed[er] thou has to go

Iacob
Graunt m[er]cy [sir] I will do so [ecedet iacob]

Esaw
Haue ete fad[er] of myn huntyng :-/ And gif me sythen yo[r] blyssyng /

Isaac
Who is that

Esaw
I youre son
Esaw bryng[ys] you venyson

Isaac
Who was that was right now here :-/ And broght me bruet of a dere
I ete well and blyssyd hym :-/ And he is blyssyd ich a lym

Esaw
Alas I may grete and sob :-/

Isaac
Thou art begylyd thrugh iacob
That is thyne awne german brother

Esaw
Haue ye kepyd me none other
Blyssyng then ye set hym one

Isaac Sich an other haue I none
Bot god gif the to thyn handband :-/ the dew of heuen [and] frute of land
Other then this can I not say

Esaw
Now alas and waloway
May I with that tratoure mete :-/ my faders dayes shall com w[ith] grete
And my moders also :-/ may I hym mete I shall hym slo

Rebecca
Isaac it were my deth :-/ If Iacob weddeth in kynd of heth
I will send hym to aran :-/ there my brothere dwellys laban
And there may he [sir]ue in peasse :- till his brothers wrath will seasse
Why shuld I apon a day :-/ loyse both my sonnes bett[er] nay

Isaac
Thou says seth wife call hym hed[er] :-/ And let vs test hym where [and] whed[er]
That he may fle esaw :-/ that vs both het[ys] bale to brew

Rebecca
Iacob son thi fad[er] [and] I :-/ wold speke w[ith] the com stand vs by
out of contry must thou fle :-/ that Esaw slo not the

Iacob
Whederward shuld I go dame

Rebecca
To mesopotameam


[16v]

To my brothere and thyn eine :- that dwellys besyde Iordan streme
And ther may thou with hym won :- to Esaw myne other son
rget and all his wrath be dede

Iacob
I will go fad[er] at youre rede [[and] osculat]

Isaac
Yei son do as thi mod[er] says :- Com kys vs both [and] weynd thi days

Iacob
Haue good day [sir] and dame

Isaac
God sheld the son from syn and shame

Rebecca
And gif the grace good man to be :-/ And send me glad tythyng[us] to the

Explicit Isaac