Herod the Great

Team Members: Angela Misri, Rhonda Perry, and Paul Viccars.

This play, written by the "Wakefield Master," presents the biblical tale of the murder of all male infants in Bethlehem at Herod's command.


Incipit magnus herodes

Moste myghty mahowne: meng you with myrth
Both of burgh and of towne : by fellys and by fyrth
Both kyng with crowne: and barons of brith
That radly wyll rowne: many greatt grith
----------Shall be happ
Take tenderly intent // what sondys ar sent
Els harmes shall ye hent // And lothes you to lap

Herode the heynd kyng: by grace of mahowne
Of jury sourmontyng : sternly with crowne
On lyfe that ar lyfyng: in towre and in towne
Gracyus you gretyng : comanndys you be bowne
----------At his bydyng
luf hym with lewte // drede hym that doughty
he chargys you be redy// Lowly at his lykyng

What man apon mold : menys hym agane
Tytt teyn shall be told : knyght sqwyere or swayn
Be he never so bold: byes he that bargan
Twelf thowsand fold: more then I sayn
----------May ye trast
he is worthy wonderly // Selcouthly sory
For a boy that is borne her by// Standys he abast

A kyng thay hym call : and that we deny
how shuld it so fall : greatt meruell have I
Therfor overall : Shall I make a cry
That ye busk not to brall : nor lyke not to ly
----------This tyde
Carpys of no kyng // bot herode that lordyng
Or busk to youre beyldyng // youre heedys for to hyde


He is Kyng of Kyngys : Kyndly I Knowe
Chefe lord of lordyngys : chefe leder of law
Ther watys on his wyngys : that bold bost wyll blaw
Greatt dukys downe dyngys: For his greatt aw
----------And hym lowtys
Tuskane and turky // All Inde and Italy
Cecyll and surry // Drede hym and dowtys

From paradyse to padwa : to mownt flascon
From egyp to mantua: Vnto kemp towne
From sarceny to susa: to grece It abowne
Both normondy and norwa: lowtys to his crowne
----------His renowne
Can no tong tell // From heuen vnto hell
Of hym can none spell // Bot his cosyn mahowne

He is the worthyest of all: barnes that are borne
Fre men ar his thrall : full teynfully torne
Begyn he to brall : many men cach skorne
Obey must we all : or els be ye lorne
----------Att onys
Downe dyng of youre knees // All that hym seys
Dysplesyd he beys// And byrkyn many bonys

Here he commys now I cry: that lord I of spake
Fast afore wyll I hy : radly on a rake
And welcom hym worshipfully : laghyng with lake
As he is most worthy : And knele for his sake
----------So low
Downe deruly to fall : as renk most ryall
hayll the worthyest of all / to the must I bow

hayll luf lord lo : thi letters have I layde
I haue done I couth do : and peasse haue I prayd
Mekyll more therto : opynly dysplayd
Bot romoure is rasyd so : that boldly thay brade
----------Emangys thame
Thay carp of a kyng // thay seasse not sich chateryng

Bot I shall tame thare talkyng / And let thame go hang thame

Stynt brodels youre dyn : yei euerychon
I red that ye harkyn : to I be gone


For if I begyn : I breke ilka bone
And pull fro the skyn : the carcas anone
----------yei perde
Sesse all this wonder // and make vs no blonder
For I ryfe you in sonder // Be ye so hardy

peasse both yong and old : at my bydyng I red
For I haue all in wold/: in me standys lyfe and dede
who that is so bold : I brane hym thrugh the hede
Speke not or I haue told : What I will in this stede
----------ye wote nott
All that I will mefe // Styr not bot ye haue lefe
For if ye do I clefe // you small as flesh to pott

My myrthes ar turned to teyn : my mekenes into Ire
And all for oone I weyn : within I fare as fyre
May I se hym with eyn : I shall gyf hym his hyre
Bot I do as I meyn : I were a full lewde syre
----------In wonys
had I that lad in hand // As I am kyng in land
I shuld with this steyll brand // Byrkyn all his bonys

My name spryngs far and nere : the doughtyest of men me call
That euer ran with spere : a lord and kyng ryall
What joy is me to here : A lad to sesse my stall
If I this crowne may bere : that boy shall by for all

----------I anger

I wote not what dewill me alys // Thay teyn me so with talys That by gottys dere nalys / I wyll peasse no langer

What dewill me thynk I brast : For anger and for teyn
I trow thyse kyngys be past : that here with me has beyn
Thay promysed me full fast : or now here to be seyn
For els I shuld haue cast : an othere sleght I weyn

----------I tell you

A boy thay sayd thay soght // with offeryng that thay broght

It mefys my hart right noght To breke his nek in two

Bot be thay past me by : by mahowne in heuen
I shall and that in hy : set all on sex and seuen
Trow ye a kyng as I : will suffre thaym to neuen
Any to haue mastry : bot my self full euen
----------Nay Leyfe


The dewill me hang and draw // If I that losell knaw
Bot I gyf hym a blaw // That lyfe I shall hym reyfe

For parels yit I wold : wyst if thay were gone
And ye therof her told : I pray you say anone
For and thay be so bold : by god that syttys in trone
The payn can not be told : that thay shall haue ilkon

----------For Ire
Sich panys hard neuer man tell // For vgly and for fell
That lucyfere in hell // Thare bonys shall all to tyre

primus Miles
Lord thynk not ill if I : tell you how thay ar past
I kepe not layn truly : Sy_n thay cam by you last
An othere way in hy : thay soght and that full fast

Why and ar thay past me by : we outt for teyn I brast
Fy on the dewill where may I byde // Bot fyght for teyn and alto shyde
Thefys I say ye shuld haue spyde // And told when thay went by
Ye ar knyghtys to trast : nay losels ye ar and thefys
I wote I yelde my gast : so sore my hart it grefys

Secundus Miles
What nede you be abast : ther ar no greatt myschefys
For these maters to guast :

Tercius Miles Why put ye sich reprefys
----------Withoutt cause
Thus shuld ye not thrett vs // Vngaynly to bete vs
Ye shuld not rehett vs // Withoutt othere sawes

Fy losels and lyars : lurdans ilkon
Tratoures and well wars : knafys bot knyghtys none
had ye bene woth youre eres : thus had thay not gone
Gett I those land lepars : I breke ilka bone
----------Fyrst Vengeance
Shall I se on thare bonys // If ye byde in these wonys
I shall dyng you with stonys // yei ditizance doutance

I wote not where I may sytt : for anger and for teyn
We haue not done all yit : if it be as I weyn
Fy dewill now how is it : as long as I haue eyn
I thynk not for to flytt : bot kyng I will be seyn
----------For euer
Bot stand I to quart // I tell you my hart
I shall gar thaym start // Or els trust me neuer


primus Miles
Syr thay went sodanly : or any man wyst
Els had mett we yei perdy : and may ye tryst

Secundus Miles
So bold nor so hardy : agans oure lyst
Was none of that company : durst mete me with fyst
----------For ferd

Tercius Miles
Ill durst thay abyde // Bot ran thame to hyde
Might I thaym haue spyde // I had made thaym a berd

What couth we more do : to saue youre honoure

primus Miles
We were redy therto : and shalbe ilk howre

Now syn it is so : ye shall haue fauoure
Go where ye wyll go : by towne and by towre
----------Goys hens
I haue maters to mell // with my preuey counsell
Clerkys ye bere the bell // ye must me encense
Oone spake in myne eere : A wonderfull talkyng
And sayde a madyn shuld bere : anothere to be kyng
Syrs I pray you inquere : in all wrytyng
In vyrgyll in homere : And all other thyng
----------Bot legende
Sekys poece tayllys // Lefe pystyls and grales
>Mes matyns noght avalys // All these I defende
I pray you tell heyndly : now what ye fynde

primuscon sultus
Truly ser prophecy : It is not blynd
We rode thus by Isay : he shalbe so kynde
That a madyn sothely : which neuer synde
----------Shall hym bere
Virgo concipiet // Natumzpariet
Emanuell is hete // his name forto lere
God is with vs : that is forto say

Secundus consultus
And othere says thus : tryst me ye may
Of bedlem a gracyus : lord shall spray
That of jury myghtyus : kyng shalbe ay
----------Lord myghty
And hym shall honoure // both kyng and emperoure

Why and shuld I to hym cowre // Nay ther thou lyys lyghtly
Fy the dewill the spede // and me bot I drynk onys
This has thou done in dede : to anger me for the nonys


And thou knafe thou thy mede: shall haue by cokys dere bonys
Thou can not half thi crede: outt thefys fro my wonys
----------Fy knafys
Fy dottypols with youre bookys // Go kast thaym in the brookys
With sich wylys and crokys // My wytt away rafys
Hard I neuer sich a crant : that a knafe so sleght
Shuld com lyke a sant : and refe me my right
Nay he shall on slant : I shall kyll hym downe stryght
War I say lett me pant : now thynk I to fyght
----------For anger
My guttys will ouit thryng // Bot I this lad hyng
Withoutt I haue a vengyng // I may lyf no langer
Shuld a carll in a kafe : bot of sone yere age
Thus make me to rafe :

primus consultus
Syr peasse this outrage
A way let ye wafe : all sich langage
Youre worship to safe : is he oght but a page
----------Of a yere
We two shall hym teyn // with oure wyttys betweyn
That if ye do as I meyn // he shall dy on a spere

Secundus consultus
For drede that he reyn : do as we red
Thrug outt bedlem : and ilk othere stede
Make knyghtys ordeyn : and put vnto dede
All knaue chyldren : of two yerys brede
----------And with in
This chyld may ye spyll // Thus at youre awne will

Now thou says here tyll // A right nobyll gyn

If I lyf in land : good lyfe as I hope
This dar I the warand : to make the a pope
O my hart is rysand : now in a glope
For this nobyll tythand : thou shall haue a drope
----------Of my good grace
Markys rentys and powndys // Greatt castels & groundys
Thrugh all foes and sandys // I gyf the the chace
Now wyll I procede : and take veniance
All the flowre of knyghthede : call to legeance
Bewshere I the bed : it may the advance

Lord I shall me spede : and bryng perchaunce
----------To thy syght


Hark knyghtys I you bryng // here now tythyng
Vnto herode kyng // hast with all youre myght
In all the hast that ye may : In armowre full bright
In youre best aray : looke that ye be dight

primus Miles
Why shuld we fray Secundus Miles
this is not all right

Tercius Miles
Syrs withoutten delay : I drede that we fight

----------I pray you
As fast as ye may // com to hym this day

primus Miles
What in oure best aray // Nuncius yei syrs I say you

ijus Miles
Somwhat is in hand : What euer it meyn

iijus Miles
Tarry not for to stand : ther or we haue beyn

Kyng herode all weldand : well be ye seyn
Your knyghtys ar comand : in armoure full sheyn
----------At youre wyll

primus Miles
Hayll dughtyest of all // We ar comen at youre call
For to do what we shall // youre lust to full fyll

Welcom lordyngys I wys : both greatt and small
The cause now is this : that I send for you all
A lad a knafe borne is : that shuld be kyng ryall
Bot I kyll hym and his : I wote I brasst my gall
----------Therfor Syrs
Veniance shall ye take // All for that lad sake
And men I shall you make // Where ye com ay where syrs
To bedlem loke ye go : And all the coste aboute
All knaue chyldren ye slo : and lorde ye shal be stoute
Of yeres of thay be two . and with in of all that route
On lyfe lyefe none of the : that lygys in swedyll clowte
----------I red you
Spare no kyns bloode // lett all ryn on floode
If women wax woode // I warn you syrs to spede you
Hens now go youre way : that ye were there

ijus Miles
I wote we make a fray : bot I wyll go before

iijus Miles
A chynk syrs I say : I mon wholt lyke a bore

primus Miles
Sett me before ay : good enogh for a skore
----------Hayll heyndly
We shall for youre seke make a dulfull lake

Now if ye me well wrake // ye shall find me freyndly

ijus Miles
Go ye now tyll oure noytt : and handyll thaym weyll

iijus Miles
I shall pay thaym on the cote : begyn I to reyll


primus Miles
Hark felose ye dote : yonder comys Vnceyll
I hold here a grote : she lykys me not weyll
----------Be weparte
Dame thynk it not yll // thy knafe if I kyll

prima Mulier
What thefe agans my wyll // lord keep hym in qwarte

primus Miles
Abyde now abyde : no farther thou gose

prima Mulier
Peasse thefe shall I chyde : and make here a nose

primus Miles
I shall reyfe the thy pryde : kyll we these boyse

prima Mulier
Tyd may betyde : kepe will thy nose
----------Fals thefe
Haue on loft on thy hode

primus Miles
What hoore art thou woode

prima Mulier
Outt alas my chyldys bloode
----------Outt for represe
Alas for shame and syn : alas that I was borne
Of wepyng who may wyn : to se hir chylde forlorne
My comforth and my kyn : my son thus alto torne
Veniance for this syn : I cry both euyn and morne

Secundus Miles
----------Well done
Com hedyr thou old stry // that lad of thyne shall dy

Secunda Mulier
Mercy lord I cry // It is myne awne dere son

ijus Miles
No mercy thou mefe : at mendys the not mawd

Secunda Mulier
Then thi skalp shall I clefe : lyst thou be clawd
Lefe lefe now by lefe : Secundus Miles peasse byd I bawd

Secunda Mulier
Fy fy for reprefe : fy full of frawde
----------No man
Haue at thy tabard // harlot and holard
Thou shall not be sparde / I cry and I ban
Outt morder man I say : strang tratoure & thefe
Out alas and waloway : my chyld that was me lefe
My luf my blis blood my play : that neuer dyd man grefe
Alas alas this day : I wold my hart shuld clefe
----------In sonder
Veniance I cry and call // on Herode and his knyghtys all
Veniance lord apon thaym fall // And me kyll warleys wonder

Tercius Miles
This is well wroght gere : that euer may be
Bonys heder ward here : ye nede not to fle

Tercia Mulier
Wyll ye do any dere : to my chyld and me

iijus Miles
he shall dy I the swere : his hart bloode shall thou se

iija Mulier ----------God for bede
Thefe thou shedys my chyldys blood // Out I cry I go nether wood
Alas my hart is all on flood // To se my chyld thus blede


By god thou shall aby : this dede that thou has done

Tercius Miles
I red the not stry : by son and by moyn

iija Mulier
Haue at the I say I : take the ther asoyn
Out on the I cry : haue at thi groyn
----------An othere
This kepe I in store //

Tercius Miles
Peasse now no more

Tercia Mulier
I cry and I rore
----------Out on the mans mordere
Alas my bab myn I unsrent : my fleshly get for sorow
That god me derly sent : of bales who may me borow
Thy body is all to rent : I cry both euen and morow
Veniance for thi blod thus spent : out I cry and horow

primus Miles
----------Go lightly
Gett out of thise wonys // ye trattys all at onys
Or by cokys dere bonys // I make you go wyghtly
Thay ar slayd now I wote : thay will not abyde

Secundus Miles
Lett vs ryn fott hote : now wold I we hyde
And tell of this lott : how we haue betyde

Tercius Miles
Thou can do thi note : that haue I aspyde
----------Go furth now
Tell thou Herode oure tayll // For all oure avayll
I tell you saunce fayll // he wyll vs alow

primus Miles
I am best of you all : and euer has bene
The deuyll haue my saull : bot I be fyrst sene
It syttys me to call : my lord as I wene

ijus Miles
What nedys the to brall : be not so kene
----------In this anger
I shall say thou dyd best // saue my self as I gest

primus Miles
We that is most honest Tercius Miles go tary no langer

primus Miles
Hayll Herode oure kyng : full glad may ye be
Good tythyng we bryng : harkyn now to me
We haue mayde rydyng : thrugh outt I ure
Well wyt ye oone thyng : that morderd haue we
---------Many thowsandys

ijus Miles
I held thaym full hote // I payd them on the cote
Thare damys I wote // Neuer byndys them in bandys

iijus Miles
Had ye sene how I fard : When I cam emang them
There was none that I spard : bot lade on and dang them


I am worthy a rewarde : Where I was emangys them
I stud and I stard : no pyte to hang them
----------had I

Now by myghty mahowne // that is good of: renowne
If I bere this crowne // ye shall haue a lady
Ilkon to hym layd : and wed at his wyll

primus Miles

So haue ye lang sayde : do somwhat thertyll

ijus Miles

And I was neuer flayde : for good ne for yll

iijus Miles
Ye myght hold you well payde : oure lust to fulfyll
----------Thus thynk me
With tresure vntold // If it lyke that ye wold
Both syluer and gold // To gyf vs greatt plente

As I am kyng crownde : I thynk it good right
Ther goys none on grownde : that has sich a wyght
A hundreth thowsand pownde : is good wage for a knyght
Of pe-nys good and rownde : now may ye go light
----------With store
And ye knyghtys of oures // Shall haue castels and towres
Both to you and to youres // For now and euer more

primus Miles
Was neuer none borne : by downes ne by dalys
Nor yit vs beforne : that had sich a valys

ijus Miles
We have castels and corne : mych gold in oure malys

iijus miles
It wyll neuer beworne : Withoutt any talys
----------Hayll heyndly
Hayll lord hayll kyng // We ar furth foundyng


Now mahowne he you bryng // Where he is lord freyndly
Now in peasse may I stand : I thank the mahowne
And gyf of my lande : that longys to my crowne
Draw therfor nerehande : both of burgh and of towne
Markys ilkon a thowsande : When I am bowne
----------Shall ye haue
I shalbe full fayn // To gyf that I fayn
Wate when I com agayn // And then may ye craue
I sett by no good : now my hart is at esse
That I shed so mekyll blode : pes all my ryches
For to se this flode : from the fote to the [nese]
Mefys nothyng my mode : I lagh that I whese
----------A mahowne
So light is my saull // that all of Sugar is my gall
I may do what I shall And bere vp my crowne


I was castyn in care: so frightly afrayd
Bot I thar not dyspare: for low is he layd
That I most dred are: so haue I hym flayd
And els wonder ware: and so many strayd
----------In the strete
That oone shuld be harmeles// and skape away haf les
Where so many chyldes// Thare balys can not bete
A hundreth thowsand I watt/: and fourty ar slayn
And four thowsand ther at: me aght to be fayn
Sich a morder on a flat: shall neuer be agayn
Had I had bot oone bat: at that lurdan
----------So yong
It shuld haue bene spokyn// how I had me wrokyn
Were I dede and rotyn // With many a tong
Thus shall I tech knauys : ensampyll to take
In thare wyttys that ranys: sich mastre to make
All wantones wafys:no langage ye crak
No sufferan you sauys : youre nekkys shall I shak
----------In sonder
No kyng ye on call// Bot on herode the ryall
Or els many oone shall// Apon youre bodys wonder
For if I here It spokyn : when I com agayn
Youre branys bese brokyn : therfor be ye bayn
Nothyng bese vnlokyn : It shalbe so playn
Begyn I to rekyn : I thynk all dysdayn
----------For daunche
Syrs this is my counsell// Bese not to cruell
Bot adew to the deuyll// I can no more franch

Explicit magnus herode