The Chester Cycle PLAY III (3) – Noah’s Flood
THE WATERLEADERS AND DRAWERS OF DEE
The Thirde Pageante of Noyes Fludd
And firste in some high place–or in the clowdes, if it may bee–
God speaketh unto Noe standinge without the arke with all his familye.
001 GOD. I, God, that all this world hath wrought,
002 heaven and yearth, and all of nought,
003 I see my people in deede and thought
004 are sett fowle in sinne.
005 My goost shall not lenge in mone
006 that through flesbe-likinge is my fone
007 but tyll six score yeares be commen and gone
008 to looke if the will blynne.
009 Man that I made will I distroye,
010 beast, worme, and fowle to flye;
011 for on yearth the doe mee noye,
012 the folke that are theron.
013 Hit hammes mec so hurtefullye,
014 the malice that doth now multiplye,
015 that sore it greeves mee inwardlye
016 that ever I made mon.
017 Therfore Noe, my servante free,
018 that righteous man arte as I see,
019 a shippe sonne thou shalt make thee
020 of trees drye and light.
021 Little chambers therin thou make
022 and bindinge sliche alsoe thou take;
023 within and without thou ne slake
024 to annoynte yt through all thy might.
025 Three hundreth cubitts yt shalbee longe
026 and flftye broade to make yt stronge;
027 of height sixtye. The meete thou fonge;
028 thus measure thou hit aboute.
029 One window worke through thy witt;
030 a cubytt of length and breadc make hit.
031 Upon the syde a doore shall shutte,
032 for to corn in and owt.
033 Eatinge-places thou make alsoe
034 three, [rowfed] chambers one or too,
035 for with water I thinke to flowe
036 mone that I can make.
037 Destroyed all they worlde shalbe-
038 save thou, thy wife, thy sonnes three,
039 and theme wyves alsoe with thee-
040 shall fall before thy face.
041 NOE. A, lorde, I thanke thee lowde and still
042 that to mee arte in such will
043 and spares mee and my houshould to spill,
044 as I nowe soothly fynde.
045 Thy byddinge, lorde, I shall fulfill
046 nor never more thee greeve ne gryll,
047 that such grace hatb sente mce tyll
048 amonges all mankynde.
049 Have donne, you men and weomen all.
050 Hye you, leste this water fall,
051 to womche this shippe, chamber and hall,
052 as God hath bydden us doe.
053 SEM. Father, I am allreadye bowne:
054 an axe I have, by my crowne,
055 as shampe as any in all thys towne
056 for to goe therto.
057 CAM. I have an hatchett wonder keene
058 to bytte well, as may bee seene;
059 a better growndc, as I weene,
060 is not in all this towne.
061 JAFETT. And I can well make a pynne
062 and with this hammer knocke yt in.
063 Goe wee womch bowte more dynne,
064 and I am ready bowne.
065 NOES WIFE. And wee shall bringe tymber to,
066 for wee mon nothinge ells doe-
067 women bynne weake to underfoe
068 any great travell.
069 SEMES WYFE. Here is a good hackestocke;
070 one this you may hewe and knocke.
071 Shall none be idle in this flocke,
072 ne nowe may nod man fable.
073 CAMES WIFE. And I will goe gather slytche,
074 the shippe for to clam and pitche.
075 Annoynte yt muste bee with stitche-
076 borde, tree, and pynne.
077 JAFETES WIFE. And I will gather chippes here
078 to make a fyer for you in feare,
079 and for to dighte your dinnere
080 agayne you come in.
Then Noe beginneth to buyld the arke.
081 NOE. Nowe in the name of God I beginne
082 to make the shippe that wee shall in,
083 that wee may be ready for to swyme
084 at the comminge of the fludd.
085 These bordes I pynne here together
086 to beare us safe from the weather,
087 that wee may rowe both hither and thither
088 and safe be from this fludd.
089 Of this tree will I make a maste
090 tyed with gables that will laste,
091 with a scale-yard for eycb baste,
092 and yche thinge in there kynde.
093 With topcastle and bowespreete,
094 bothe cordes and roopes I have all meete
095 to sayle forthe at the nexte weete-
096 this shippe is at an ende.
097 Wife, in this vessell wee shalbe kepte;
098 my children and thou, I would in yee lepte.
099 NOES WIFE. In fayth, Noe, I had as leeve thou slepte.
100 For all thy Frenyshe fare,
101 I will not doe after thy reade.
102 NOE. Good wiffe, do nowe as I thee bydd.
103 NOES WIFFE. By Christe, not or I see more neede,
104 though thou stand all daye and stare.
105 NOE. Lord, that weomen bine crabbed aye,
106 and non are meeke, I dare well saye.
107 That is well seene by mee todaye
108 in witnesse of you eychone.
109 Good wiffe, lett be all this beare
110 that thou makest in this place here,
111 for all the weene that thou arte mastere-
112 and soe thou arte, by sayncte John.
Then Noe with all his familye shall make a signe
as though the wrought upon the shippe with divers instruements.
And after that God shall speake to Noe as followeth:
113 DEUS. Noe, take thou thy meanye
114 and in the shippe hye that yee bee;
115 for non soe righteouse man to mee “
116 ys nowe one yearth livinge.
117 Of deane beastes with thee thoe take
118 vii and vii or then thou slake;
119 hee and shee, make to make,
120 bylyye in that thou bringe;
121 of beastes uncleane ii and ji,
122 male and female, bowt moo;
123 of deane fowles seaven alsoe,
124 the hee and shee together;
125 of fowles uncleane twayne and noe more,
126 as I of beastes sayde before.
127 That man be saved through my lore,
128 agaynst I sende this wedder,
129 of meates that mon be eaten,
130 into the shippe loke the be getten,
131 for that maye bee noe waye forgotten.
132 And doe this all bydeene
133 to sustayne man and beastes therm
134 aye tyll the water cease and blynne.
135 This worlde is filled full of sinne,
136 and that is nowe well seene.
137 Seaven dayes bynne yett cominge;
138 you shall have space them in to bringe.
139 After that, it is my likinge
140 mankynde for to anoye.
141 Fortye dayes and fortye nightes
142 rayne shall fall for there unrightes.
143 And that I have made through myghtes
144 nowe thinke I to distroye.
145 NOE. Lord, at your byddinge I am bayne.
146 Sythen noe other grace will gayne,
147 hyt will I fulfill fayne,
148 for gracyouse I thee fynde.
149 An hundreth winters and twentye
150 this shippe-makinge tarryed have I,
151 if throughe amendemente thy mercye
152 would fall to mankynde.
153 Have donne, yee men and weomen all;
154 bye you lest this water fall,
155 that eyche beaste were in stall
156 and into the shippe broughte.
157 Of cleane beastes seaven shalbe,
158 of uncleane two; thus God bade mee.
159 The flood is nigh, you may well see;
160 therfore tarrye you nought.
Then Noe shall goe into the arke with all his familye,
his wyffe excepte, and the arke muste bee borded rownde aboute.
And one the bordes all the beastes and fowles
hereafter reahemsed muste bee paynted,
that them wordcs may agree with the pictures.
161 SEM. Syr, here are lions, leopardes in;
162 horses, mares, oxen, and swynne,
163 geates, calves, sheepe, and kyne
164 here sytten thou may see.
165 CAM. Camelles, asses, man may fynde,
166 bucke and doe, harte and hynde.
167 All beastes of all manere of kynde
168 here bynne, as thinketh mee.
169 JAFETT. Take here cattes, dogges too,
170 otters and foxes, fullimartes alsoe;
171 hares hoppinge gayle can goe
172 here have colle for to eate.
173 NOES WIFE. And here are beares, wolves sett,
174 apes, owles, maremussett,
175 wesills, squerrells, and fyrrett;
176 here the eaten there meate.
177 SEMES WIFFE. Heare are beastes in this howse;
178 here cattes maken yt crowse;
179 here a rotten, here a mowse
180 that standen nere together.
181 CAMS WYFFE. And here are fowles lease and more-
182 hernes, cranes, and byttoer,
183 swanes, peacockes-and them before
184 meate for this wedder.
185 JAFETTES WYFFE. Here are cockes, kytes, crowes,
186 rookes, ravens, many rowes,
187 duckes, curlewes, whoever knowes,
188 eychone in his kynde.
189 And here are doves, digges, drakes,
190 redshankes monninge through lakes;
191 and eyche fowle that leadenn makes
192 in this shippe man may fynde.
193 NOE. Wyffe, come in. Why standes thou there?
194 Thou arte ever frowarde; that dare I sweare.
195 Come, in Godes name; balfe tyme yt weare,
196 for feame lest that wee drowne.
197 NOES WYFFE. Yea, syr, sett up your seale
198 and rowe forthe with eve!! hayle;
199 for withowten any fayle
200 I will not owt of this towne.
201 But I have my gossips everyechone,
202 one foote further I will not gone.
203 They shall not drowne, by sayncte John,
204 and I may save there life.
205 The loved me full well, by Christe.
206 But thou wilte lett them into thy chiste,
207 elles rowe forthe, Noe, when thy liste
208 and gett thee a newe wyfe.
209 NOE. Scm, sonne, loe thy mother is wraowe;
210 by God, such another I doe not knowe.
211 SEM. Father, I shall fetch her in, I trowe,
212 withowten any fayle.
213 Mother, my father after thee sende
214 and byddes thee into yonder wende.
215 Looke up and see the wynde,
216 for wee benne readye to sayle.
217 NOES WYFFE. Sonne, goe agayne to him and saye
218 I will not come therin todaye.
219 NOE. Come in, wife, in twentye devylles waye,
220 or ells stand there withowte.
221 CAM. Shall we all fetch hir in?
222 NOE. Yea, sonne, in Cbmystcs blessinge and myne,
223 I would yee hyed you betyme
224 for of this fludd I stande in doubte.
225 THE GOOD GOSSIPS. The fludd comes fleetinge in full faste,
226 one everye syde that spredeth full farre.
227 For fere of drowninge I am agaste;
228 good gossippe, lett us drawe nere.
229 And lett us drinke or wee departe,
230 for oftetymes wee have done soe.
231 For at one draught thou drinke a quarte,
232 and soe will I doe or I goe.
233 Here is a pottell full of malnesaye good and stronge;
234 yt will rejoyse both harte and tonge.
235 Though Noe thinke us never soe longe,
236 yett wee wyll drinke atyte.
237 JAPHETT. Mother, wee praye you all together-
238 for we are here, your owne childer-
239 come into the shippe for feare of the wedder,
240 for his love that [you] bought.
241 NOES WYFFE. That will I not for all your call
242 but I have my gosseppes all.
243 SEM. In fayth, mother, yett thow shall,
244 whether thou will or nought.
245 NOE. Welcome, wyffe, into this boote.
246 NOES WYFFE. Have thou that for thy note!
247 NOE. Aha, marye, this ys hotte;
248 yt is good for to be still.
249 Ah, chyldren, meethinke my boote remeeves.
250 Our tarryingc here mee highly greeves.
251 Over the lande the water spreades;
252 God doe hee as hee will.
Then the singe, and Noe shall speake agayne.
253 NOE. Ah, greate God that arte soe good,
254 that worchis not thy will is wood.
255 Now all this world is one a flood,
256 as I see well in sight.
257 This windowe I will shutt anon,
258 and into my chamber I will gonne
259 tyll thys water, soe gmeate one,
260 bee slaked through thy mighte.
Then shall Noe shutt the windowe of the arke,
and for a little space within the bordes bee shalbe scylent;
and afterwarde openinge the windowe and lookinge rownde about sayinge:
261 Lord God in majestye
262 that such grace hast granted mee
263 wher all was borne, salfe to bee!
264 Therfore nowe I am boune-
265 my wyffe, my children, and my menye-
266 with sacryfice to honour thee
267 of beastes, fowles, as thou mayest see,
268 and full devotyon.
269 GOD. Noe, to me thou arte full able
270 and thy sacrafice acceptable;
271 for I have founde thee treeue and stable,
272 one thee nowe muste I myne.
273 Warrye yearth I will noe more
274 for mans sinnes that greeves mee sore;
275 for of youth man full yore
276 hasse bynne enclyned to sinne.
277 Yee shall nowe growe and multiplye,
278 and yearth agayne to edifye.
279 Eache beast and fowle that may flye
280 shalbe feared of you.
281 And fishe in saye, all that may fleete,
282 shall sustayne you, I thee behett;
283 to eate of them yee ne lett
284 that cleane bynne you mon knowe.
285 Thereas yee have eaten before
286 trees and rootes since yee weare bore,
287 of cleane beastes nowe, lesse and more,
288 I give you leave to eate-
289 save blood and fleshe bothe in feare
290 of wrauge dead carryen that is here.
291 Eate yee not of that in noe manere,
292 for that aye yee shall leave.
293 Manslaughter also aye yee shall flee,
294 for that is not playsante unto mee.
295 They that sheden blood, hee or shee,
296 ought-where amongste mankynde,
297 that blood fowle shedd shalbe
298 and vengeance have, men shall see.
299 Therfore beware all yee,
300 you fall not into that synne.
301 And forwarde, Noe, with thee I make
302 and all thy seede for thy sake,
303 of suche vengeance for to slake,
304 for nowe I have my will.
305 Here I behette thee an heeste
306 that man, woman, fowle, ne beaste
307 with water while this worlde shall laste
308 I will noe more spill.
309 My bowe betwene you and mee
310 in the fyrmamente shalbe,
311 by verey tokeninge that you may see
312 that such vengeance shall cease.
313 The man ne woman shall never more
314 be wasted by water as hath before;
315 but for synne that greveth me sore,
316 therfore this vengeance was.
317 Where clowdes in the welkyn bynne,
318 that ylke bowe shalbe seene,
319 in tokeninge that my wrath and teene
320 shall never thus wroken bee.
321 The stringe is torned towardes you
322 and towardes me is bente the bowe,
323 that such wedder shall never showe;
324 and this behett I thee.
325 My blessinge nowe I give thee here,
326 to thee, Noe, my servante deare,
327 for vengeance shall noe more appeare.
328 And now farewell, my darlinge dere.
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Proper Citation: The Moral Comedies. At From Stage to Page – Medieval and Renaissance Drama. NeCastro, Gerard, ed. https://medievalit.com/home/edrama/. Date Visited.