The Killing of Abel

Transcription by Dave Teeuwen.

This play contains interesting mistakes. Abel's death has been confused by the writer so that Abel appears in the text after he has been killed by Cain. This could possibly be due to complications in the re-binding of the text that took place in past centuries.

Also, as in the Creation play, there are numbers in the margin that we have attempted to reproduce in this text.


Mactacio abel Scia pagina ---------- Glober |4|7

All hayll all hayll both blithe and glad
ffor here com I a mery lad
be peasse youre dyn my master bad
---------- Or els the dwill you spede
Wote ye not I com before
Bot who that Ianglis any more
He must blaw my blak hoill bore
both behynd and before
---------- Will his tethe blede
ffelows here I you forbede
To make nother nose ne cry
Who so is so hardy to do that dede
The dwill hang hym vp to dry
Gedlyng[ys] I am a full grete wat
A good yoman my master hat
---------- ffull well ye all hym ken
Begyn he w[ith] you forte stryfe
Cert[ys] then mon ye neu[er] thryfe
Bot I trow bi god on life
---------- Som of you ar his men
Bot let youre lippis cou[er] youre ten
harlott[ys] eu[er]ichon
ffor if my master com welcom hym then
ffarwell for I am gone

Iofurth greyn horne and war oute greyme
Drawes on god gif you ill to tyme
Ye stand as ye were fallen in swyme
---------- What will ye no forther mare
War let me se how down will draw
Yit shraw yit pull on a thraw
What it semys for me ye stand none aw
---------- I say donnyng go fare
A ha god gif the sors & care
Lo now hard she what I saide
now yit art thou the warst mare
In plogh that eu[er] I haide
How pike harnes how com hal[ys] belife

I fend god[ys] forbot that eu[er] thou thrife

What boy shal I both hold and drife
---------- heris thou not how I cry

Say mall and stott will ye not go
Lemyng morell white horn Io
---------- now will [?] ye nose how thay hy

Gog gif the sorow boy Want of mete it gars

thare [pro]uand [sir] for thi I lay behynd thare ars
And tyes them fast bi the nek[ys]
With many stanys in thare hek[ys]


That shall bi thi fals chek[ys]

And haue agane as right

I am the mast[er] wilt thou fight

Yai with the same mesure and weght
That I boro will I qwite

We now no thyng bot call on tyte
that we had ployde this land

Harrer moself iofurth hyte
and let the plogh stand

God as he both may and can
Spede the brother & the man

Com kis myne ars me lift not ban
---------- As welcom stand[ys] ther oute
Thou shuld haue bide til thou were cald
Com nar & other drife or hald
---------- and kys the dwillis toute
Go grese thi shepe vnder the toute
ffor that is the moste lefe

Broder ther is none here aboute
that wold the any grefe
bot leif brother here my sake
It is the custom of oure law
All that wyrk as the wise
Shall worship god w[ith] sacrifice
Oure fader vs bad oure fad[er] vs kend
that oure tend shuld be brend
Comfurth brethere and let vs gang
So worship god we dwell full lang
Gif we hym [par]te of oure fee
Corn or catall whel[ys] it be
And therfor brother let vs weynd
---------- or we make sacrifice
And first clens vs from the feynd
Then blis w[ith]outten end
---------- get we for oure seruyce
Of hym that is oure saulis leche

How let furth youre geyse the fox will preche
How long wilt thou me appech
----------W[ith] sermonyng
hold thi tong yit I say
Euen ther the good wife strokid the hay
Or sit downe in the dwill way
---------- W[ith] thi vayn carpyng
shuld I leife my plogh & all thyng
And go w[ith] the to make offeryng
Nay thou fynd[ys] me not so mad
Go to the dwill and say I bad
What gifys god the to rose hym so
me gifys he noght bot soro and wo


Caym leife this vayn carpyng
ffor god giffys the all thi lifyng

Yit boroed I neuer a farthyng
--------- of hym here my hend

Brother aselders hand vs kend
ffirst shuld we tend w[ith] oure hend
--------- and to his lofyng sithen be brend

My farthyng is in the preest hand
syn last tyme I offyrd

leif brother let vs be walkand
I wold oure tend were [pro]fyrd

we wherof shuld I tend leif brothere
ffor I am ich yere wars then othere
here my trouth it is none othere
My wynnyng[ys] ar bot meyn
No wond[er] if that I be leyn
ffull long till hym I may me meyn
ffor bi hym that me dere boght
I traw that he will leyn me noght

Yis all the good thou has in wone
Of god[ys] grace is bot alone

Lenys he me as com thrift apon the so
ffor he has eu[er] yit beyn my fo
ffor had he [beyn] my freynd beyn
Other gat[ys] it had beyn seyn
When all mens corn was fayre in feld
Then was myne not worth an eld
When I shuld saw & wantyd seyde
And of corn had full grete neyde
Then gaf he me none of his
Nomore will I gif hym of this
Hardely hold me to blame
bot if I serue hym of the same

leif brother say not so : / bot let vs furth toged[er] go /
Good brother let vs weynd sone :-/ no longer here I rede we hone /

Yei yei thou [s] Iangyls waste :-/ the dwill me spede if I haue haft /
As long as I may lif :- to dele my good or gif /
Ather to god or yit to man :-/ of any good that eu[er] I wan /
ffor had I giffen away my goode :-/ then myght I go w[ith] a ryffen hood /
And it is better hold that I haue :-/ then go from doore to doore & craue /

Brother com furth in god[ys] name :-/ I am full ferd that we get blame
Hy we fast that we were thore /


We ryn on in the dwillis nayme before
Wemay man I hold the mad :-/ Wenys thou now that I lift gad /
To gif away my warld[ys] aght :-/ the dwill hym spede that me so taght/
What nede had I my tranell to lose :-/ to were my shoyn & ryfe my hose /

Dere brother hit were grete wond[er] :-/ that I & thou shuld go in sonder /
Then wold oure fad[er] haue grete fer ly :-/ Ar we not brether thou & I /

No bot cry on cry whyls the thynk good :-/ here my trowth I hold the woode /
Whed[ys] that he be blithe or wroth :-/ to dele my good [is] me full lothe /
I haue gone oft on softer wise :-/ there I traked som prow wold rise /
Bot well I se go must I nede :-/ now weynd before ill myght thou spede /
Syn that we shall algat[ys] go :-/

Leif brother whi sais thou so
Bot go we furth both toged[er] :-/ blissid be god we haue fare wed[er]

Lay downe thi trussell apon this hill

fforsoth brod[ys] so I will
Gog of heuen take it to good

Thou shall tend first if thou were wood

God that shape both erth and heuen :-/ I pray to the thou here my steven
And take in thank if thi will be :-/ the tend that I offre here to the /
ffor I gif it in good entent :-/ to the my lord that all has sent
I bren it now with stedfast thoght :-/ In worship of hym that all has wroght /

Yule let me now syn thou has done:-
Lord of heuen thou here my boyne
And ou[er] god[ys] forbot be to the :- thank or thew to kun me
ffor as browke I thise two shankys :-/ It is full sore myne vnthankys
The teynd that I here gif to the :-/ of corn or thyng that newys me
Bot now begyn will I then : / Syn I must nede my tend to bren /
Oone shefe oone and this mak[ys] two :-/ bot nawd[er] of thise may I forgo /
Two two now this is thre :-/ yei this also shall leif with me /
ffor I will chose and best haue :-/ this hold I thrift of all this thrafe /
Wemo wemo foure lo here :-/ bett[er] greved meno this yere
At yere tyme I sew fayre corn :-/ Yit was it sich when it was shorne /
Thystyls & brenys yei grete plente :-/ And all kyn wed[ys] that myght be /
ffoure shef[ys] foure lo this make[ys] fyfe :-/ deyll I fast thus long or I thrife /
ffyfe and sex now this is sevyn :-/ bot this gett[ys] neu[er] god of heuen /
Nor none of thise foure at my myght :-/ shall neu[er] com in god[ys] sight
Sevyn sevyn now this is aght

Cain brother thou art not god be taght

We therfor is it that I say :-/ ffor I will not deyle my good away /


Bot had I gyffen hym this to teynd :-/ Then wold thou say he were my fryend /
Bot I thynk not bi my hede :-/ To departe so lightly fro my goode /
We aght aght & neyn & ten is this :-/ We this may we best mys /
Gif hym that that lig[ys] thore :-/ It goyse agans myn hart full sore /

Cain teynd right of all bedeyn

We lo xir xv and xvr

Caym thou tend[ys] wrang and of the warst /

We com nar and hide myne een // In the wenyand wist ye now at last /
Or els will thou that I wynk :-/ then shall I doy nowrong me thynk /
Let me se now how it is /
Lo yit I hold me paide
I teyndyd wond[er] well bi ges
And so euen I laide

Came of god me thynke thou has no drede

Now and he get more the dwill me spede
As mych as oone reepe :-/ ffor that cam hym full light chepe /
Not as mekill grete ne small :-/ as he myght wipe his ars w[ith] all
ffor that and this that lyys here :-/ haue cost me full dere /
Or it was shorne and broght in stak :-/ had I many a wery bak /
Therfor aske me no more of this :-/ ffor I haue giffen that my will is /

Cain I rede thou tend right :-/ ffor drede of hym that sitt[ys] on hight /

How that I tend rek the neu[er] adeill :-/ bot tend thi skabbid shepe wele /
ffor if thou to my teynd tent take :-/ It bere the wars for thi sake /
Thou wold I gaf hym this shefe or this sheyfe :- na nawd[er] of thise ir wil I leife
Bot take this now has he two :-/ and for my sauff now mot it go
Bot it gos sore agans my will :-/ and shal he like full ill /

Cam I reyde thou so teynd :-/ that god of heuen be thi freynd

My freynd na not bot if he will :-/ I did hym neu[er] yit bot skill
If he be neu[er] so my fo :-/ I am avisid gif hym no mo
Bot chaunge thi conscience as I do myn : / yit teynd thou not thi mesel swyne

If thou teynd right thou mon it fynde

Yei kys the dwills ars behynde
The dwill hang the bi the nek :-/ how that I teynd neu[er] thou rek
Will thou not yit hold thi peasse :-/ of this Ianglyng I reyde thou seasse
And teynd I well or tend I ill :-/ bere the euen & speke bot skill /
--------- (with bracket)Bot now syn thou has & [ ] X =


(top left hand corner) d that this syde of the leyse
[y]uld solow the other next syde
cordyng to the tokyns here maide
d then aft[er] al stond[ys] in ordre /

[?] [B] Bot now syn he is broght on slepe :- Into som hole fayn wold I crepe
ffor ferd I qwake and can no rede :-/ ffor be I taken I be bot dede
Here will I lig thise fourty dayes :-/ And I shrew hym me fyrst rayse

Caym Caym

Who is that that callis me :- I am yonder may thou not se /

Caym where is thi brother abell

What ask[ys] thou me I trow at hell
At hell I trow he be :-/ Who so were ther then myght he se
Or somwhere fallen on slepyng :-/ When was he in my keppyng /

Caym Caym thou was wode :./ The voyce of thi brother[ys] blode /
That thou has slayn on fals wise :-/ from erth to heuen venyance cryse /
And for thou has broght thi brother downe : here I gif the my malison

Yei dele aboute the for I will none :-/ or take it the when I am gone /
Syn I haue done so mekill syn :-/ that I may not thi m[er]cy wyn /
And thou thus dos mefrom thi grace :-/ I shall hyde me fro thi face /
And where so any man may fynd me :-/ Let hym slo me hardely
And where so any man may me meyte :-/ Ather bi sty or yit bi strete
And hardely when I am dede :-/ bery me in gudeboure at the quarell hede
ffor may I pas this place in quarte :-/ bi all men set I not a fart

Nay caym it bere not so :-/ I will that no man other slo
--------- (far right) [ys] shall [ ] thy bay [ ]
ffor he that stoys yong or old :-/ It shall be punyshid seven fold

No force I wote whed[ys] I shall :- In hell I wote mon be my stall
It is no boyte m[er]cy to craue :-/ ffor if I do I mon none haue
Bot this cors I wold were hid :-
ffor som man myght com at vngayn
fflefals shrew wold he bid
And weyn I had my brother slayn
Bot were pikeharnes my knafe here :-/ We shuld bery hym both in fere
How pykeharnes scape thryft how pikeharnes how

Master master

Harstow boy ther is a podyng in the pot take the that boy tak [the] [that]

I shrew thi ball vnd[er] thi hode :- If thou were my syre of flesh & blode
All the day to ryn and trott :-
And eu[er] amang thou strykeand
Thus am I comen bosett[ys] to sott

Peas man I did it bot to vse my hand
---------- (with bracket) Bot hark boy I haue a counsel & [ ]


[A] Bot now syn thou has teyndid thyne :-/ Now will I let fyr on myne /
We out haro help to blaw :-/ It will not bren for me I traw /
Puf this smoke dos me mych shame :-/ now bren in the dwillys name /
A what dwill of hell is it :-/ Almost had myne breth beyn dit /
Had I blawen oone blast more :-/ I had beyn choked right thore /
It stank like the dwill in hell :-/ that long[er] ther myght I not dwell

Cain this is not worth oone leke :-/ thy tend shuld bren w[ith]outten smeke /

Com kys the dwill right in the ars :-/ for the it brens bot the wars /
I wold that it were in thi throte :-/ ffyr & shefe and ich a sprote /

Cam whi art thou so rebell :-/ Agans thi brother abell /
Thar thou nowther slyte ne chyde :-/ if thou tend right thou gett[ys] thi mede /
And be thou sekir if thou teynd fals :-/ thou bese alowed ther aft[er] als

Whi who is that hob ou[er] the wall : / we who was that that piped so small :/
Com go we hens for [per]els all :/
---------- God is out of hys wit
Com furth abell & let vs weynd
Me thynk that god is not my freynd
---------- on land then will I flyt

A Caym brother that is ill done

No bot go we hens sone
And if I may I shall be :-/ ther as god shall not mee see /

Dere brother I will fayre :-/ on feld ther oure best[ys] ar
To looke if thay be holgh or full

Na na abide we haue a craw to pull
Hark speke w[ith] me or thou go :-/ what wenys thou to skape so /
We na I aght the a fowll dispyte :-/ and now is tyme that I hit qwite /

Brother whi art thou so to me in Ire

We theyf whi brend thi tend so shyre
Ther myne did bot smoked :-/ right as it wold vs both haue choked /

God[ys] will I traw it were :-/ that myn brened so clere /
If thyne smoked [I] am I [not] to wite

We yei that shal thou sore abite
With cheke bon or that I blyn :-/ shal I the & thi life twyn /
So lig down ther and take thi rest :-/ this shall shrewes be chastysed best /

Vemance vemance lord I cry :-/ for I am stayn & not gilty /

Yei ly ther old shrew ly ther ly /
And if any of you thynk I did amys
I shal it amend wars then it is
---------- that all men may it se
Well wars then it is //
---------- right so shall it be
---------- (with bracket) Bot now syn he broght & [ ] [ ]
---------- (bottom right) [c] [n]


Bot harke boy I haue a counsell to the to say
I slogh my brother this same day
I pray the good boy and thou may
---------- to ryn away w[ith] the bayn

We out apon the thefe has thou thi brother slayn

peasse man for god[ys] payn . I saide it for a skaunce

Yey bot for ferde of grevance : here I the forsake
We mon haue a mekill myschaunce :-/ and the bayles vs take

A [sir] cry you m[er]cy seasse // and I shall make you a releasse /

What wilt thou cry my peasse // thrughout this land /

Yey that I gif god avow belife

How will thou do long or thou thrife

Stand vp my good boy belife / and thaym peasse both man & [w]ife /
And who so will do after me :-/ ffull slape of thrift then shal he be /
Bot thou must be my good boy :-/ and cry oyes oyes oy

Browes browes to the boy

I co[m]mannd you in the kyng[ys] nayme

And in my mast[er]s fals Cayme

That no man at thame fynd sawt ne blame

Yey cold rost at my mast[er]s hame

Nowther w[ith] hym nor w[ith] his knafe

What I hope my mast[er] rafe

ffor thay ar trew full many fold

My mast[er] suppys no coyle bot cold

The kyng wryt[ys] you vntill

Yit ete I neu[er] half my fill

The kyng will that thay be safe

Yey a draght of drynke fayne wold I hayfe

At thare awne will let tham wafe

My stomak is redy to receyfe

Loke no man say to theym on nor other

This same is he that slo his brother

Byd eu[er]y man thaym luf and lowt

Yey ill spon west ay comes foule out

Long or thou get thi hoyse and thou go thus aboute
Byd eu[er]y man theym pleasse to pay

Yey gif don thyne hors a wisp of hay

We com downe in twenty dwill way
---------- The dwill I [the] betake /


ffor bot it were abell my brothere :-/ yit knew I neu[er] thi make /

Now old and yong or that ye weynd
The same blissyng withoutten end
---------- All sam then shall ye haue
That god of heuen my mast[er] has giffen
Brawke it well whils that ye liffen
---------- he vowche it full well safe

Com downe yit in [t] the dwill[ys] way
And angre me no more
And take yond plogh I say
And weynd the furth fast before
And I shall if I may
Tech the another lore
I warn the lad for ay
ffro now furth eu[er]more
---------- That thou grene me noght
ffor bi Cod[ys] lyd[ys] if thou do
I shall hang the apon this plo
With this rope lo lad [lo]
---------- By hym that me dere boght
Now fayre well felows all :-/ ffor I must ned[ys] weynd
And to the dwill be thrall :-/ warld w[ith]outten end
Ordand ther is my stall :-/ with satthanas the feynd /
---------- This tyde
Eu[er] ill myght hym befall :-/ that thed[ys] me co[m]mend
ffare well les & fare well more
ffor now and eu[er] more
I will go me to hyde
---------- Explicit Mactacio Abell Secruitur Noe
---------- (middle of the page) m[ ]
---------- c m