A study of the Middle English Wakefield Cycle plays.

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Title:
A study of the Middle English Wakefield Cycle plays.
Added title page title:
Wakefield Cycle plays
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iv, 164 leaves. : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Meyers, Walter Earl, 1939-
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
English drama -- To 1500   ( lcsh )
Mysteries and miracle-plays, English   ( lcsh )
Bible plays -- History and criticism   ( lcsh )
Passion-plays -- History and criticism   ( lcsh )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography:
Bibliography: leaves 157-164.
General Note:
Manuscript copy.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
By Walter Earl Meyers.

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 000554379
notis - ACX9217
oclc - 13401403
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Full Text











STUDY


THE


MIDDLE


ENGLISH


WAKEFIELD


CYCLE


PLAYS


WALTER EARL MEYERS











A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY











For my wife,

Julia Reed Meyers












ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


wish to thank Professor R


Bowers


who has


guided and


encouraged me from

to the final form of t


the class in which I read my first medieval play


his work.


I also wish to thank Professor


John Algeo and Professor


Wayne


Conner for taking time from their many other duties to serve on my

advisory committee.












CONTENTS


Page
iii


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Chapter
I.

II.


INTRODUCTION


THE OLD TESTAMENT PLAYS


DIABOLICAL


TYPOLOGY


THE NATIVITY


AND CHILDHOOD


PLAYS


THE PASSION PLAYS


RESURRECTION


AND


LAST


JUDGMENT PLAYS.


VII.


SOME CONCLUSIONS.


APPENDIX:


PHARAO


BIBLIOGRAPHY







For what man that is entered in


He nedes moot unto the pl
--The Clerk'


a pley,


ey assente.
s Prologue


/I-TT A n nr mnT"lT T


'.-Jnt


The traditional view


Tivrmr n rvrxT rl mnrYN


P.T i. in : u\i n. ..u u. i L.Ny




of the Middle English cycle plays has been


unenthusiastic:


it has claimed that the cycles cannot be judged


as works


of dramatic art since each cycle


as a whole lacks an overall unifying


structure,


and that the individual plays


are


formless and hopelessly


mixed


in style.


This is the traditional view


, and


probably the most


common one even today


. But a recent movement in criticism


, focusing


attention on particular plays


of the Wakefield


Cycle


, has demonstrated


that some of the plays are well-structured,


in fact,


intricately woven.


This movement began with Homer


Watt's


study,


"The Dramatic


Unity


of the


'Secunda Pastorum'


in 1940.


Watt compared the action of the


Ir'burle squelt


scenes of the Second Shepherd


s' Play with the action of the


Biblically-base d


scenes of the Nativity.


He found a surprising and daring


correspondence of the two episodes,


wherein each plot parallels


other.


It was


not until the last decade,


however,


that his lead was


fol-


lowed


, and other plays


of the Wakefield Cycle were examined in the same


way


When his method was employed,


it was


found


that parallel plots


unify the serious and comic elements in


several pi


ays.


This parallelism







occurs in the Slaying of Abel6


and the Crucifixion.


This study


attempts


to show that parallelism


that the cause of the


of plot is to be expected in the cycle plays,


parallelism is a particular theory of time arising


from the typological method of


exegesis.


Consequently,


if we


are


to look


for the unifying element of the whole cycle,


along the


the search should


lines indicated by typology and its attendant theory


Although critics have ment

study has been done for the


ioned the importance of typology,


Wakefield Cycle.


d proceed

of time.

no such


'I believe that this investi-


nation can overcome the point of view that regards the cycle


plays


fragmented and


primitive.


Once unity has


been demonstrated,


it is hoped


that the cycle will stand forth as the sophisticated work of art which


commanded


the attention of more than two centuries of all ranks of


English society.


The


Wakefield Cycle has


been chosen,


rather than those


of York,


Chester,


or N-Town,


because of two reasons:


first,


it has


been


praised for the excellence of certain individual plays,


plays which by


their very individuality would


seem


to resist attempts


to see


them as


part of a larger whole.


Secondly,


the Wakefield Cycle has been the sub-


ject of numerous studies devoted


to "levels"''


of authorship.


This study


hopes to demonstrate that possible composite


mountable barrier to the consideration


authorship


of a cycle as a


not an insur-


work of art.


We must begin with typology


Typology,


in brief,


is the


system of


Scriptural


exegesis


that


"has its name from the fact that it is based








having its own independent and absolute existence,


but at the same time


intended by God


to prefigure a future person,


thing,


or action,


which


person,


, is the antitype.9


This method of


exegesis


is to be distin-


guished from allegory,


since both type and antitype have a genuine his-


torical existence.


For example,


Abraham


s near-s


sacrifice of his son


saac


is seen


as a prefiguring of Christ'


Passion,


yet the action of


Abraham and Isaac had a real


historical


existence


, wholly independent


of the

pages


Passion.

of Script


It was held that,

re, "the Old Tes


when a type of Christ appeared in the


;tament author himself foresaw this


deeper meaning in his words through


a certain vision,


or theoria, granted


him


God.


Therefore,


the typical


sense


should be considered alon


with the literal sense as


"founded on the words of the inspired author in


the meaning intended by him.


As Charles Donahue


says,


a clear


distinction should be made between the


'existential'


or typological method


of Christian


exe


gesis


and the allegorical method


of Greek


exegesis


is the first that is dominant in the


exe


getical tradition


as expounded by the


best minds.


Typology is also basic to the


Western liturgies.


One example of a


type


is Melchisedec,


King of Salem,


who,


Genesis


14, gave an offering of bread and wine in the presence of Abraham.


Melchisedec as a priest foreshadowed Christ,


the High Priest,


and his


offering of bread and wine was a type of the New Testament use of bread


and wine in the sacrifice of the Mass.


As St.


Paul says,


Melchisedec







people received the Law),


what further need was there that another


priest should rise,


not to be


according to the order of Melchisedec,


according to the order of Aaron


and said


? For when the priesthood


is changed,
he of whom


it is necessary that a change of law


ese


thin


are


made also.


said is from another tribe,


For


from which


no one has ever done service at the altar


SFor


it is evident that our


Lord has sprung out of Juda, and M
priests when referring to this tribe.
there arise another priest, accordir


oses spoke nothing at all about
And it is yet far more evident if
ig to the likeness of Melchisedec,


who has become


so not according to the Law


but according to a life that cannot end.


'Thou art a priest forever,


(Heb.


of carnal commandment


For it is t


testified of him,


according to the order of Melchisedec


11-17)


The tradition of interpreting Melchisedec


as a type of Christ begins in


the Epistle to the Hebrew


group,


continues to the present day.


in the Pagina Quarta de Abrahamo et Melchisede


In the Che


ch et Loth,


elchisedec


comes on stage


"versus Abraham,


offerens Calicem cum


vmno


et panem super patinam.


The Expositor follows with an explana-


tion:


I will


expound apertlie,


that lewed,


standing here


may knowe what this may


This offering,


by,
be.


I saie verament


signifieth the new Testament,


that nov
through


/


is vsed with good intent


eout all Christianitye


an eighteenth-century example,


we may turn to the entry for "Melchi


sedeck"


in Samuel Mather's Fi


gures


or Types of the


Testament,


which Christ and the Heavenly Thin


of the Gospel were


Preached and


Shadowed


to the


People of God


of Old,


and find


Melchizedek w


also a


type of Christ;


and most especially in regard of the


Excellency and


Eter-







Church Fathers read the Old


Testament:


as human history and


as provi-


dental history. The history of typology is contemporaneous with the

history of Christianity, having been used by the earliest Christian


writers.


St. Justin Martyr,


writing about


A.D.,


says,


"The Holy


Spirit sometimes caused something that


was


a type of the future to be


done openly.


Examples of typological interpretation could be multi-


plied,


from every Church Father,


from


every


century.


It is to be found


in St. Clement,


St. Justin,


Irenaeus,


St. Jerome,


St. Augustine,


short


, in almost every Christian commentator of importance.


method had been established by the Fathers,


was


Once the


preserved for the


Middle


Ages:


"Toute interpretation de l'Ecriture


se caracterise


avant


tout par


sens


de la tradition,


et plus


precisement


par une fidelity


- 1


rlgoureuse,


et souvent servile


a 1'exegese


patristique,


ses


principles


ses


methods,


et a ses


conclusions.


Besides the obvious


importance which typology has in the cycle plays,


I would like to


suggest


that typology demands a certain theory of history in regard to events


from the


Bible,


and that this theory of history carries over,


consciously


or unconsciously,


to the writers of the cycle


plays.


The fulfillment of the types was the central event of history,


the life,


sufferings,


and death of Jesus Christ.


Since the foreshadowings and types


in the Old


Testament point to the life of Christ in the New,


this


one-way


direction in the movement of history


leads to the representation of time







Hebrews and I Peter


18 emphasize,


Christ died for our sins once only,


once


for all.


oriented by


The development of history


a unique fact,


is thus governed and


a fact that stands entirely alone.


Consequently,


the destiny of all mankind,


together with the individual destiny


of each


one of us,


are


both likewise played out once,


once for all,


a concrete


and irreplaceable time which is that of history and life.


Yet there are at least two parts of Christian theology that modify


purely


'straight-line''


depiction.


The first factor,


as T. F


Driver points


is the hypostatic nature of J


esus,


at once the Christ,


born into time


and existing within time


as man,


and at the


same


time the Second


Person


of the


Blessed


Trinity,


eternally


existing


outside of time


as God.


This


means that despite its occurrence as an historical event,


"was not an event which was totally new,


the Incarnation


but rather the complete revel-


ation and fulfillment of that which had existed always.


The second modifying factor,


more complex,


is outlined by


Mircea


Eliade


in his


Cosmos


and History.


Eliade


says


that


despite


the basic


teleological nature of Christianity,


there


still survive certain traces of


the ancient doctrine of the periodic


regene ration


of history."19


Foremost


among these traces


is the liturgical


year


of the Church,


commemorating


the life of Jesus:


"personal and cosmic regeneration through reactuali-


nation in concrete of the birth,


death,


and resurrection of the Savior.


What


we have


then


is a straight-line view


of history with certain








human time.


The


"Christian"


time


looks from two


sides


toward the


central point of the Incarnation:


from


the Old


Testament on the one hand


and from


the present moment on the other.


Typology had engendered the


habit of seeing events


as part of a unified whole,


rather than


as discrete


incidents.


It was possible for events in Scripture to foreshadow


events


occurring after New Testament times:


"For of that Church of the Gentiles


which


was


to come,


the woman that had the


issue


of blood was a type:


touched and was not seen;

Augustine continues, sayi


she was not known and yet


.ng that the question of the


was h

Lord--


ealed.


"Who touched


me ?


--was


itself a figure:


"As if not knowing,


He healed her as unknown:


so has He done also to the Gentiles.


We did not


get to


know Him in the


flesh,


we have been made worthy to eat His flesh,


in His flesh.


Again,


and to be members


St. Augustine interprets the incident of the odor


of the ointment filling the house in St. John


12:1-3


as a


figure of the


preaching of the gospel of Christ throughout the world:


"let the name of


Christ be


proclaimed,


with this excellent


savor


let the world be filled.


When Jesus was born,


the event gave meaning to future as well


as past


time.


His birth was at once the fulfillment of the prophecies of the past


and the promise of the future.


The Resurrection


was


as relevant for the


English medieval actor on Corpus Christi day


as it had been for the


apostles in Jerusalem and


as it had been for the


patriarchs and prophets


of the Old Law


confined in Limbo.


In Eliade


s phrasing,


all modalities


]







even the


perception of normal time requires going beyond time,


in a


sense.


In Book XI of the Confessions


says


that the past


exists


only


memory,


the future only


as expectation.


Both past and future,


their


before,


have


their


existence in the


present conception of them in the mind


time


is continuously transcended in the


everyday


perception of


how


much more is the history of humanity--the whole sequence of human time

--transcended by the divine memory and expectation shown in the types.


The viewer of the


pageants


sees


the whole sequence; in


case


he should


miss


the interconnections of the drama


, the v


various types


and themes are


constantly pointed out to him.


Is necessary


at this point to distinguish two kinds of material in the


cycle


plays.


Older studies usually divide a pi


into


'dogmatic"


alistic


parts.


Without trying to define what the authors


of these


var


ious articles meant by their use of the particularly difficult term


realism,


it can readily be seen that the material they refer to


is all


non -Biblical,

received, se:


usually comic,


rious elements.


usually folk material,

This assumption is bc


as opposed to the


orne out by the illustra-


tions critics select to show


realism


: the by-play


of Cain and his boy;


the burlesque of the shepherds in both Shepherds'


Plays; the antics of the


devils in the Last Judgment (all these from the


Wakefield Cycle).


If the


distinction is alon


it that,


the lines of Biblical and non-Biblical,


then let us call


and make the division between sacred and secular material.


For








like the flowering of Joseph's staff would be sacred.


Sacred material is


universal throughout the Church and has some relation to salvation


history.


The secular material,


on the other hand,


is contemporary and


particular.


In one instance,


it may have been part of another tradition--


folk -tale,


perhaps even a survival of


a pagan rite,


but in any


case,


was


originally unconnected with salvation history


as related in Scripture or in


Church tradition.


The need for this division becomes clear when


we examine the


effect


typology and


a "unified" time on the cycle drama.


Critics


are


increas-


ingly recognizing the importance of typology for what


sacred material of the drama.


we


have termed the


It has been seen that the subjects chosen


by the writers from the wealth of available material were apparently


selected


on the basis of the suitability


of their typology.


The dramatists


"did not attempt to cover the whole of the Old


Testament,


but only a few


selected foreshadowings and prophecies


of the central incident,


redemption of mankind on the


cross.


Some may question,


however,


whether typology can profitably,


or even legitimately,


be used to inter-


pret the secular material.


We have seen how the typological habit of


looking at Scriptural events produced a theory of history that tended to


harmonize disparate events.


If time is re-structured in the cycle


plays


to bring secular material in line with Biblical,

patterns in secular as well as sacred history,


showing a repetition of

then typology can be used







anachronism.


When Cain swears


"bi hym that me dere


boght,


"25 the


line reveals not a childish naivete on the part of the Wakefield author,


but hints that this anachronism is being used


purposefully.


The best


example of this


purpose is the Second Shepherds


Play,


the most familiar


of the cycle


plays to the modern reader.


The beginning of the


play immed-


lately


gives


a clue that its setting may not be first-century


Bethlehem:


First Shepherd


enters and laments his oppression


under purveyance and


maintenance,


two contemporary


customs.26


The


Third Shepherd


swears,


"Crystys


crosse


me spede


and sant nycholas


118)


The heavy use


of proverbs in the


"had I wyst"

And men say


play has been noted;


is a thyng


"lyght chepe


for example:


it seruys of noght;


letherly for yeldys.


171)


I were eten outt of howse


of harbar; (1. 245)


so long
At last


goys


the pott


to the


water,


men


says,


Comys it home broken.


(11. 317-319)


In the unlikely instance that a man wholly unfamiliar with


the cycle plays


of medieval England or the gospel stories themselves had attended the


play to this point,


he would have seen nothing and heard nothing that would


lead him to believe that the


pageant was set elsewhere than the England


he knew.


The local allusions,


well-known from their part in determining


the connection of this cycle with the town of Wakefield,


may be mentioned


here.


Searching for his lost sheep,


the First Shepherd


says,


"I haue








The Shepherds had


earlier parted,


agreeing to meet


"At the crokyd


thorne" (1.

iliar oaths,


403),


again a reference to a place near Horbury.28


the familiar sayings,


the familiar places,


The fam-


and their frequent


repetition effectively produce the impression that the play is taking place


in fifteenth-century

Second Shepherds'


England.


Play,


This impression


but occurs more or


is not confined to the


less regularly in the various


plays of the cycle.


Yet in a few minutes after they are searching "horbery


shrogys,


" the shepherds are worshipping the Christ Child.


The bonds


which channel human time in a straight line from the Fall to the Last


Judgment


are


broken here,


and the whole of history is compressed and


particularized


to a certain day in June


makes little difference whether we


say


in a small town south of York.


that the Biblical material is fitted


into the contemporary or that


"the


scenes


which render everyday


contem-


porary


. are


fitted into


a Biblical and world-historical


frame.


What matters is that the two are


seen as


one,


that there


unity of Biblical and


contemporary material,


and that


"the spirit of the


frame


which encompasses them is the spirit of the figural interpretation


of history."29


(As we have been using the term,


ymous with Auerbach s

Most modern critics


figuraj

agree


U'


typological'


is synon-


in the above citation.)


that the anachronisms achieve relevance


by negating


a strict historical sequence.


Arnold Williams


says,


"educated men in the Middle Ages were not so ill-informed


as to think







to dress the


great


mysteries and the


great stories of religion in a garb


familiar to their audience.


asJ. D


Hurrell


says


"the


acceptance


of the idea that behind apparent different


ces


of time


and place there


pattern of God-given unity,


or that the


separate


phenomena which we


call


historical events or


graphical locations are in no real (i.e.,


spiritual)


sense isolated from each other,


makes it possible for the dramatist to


mold an artistic form


out of what is usually


called his use of anachron


ism.


Once


given the typological


way


of looking at history,


the usual


barriers of time become


meaningless,


and from this view


of history


flows the idea that all


ages


are


spiritually


contemporary.


ere


is no


need then for a strict historical separation of the


accidents


of human


existence:


habits of speech,


dress,


These


are


elements which


are


not essential and can be changed at the discretion of the


playwright.


Now we


hav e


an answer to the question posed


byH.


H. Schless:


rocessus


Nioe


and the


Secund


Pastorum


are


constructed on surprisingly


similar pattern


In both,


Biblical material,


beautifully transposed,


furnishes the main


plot and


the main themes;


in both,


folkloric material,


artfully integrated


provides the comic


elements and


a descant upon the


main themes.


.Why


Wakefield Masterj


merged these two


seem-


ingly disparate levels is probably


a question


to which he himself could


not have


given any


single answer--if he could h


ave


given any answer at


can attempt an answer by using the


typological method







first.


Applying the method


to the secular material,


though perhaps


new


for the medieval drama,


Erich Auerbach notes


"At a


was not unheard of in


very early date


other


profane and


genres.


pagan material


was


also interpreted figurally;


.In the high Middle


Ages,


the Sybils,


Virgil,


the characters of the Aeneid,


and even those of the


Breton legend


cycle


(e.g.,


Galahad in the


quest


for the Holy Grail) were drawn into the


figural interpretation.


The figural,


or typological approach has the


whole


range


of human existence from which to draw its exemplars.


method had its historical origins in the


interpretation of Scripture,


to be


sure,


but it implies the essential unity


every human action,


good or


bad.


The unity is easily seen in the


case


of the individual:


a man will be


like Abel,

man. Wh


or like Cain; he will dwell in the City


atever his actions,


they will connect him,


of God,


or the city of


through the Scriptural


types,


to Christ or to Antichrist.


and Christians,


The types are not confined to Hebrews


since even pagans can be prophets


of the Messiah:


Dies Irae,
Solvet sae


dies


clum in favilla


Teste David cum Sybilla.


Explaining the inclusion of a pagan as Dante's guide,


"Thus


Auerbach says,


Virgil in the Divine Comedy is the historical Virgil himself,


then again he is not; for the historical Virgil


is only


a figure of the ful-


filled truth that the poem reveals,


and this fulfillment is more real,


more


significant than the figure.


With Dante,


unlike modern poets,


the more








do we have if w


apply this to our example of the Second Shepherds


Play


We can


that the shepherds,


Coil,


Gyb,


and Daw


, are


medi-


val English shepherds,


then again they


are


They are


types of


the shepherds at the


birth of Christ.


It may


seem


parade


oxical to


that


they are


their own fulfillment,


but this is the


case


have already


noted their successive existen


at two points in time:


one in medie


England,


one in first-century


Bethlehem.


In their character


as English


men of the Middle


Ages,


they are types which point backward in time


that


event which


gives


their


English


existence its


real significance.


And


if we


can


this about their persons


, why can w


say


it about their


actions


Using typological methods in this


way


approaches the often


noted


correspondence of


sacred and secular material in this play (which


we earlier called


plot parallelism)


from


yet another direction,


confirms that connection between the plots.


In this light,


it is irrele


vant


whether


, as John Speirs su


ggests


, the sheep which


they find


in the


cradle


a remnant of a pagan rite of a horned god


material had been used before in other


genres


or not36


- -pagan


and may be the raw m


ater-


ial of this artistic creation.


What does matter is that this first


"incarn


tion


is a foreshadowing of the second,


real Incarnation which


the three


shepherds are to witness later


.The


"child"


in the first scene is


a lamb


in the


latter scene,


the child


is the Lamb of God.


This


"typological" time


s a mode of looking at history in which








of Christ and Coll,


Gyb,


and Daw


are shepherds.


The habit of


perceiving


history as


an arrangement of patterns


, as ha


been pointed out,


was


acquired from the interpretation of providential history in the Scriptures.


This


habit


is carried over into secular history.


The mystery plays,


containing much of both sacred and secular material,


are


therefore


highly


likely place to


suspect that this method will be operating on


literary


level,


tying together a multitude of "historical"


personages


incidents.


In fact


it would be


more


remarkable if we


did not


see


such


unification in


ide;C plays.


The


science of typology


the root from which this mode of looking


at history branches. The effect which typology produces in the plays has

never been fully outlined, yet even if the types in the plays had been fully


discussed


ose


type


are


not the


same


thing


as the unification of time


which we find there.


over hundreds of


Typol


years,


itself


the science a


produces the habit of


seeing


a whole,


events


operating


as part of


non-linear pattern.


The types to be found in the plays ar


attitude was widespread and well


proof that the


known at the time when the drama


was


being composed,


but are not themselves the cause of the


"unified"


time


we find there.


An analogy may help to illustrate the point:


Latin gram-


mars


had been in existence for


English grammar


appeared.


late sixteenth and early


sev


a millennium and


a half before


It is not at all surprising,


enteenth centuries,


where


the first

. in the


English grammars


began








language


in general which had become habitual from looking at a partic-


ular


language,


Latin.


If we call grammars of English based on this


Latin organization


"traditional,


we shall find that tradition persisting


until well into the nineteenth century.


Yet it was not the


publication of


Latin grammars in the nineteenth century that caused English grammars


to be organized in this way; it was the habit of


centuries of Latin gram-


mars.


Similarly,


the individual types actually used in the cycle dramas did


not produce the theory of unified time found there:


rather,


all of typology,


the work of St. Augustine,


Irenaeus,


St. Justin Martyr,


etc.,


produced


both the theory


of time found in the


plays and


the elements of typology in


the plays.


I believe the


point is worth this elaboration because the unifi-


cation of the


plays is achieved


through what may be called


a typological


outlook,


rather than through the


rigid application of the particular types.


Types indeed have a major part in tying the plays together,


but they


extend


primarily to the sacred material found there.


The typological


outlook,


seeing history


as the repetition of


patterns,


brings together the


secular material and unites it with the sacred.


Supposing,


then,


that there


unified view


of time in the plays,


how would it be shown ? The first evidence of it ought to be a radical

restructuring of time itself. In the definition of restructuring of time


should be


included all attempts to bring the past or future into the present,








The second


evidence of


a different view of time


is parallel structure,


in any of


several planes.


Through the breakdown of what modern man


would


think of as


the immutable sequence of time,


events,


at whatever


time they occur,


become contemporaneous.


Parallel structure


the most


noticeable


indicator of this contemporaneity,


operates


in sever


ways.


There


, for example,


a literary


y parallelism,


expressed in echoes of


the liturgy.


When Cain ends his role with


wardd withoutten end,


Iffor now


and euer more,


" he


is strictly translating the liturgical prayer


ending per omnia saecula saeculorum


(Wakefield,


Mactacio Abel,


11. 465,


472).


It is


as if there were


a correspondence between the sacred


secular


ence


elements in the


society of medieval England.


has been more fully outlined in other


arts-


This correspond-


-architecture or music


"the custom of writing vernacular words to well-known liturgical pieces


is widespread,


its best known example in English being the


lovely


Singe


uclu.


The Middle


Ages


saw


nothing unseemly in borrowing church


music for profane


son


, even drinking and love


songs.


The paral-


lelism exists here between two contemporaneous parts of the same

culture. The situations celebrated in the medieval English love son


were


seen


as somehow


like


the situation described in their hymns.


Besides thi


literary parallelism,


there


can be


a parallelism of


action


as we have


seen in connection with Secunda Pastorum.


Consider-


ation of this


point leads us into the question of anachronism,


since the








spotted,


their ease of discovery has been equated with artistic simplicity


some


critics.


But they


are


more complex in their arrangement than


been generally realized.


The first kind of anachronism implies that


the English audience


is bein


g taken into the time sequence of the play.


The most common occurrence of this kind is


the direct addr


ess


to the


audience,


which,


as J.


Robinson


notes


is "the


supreme


anachronism


a kind of drama that


ses


speaks


is regularly anachronistic.


to the audience at the beginning of the


Again,


Prophets


when


Play in


the words,


"All


ye folk of israeli,


/ herkyn to m


(Wakefield,


Pro


ces-


Prophetarum,


11. 1-2),


the crowd watching the


play is


even


more


tightly drawn into the action.


Being


addressed


as Israelites,


the crowd


is placed in the relation of


antitype to the type of the original Israelites.


The circle


Exodus


correspondence ar


set up between


, and the Englishmen of Wakefield,


cutting


the Hebrews


across


of the


the bonds of


time.


If we have


had the audience brought into the world


of the


play by


means


one kind


of anachronism,


the other br


wings


characters


the play into the world of the audience


by means of homely native


char


acterization


, local allusions,


proverbs,


Instead of making the


attending farmer into an actor,


this second kind of anachronism cloaks


the actor in the farmer


s garb.


Thus


, the


shepherds watching their


flocks by night" become Coll,


Gyb,


and Daw.


SUs







typology;


drastic changes in the structure of time;


parallelism in lan


guage


or action; and, finally,


deliberate use of anachronism.


Besides merely


pointing out all these devices,


an attempt will be made to


assess


their


effect on the cycle as a whole.












NOTES TO CHAPTER I


1See,


for example,


Hardin Craig,


English Religious Drama of the


Middle
5th ed.


Ages
(New


In Es


(Oxford,
York, 1


says


1955),


or Allardyce Nicoll,


British Drama,


963),


and Studies in Honor of Carleton Brown,


ed. Percy W.


Long (New


York,


1940).


Howard H.


Schless,


"The Comic Element in the


Wakefield Noah,


in Studies in Medieval Literature


Leach


(Philadelphia,


1961),


in Honor of


and Alan H. Nelson,


C. Baugh,
"'Sacred'


ed. MacEdward


'Secular'


Currents in the


Towneley


Play


of Noah,


Drama


Survey,


III (Feb


., 1964),


393-401.


4Martin Stevens,


"The Dramatic


Setting of the


Wakefield Annuncia-


tion,


PMLA,


LXXXI


(1966),


193-198.


5Margery


Morgan,


"'High Fraud':


Paradox and Double-Plot in


the English Shepherds'


Plays,


Speculum


XXXI X.


(1964)


676-689.


6Jerome


Taylor,


"The


Dramatic Structure of the Middle English


Corpus Christi,
Slote (Lincoln,


or Cyc


Nebraska,


Plays,
1964).


in Literature and Society,


ed. Bernice


7Charles T. Samuels,


"The Dramatic Rhythm of the


Wakefield


Crucifixion,


College English,


X(XII


1961)


-344.


8A. J


Maas,


IExegesis,


Catholic Encyclopedia,


(1913).


9A. J.


Maas,


"Types in Scripture,


" Catholic Encyclopedia,


XV (1913).


10Loui


Hartmann,


"St. Jerome as an Exegete,


in A Monument


to Saint Jerome,


ed. Francis


X. Murphy (New


York


, 1952),


11Charles Donahue,


"Patristic Exegesis in the Criticism


of Medieval


Literature:


Summation,


in Critical Approaches to


Medieval Literature,


flrvrn+1-n~R ftl 0 11 '11 'fl(' nx V nt


1 an


nrl


V nrL








will be cited as


"Chester


13Chester


Pagina Quarta,


11. 114-120.


142nd


ed. (London,


1705),


15Dialogue with


Saint


Justin Martyr,


Trypho,
Fathers


trans.,


Thomas


B. Falls,


of the Church Series,


Vol.


in Writings of


VI (New


York,


1948),


CIV.


is p.


age


Paris


. Spicq,
, 1944),


Esquisse


d'une histoire


de l'exe


gese


latine au moyen


1 7Henri-Charles


Peuch,


"La


Gnose


et le temps,


" Erano


s-Jahrbuch,


XX (Zurich,


1951)


cited in Mircea Eliade,


osmos


and History,


trans .


Willard R.


Trask (New


York,


1959),


143.


18Tom F


Driver


, The


Sense


of History in Greek and Shakespearean


Drama (New


York,


1960),


1 9Eliade,


osmos


and History


130.


20Ibid


"Homily


XIXXI


on St. John'


Gospel,


in Nic


ene


and Post-Nicene


Fathers of the Christian Church


ed. Philip


aff (1


888)


SVII,


2 "Homily


L on St. John's Gospel,


S chaff,


VII,


280-281.


Series,


onfes
Vol.


sions,


XX'


trans.


(New


Vernon J.


York,


1953),


Bourke


Fathers of the Church


xviii,


24Arnold Williams,


The Drama of Medieval England


(East Lansing,


Michigan,


961),


112.


25Geor


EETS


England and


ES 71 (London,


Alfred W.


1897),


Mactac


Pollard
io Abel,


, eds.,


The


114. All


Towneley


Plays,


citations from


the Wakefield Cycle are from this text,


incorporating the corrections


suggested


in the following articles:


Edward Murray Clark,


"A Restored


Reading in the
P. E. Dustoor,


MLR,


XX'


Towneley
"Some T


1926),


Purification Play,
extual Notes on the


427-431


ley Old Testament Plays,


P. E. Dustoor


" Englische Studien, L


' MLN, LVI (19'
English Mystery


41),


Plays,


"Textual Notes on the


XIII (1929),


220-228


-- IT


Towne-


S
.- .







on Examination of the


Towneley


Manuscript,


'I Q


XIV


935),


-306.


For consistency in short citations from the


plays,


the various cycles


are


referred
example,


to by the name of the


town in which the


quotations from the above edition are her


ere


performed.


after cited


For


as "Wake


field,


and the other cycles will be cited as


only innovation with this


practice


"York"


is quotation from


"Chester


the Ludus Coventriae


Cycle,


whichS


after the first full reference,


will be noted


"N-Town.


26Wakefield,


Secunda Pastorum,


Line r


reference


from


Wakefield


Cycle will be included in


the text for the re


st of this


study


A. C. Cawley,


The Wakefi


eld Pageants in the


Towneley Cycle


(Mane


hester,


1958),


, note


to 1.


455.


Cawley,


note to 1.


403.


29Erich Auerbach


Mimesis


, trans.


Will


ard R.


ras


k (New


York,


953)


, p.


136.


30Williams


, Drama,


123.


"The Figural Approach to Medieval Drama,


Colle


English,


XX;VI


(1965),


Schless,


"The Comic Element


Erich Auerbac


"Figura,


in S


cenes


rom


the Dr


ama of European


Literatur


trans.


Ralph Manheim (New


York


, 1959),


4Auerbach,


"Figura,


63-64.


5 Ibid.,


ot'rTh


ystery Cy


Some


Town


eley


Plays,


Scrutiny


XVIII:


(Autumn,


1951),


110.


37Williams,


Drama,


note.


38"The Late


Medieval Cult of Jesus and the Mystery


Plays


PMLA,


LXXX


(1965),


512.












CHAPTER II


When we turn to the Old


: THE OLD TESTAMENT


Testament plays of the


PLAYS


Wakefield Cycle,


evidences


of typology


are not immediately


apparent.


In the Creation play


of course,


the only type of Christ to appear is Adam.


This follows the


tradition begun by St.


Paul:


"death reigned from Adam


until


Moses


even


over those who did not sin after the


likeness of the


transgression


Adam,


who


a figure


of him who was


to come"


(Rom.


5:14).


Unfortu-


nately,


the MS


pages


contain g the


account


of the fall of man have been


lost,


we cannot know if the connection was


of Lucifer,


we shall have more to


overtly made.


in a later chapter.


Of the fall


Although


typology itself is absent,

the typological habit is pr

ordinary structure of tim<


the restructuring of time which


is produced by


From the very beginning of the play


is altered to the dramatist's purposes.


God


begins His work:


At the begynnyng
make we heuen &


of oure dede
erth, on brede,


and lyghtys


fayre


to se,


ffor it is good to be
darkness from light


we parte on two,


In tyme to serue and be.


Darkn es


we call the nyght,


and lith also the bright,


ti







The first day of Creation thus


passes in only twelve lines.


The conden-


station of time produced here is repeated for each of the days


of Creation,


up to the fifth.


Each day passes in only


one or two stanzas.


The effect


evoked


is one of cosmic labors done with great rapidity.


The first part


of the


play


of Creation


is therefore


filled with turbulence and motion


appropriate to its macrocosmic


events


. In


less


than sixty lin


Lucifer


rebels and he and his cohorts fall.


scene changes to Earth,


and the quiet of Eden is substituted for


the clamor of the falling


angels.


God


speaks


again,


creating the


fowl,


fish,


and finally,


Adam and Eve,


with the


same


omnipotent


swift-


ness.


God char


an angel to conduct them


to the Garden,


where Adam


and Eve


are


sternly reminded


of their duties to God.


At the


play'


end,


Lucifer is lamenting his fall,


and resolves


to get man out of Paradise.


we have said,


the play br


eaks


off at this


point,


twelve


eaves


being


missing from


the MS


This loss represents the most important gap in


our understanding of the cycle.


The fall of man


is a cardinal point in


the system of providential history


and its loss depr


ives


us of a clear


indication of the major themes of the cycle


. Some of these themes may be


more or


less laboriously reconstructed; others


remain like the


stones of


a ruined church--there


structure once existed,


are enough of them


but too few to enable us to


to point to the fact that a


what it looked like.


The themes of the fall of man which we can safely


conjecture


will be di







swift occurrence of events of archetypal importance:


is left of the play is only 267 lines,


the whole of what


encompassing the Creation of the


universe and man,


the rebellion and fall of Lucifer,


the injunction given


to Adam against eating the fruit of the tree,


and Lucifer's determination


to tempt man.


In view of the pace at which all this happens,


perhaps a


note of one of the EETS editors may be in error and need correction.


After


Lucife r


seats


himself on God's throne,


says,


Syn I my self am so bright


therfor will I take a


flyght.


(Tunc exibunt demons clamando


Alas,


, & dicit primus)


and wele-wo!


lucifer,


Pollard footnotes


whi fell thou so


Lucifer's last line with:


? (11.


130-133)


"A scribe has mistaken Luci-


fer's boastful flight for his fall.


One or more stanzas containing either


a speech of Deus (cp.


Chester and Coventry


Plays)


or the exclamations


of the devils


as they fall (cp.


York Plays)


must have been omitted.


Apparently there is no reason in the MS to believe that an inadvertent


omission has occurred.


Instead,


the combination of Lucifer's flight,


immediate fall ('symbolized by the rush of demons from Hell-mouth)


may


well have


been deliberate artistry.


If stanzas were


omitted here,


resulting condensation would be in keeping with the many condensations

throughout the cycle.


Due to the missing ending of the Creation play,


the transition between


Plays I and II is abrupt.3


But in Mactacio Abel,


we have the beginnings







Abel


is a type of Christ,


the interpretation of him as such begins


in the


New Testament.


In the


Wakefield play,


as in Genesis,


the murder


of Abel calls for vengeance:


"the voice of your brother's blood


cries


me from


the ground


(Genesis


Christ himself referred to the


judgment coming on the


Phar


isee


because of '


all the


just blood that has


been shed


on the earth,


from the blood


of Abel


(Matt


23:3


Thus the


murder of Abel


is a type of the death of the Just One,


as St. Paul


says,


and to Jesus


, mediator of


a new


covenant,


and to


a sprinkling of blood


which speaks better than Abel'


(Heb.


2:24)


. Unknowingly


Abel'


sacr


fice w


of himself,


as Christ


s was,


knowingly.


Cain


, on the other hand,


suffers


from pride,


the same sin


as Lucifer.


From his actions in the


play,


we might think Cain'


problem is


not pride,


but St.


Augustine interprets this p


passage


as th


failing of


prid


he enumerates the w


in which a sacrifice may be displeasing to God:


"An offering can be made in


a place where


it should not be offered;


or of


a victim


which should be offered


one


time


rather than at another;


or an


offering can be


any time;


made that simply


or there can be one


should not be offered


in which


anywhere or at


a man keeps for himself what


choicer than what is offered to God;


114 th


last is Cain


s sin:


Cayn.


ffor


I will chose and best haue.


196)


ffor


I will not deyle my


good aw


213)


Abell.


Caym,


thou tendis


wrang,


and of the warst


224)


C avn








possession that


was


his,


he kept himself for himself."


Again,


cause


of this


is pride:


"Now,


once Cain knew that God had welcomed the


sac-


rifice of his


chan


brother but had not regard for his,


in himself in order to imitate his brother


he should have made

. but what he did was


yield to pride and emulation.


Abel,


though,


rec


ognizes his obligation


to God


as His servant:


God


I pray


that shope


to the


both


thou here


erth and heuen,


steven


And


take in thank,


if thi will be,


the tend that I


offre here to the;


ffor


to the,


I gif it in good


lord,


entent


that all has sent.


I bren it no


with stedfast thought,


In worship of hym that all has wrought.


(Mact


ac o0


Abel,


174-181)


primary contrast in the play is between Cain and Abel,


but the play


come to be understood


as based on


a series


of contrasts.


John Gardner finds a whole set of ironies centering on the


relation-


ships found in feudal


society


. He details the


play


s attention to


Cain


relationship to his team,


his servant,


his brother,


ents


church and state,


and,


finally,


to God and the devil.


John E.


Bernbrock,


basin


g his study and interpretation of the


play on


St. Ambrose'


Cain


et Abel,


finds essentially the


same


thing.


He also


sees


"tumultous


scene


of frustrated cursing and scuffling as


Cain belabors


first


his balky


plow


-animals and then his fractious servant


a sharp


contrast to the


easeful and


orderly Eden.







a theory of time which interprets history in this manner)


helps to clear


up previous misunderstandings of the play.


Even Homer Watt,


the man


who first outlined the unity


of the Second Shepherds


Play


, held that


"Cain


s boy in the


Towneley play


of the


Killing of Abel is an obvious


intruder


Watt was led to this conclusion by the older theory that held


that


"the authors


were torn between a responsibility to reproduce the


Biblical originals and


a desire to entertain the audience by odd


items of


bickering


g among characters,


monologue acts,


and occasional


slapstick


stuff wedged into the play t

to the main Biblical action.


o provide entertainment but totally unrelated


This commonly met rationale of the comic


ts of the cycle has two assumptions:


first,


that religious material


could not be entertaining


and needed the


insertion of


"odd items,


second,


that these


"odd items


were pure entertainment,


incapable of


taking part in the didactic purpose of the


cle a


a whole.


Neither


assumption is justified,


especially the


second one,


as an examination


of the


role of Garcio shows.


Far from being an intruder,


Garcio'


job,


as it were


, is to provide a servant for Cain to balance out a relationship:


as Cain acts


toward God


, so does Garcio treat Cain.


Cain's character


as a thief


is clear from his


sacrifice


it should be noted


that Garcio'


name


Pikeharnes


means


"thief."9


The interplay between Cain and


Garcio in lines 45


to 49


shows


this:


Garcio.


are


uand


, for thi,


I lay behind thare ars,


And tves them fast bi th


e neKis.








Cawley's note to line 45


reads:


"Garcio's reason for keeping the animals


short of food seems to be to immobilize them and so give himself less to


If the exact meaning of Garcio's action is not clear,


the main intent


is to defraud Cain of his


services,


as Cain defrauds God.


This revelation


most likely draws


a blow from Cain:


"Your false cheeks shall pay for


that,


which is immediately returned by Garcio:


"And haue


agane as


right.


" The master disobedient to God


can only


expect disobedience from


his servants.


Consequently,


disobedience


is what Cain gets.


In contrast


to this is the Old Testament figure giving instant and complete obedience


to God--Abraham.


His actions toward


God are also mirrored in his


servants


actions toward him.


When,


in the


play of Abraham,


says,


two here with this


asse


abide,


their answers are:


primus puer.


sir,


ow not to


be denied:


we ar redy you're bydyng to fulfill.
secundus puer. What so euer to vs betide


to do you're bidyng


ay we


will.


149-152)


Garcio


irreverence to his master,


Abraham's servants,


so much in contrast to the attitude of


only reflects Cain's irreverence to God.


One final


contrast should prove the point:


let us compare the ways in which God and


Cain each treat


a misbehaving servant.


Though Cain


is guilty


of the wan-


ton murder of his brother,


God forbids anyone to kill him.


Cain's warning


to Garcio is entirely different:


I warn the lad
ffro now fourth


, euermore,


mrr~ 1*


---







The central incident of Mactacio


Abel,


course,


is Cain


s murder


of Abel; this strife between brothers


is paralleled in another section of


the cycle,


Play


Isaac


. Esau,


hearing


of Jacob


s deceit


, says:


Now,
May


alas


, and wal


o-way


I with that tratoure mete


my f


aders


days


shall corn with


And my moders also;


may I hym m


This threat provides the susp


I shall hym slo.


ease


36 -40)


leading up to the climax of Play


E l.C Ob


, where


, unlike Cain,


the other elder brother


, Esau


accepts


will of

cause


God,

to be


and is

angere


reconciled with Jacob.


d at Jacob,


Esau,


but his humilit


unlike Cain,


allows


him to forget his


hatred for his


brother:


se that


I and he ar f:


And frenship here


will


rend,
we fulfill,


n that it


odis will.


To summarize the structure of Mactacio


Abel,


we may


say that it


built on parallelisms which operate on


sever


al planes.


There


are the


contrasts which reach outside of the play,


comparing the relationship


of brother with brother


, as in Jacob,


and the relationship


master and


servant,


contrasted in Abraham.


master-serv


ant relation


is "doubled"


in the


play,


also.


Garcio,


far from being an intruder for comic purposes,


fills out the


proportion which compares the relation of God and Cain to


that of Cain and Garcio.


This proportion


points up the ungratefuln


ess


Cain,


and the relationship with his brother emphasizes his pride.







scale


of disorder will appear again in the relationship of Noah and his


wife,


Mak and Gill of Secunda Pastorum,


to be finally


constrasted with


the ideal behavior of Mary toward Joseph.


move


then to the third


play of the cycle,


the Processus


Noe


cum


filiis.


Again,


typology has dictated the choice of subject matter.


Noah


and the flood were interpreted by


esus


as a figure of the Second


Coming:


"And as it


was


in the days of Noe,


even so will be the coming of the Son


of Man.


For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking,


marrying and giving in marriage,


until the day when Noe entered


the ark,


they did not understand until the flood


came and swept them all away;


even so will be the coming of the Son of Man"


(Matt. 24:37


-39).


It is from


the Noah play that we


are


able,


as much as possible,


reconstruct the


lost play


of the fall of man,


and therefore the Noah play


will be handled at some length.


opening speech


The first thing to be noted is that Noah


is a history of the world from the Creation to his time.


This immediately raises a problem in terminology


as well as chronology.


The ostensible motion of time in the cycle


plays


is linear,


from the Cre-


ation to the Last Judgment.


But the view


of events


as past or future


differs according to the standpoint of each character.


Take the


Incarna-


tion,


for example.


In the future for Noah,


it is in the


past for the souls


rescued in the Harrowing of Hell.


of discussion,


To clarify this situation for purposes


two themes must be recognized in the cycle plays:








promise of such action in the future,


or prophecy.


Returning to the play


with providential history,


thing to notice


we see


that Noah's first speech is concerned


from the Creation to his day.


The important


is that each theme and event emphasized in the


play of


Creation finds its way into the speech of Noah.


Nothing is left out and


nothing is added.


He begins in the first and second lines by


stating the


power of God and the


Trinity of His nature.


This is exactly the


theme


of the


initial stanza of the Creation


play.


God,


says


Noah,


is "maker of


all that


; in the Creation play,


Deus


, "All maner thyng


in my


thought,


/ Withoutten me other may be noght"


-14).


point-for-


point correspondence continues.


Noah retells the story of the first five


days


of Creation


, speaking of the angels


Of all angels in brightness
God gaf lucifer most lightnes,


Yit prowdly he


flyt his des,


And set hym euen hym by.


-18)


Lines 67


to 72 of the Creation play


likewise


stress


Lucif


s glory.


Lucifer


s sin


, as Noah


says,


was to think of himself


not as a creature,


but as equal to God; the metaphor employed in both plays concerns sitting


on a throne.


Noah


s exac


t words are:


He thought himself


as worth


hym


that hym made,


/ In brightness,


in bewty;


which is practically a


quotation from the


play of the


CrcY


action where


Lucifer says,


Say,


felow


how


semys now me


To sit in seyte


of trynyte


7 aw. r,,~1,- nn~h. A~ r,6







through five lines (11.


23-27).


This is also the summation of the


"primus


demon"'


in the first speech after the fall of Lucifer:


"Alas,


their


is noght


els to


Noah


/ bot


we ar tynt for now


then turns his


prayer


and ay"


to another theme:


-149).


"Soyne after that


gracyous


lord to his liknes made


man,


That place to be restored" (11.


It may even be significant that he


says


that the creation of man


was


soon after,


not immediately after,


for in the Creation play,


the making


of man follows not immediately but soon after the fall of the angels.


three lines,


God


creates


the beasts of the earth,


then


says,


"now make


we man to oure liknes"


165).


According to Noah,


the purpose of the


creation of man


was


to fill the


gap left in the heavenly ranks by the casting


out of the rebellious angels.


Again,


the same reason is given in the


play


of the Creation:


the Cherubyn tells Adam that he has been made


angels


ordir to fulfill"


215).


The injunction not to


eat of the tree is in both


accounts,

Creation


and the resolve of Lucifer to tempt man,


play breaks off.


at which point the


Since the prayer of Noah summarizes exactly


the Creation play


as far


as we have it,


it is reasonable to assume that


his prayer also summarizes those parts of the play that have been lost,


specifically,


the account of the fall of man.


We may theorize that the


Creation play originally

according to Noah's line


ended with Adam either in,


"ffyrst in erth,


or anticipating,


and sythen in hell.


Hell,


Likewise,


God must have


promised


eventual aid to man:


Noah


says,


"Oyle of mercy








careful recapitulation,


would have said


We may suppose,


therefore,


that in


the Creation play,


God


no more


particular


about the schem


salvation


than we


see


in Noah's speech.


Returning to the study of time in the play


, we see


that Noah begins by


devoting his first fifty or so lines solely to recapitulating history.


God


then appears with the command to build the ark.


At this


point,


there


begins another


ies of syncopations of time such


as we saw in the


of the Creation.


Noah builds the ark in forty


lines (1.


-285


); the forty


and nights of rain pass in a hundred lines:


Noah


"This


fourty


has rayn beyn;


It will therfor abate'


445).


It takes three


hundred and fifty days for the water to subside,


says


Noah,


which


pass


a little over eleven lines.


The effect produced,


as in the Creation play,


is of a passa


of tim


so swift that the usual barriers of time seem almost


meaning


less.


Another technique now


begins to app


ear:


the mention


, in passing,


stretches of time


. In addition to th


forty days,


and the three hun-


dred and fifty days we have already seen,


Noah


says


at the


beginning


the play,


hundreth


eris & od haue I


without distance


In erth,


as any


sod,


liffyd with grete gr


evance


57-58).


To achieve the v


sweep of time presented in the cycle,


the illusion must be successfully


maintained that events which the audience has just seen occurred in the


long distant past.


This requires the constant use of two techniques:








For


even the simplest members of the audience,


the formal structure


of the


plays


is beginning to connect the


types of Christ by the pattern of


their behavior.


Noah had begun his play by telling the story


of the world


from


Cre


aatin


to his time.


Now


, Abraham begins his


play by starting at


same


point,


the Creation


, and tells of the fall,


the murder of Abel,


the story


of Noah


(though it had just been seen),


and finally


store


. What the audience has


just


seen


is presented to them


as occurring


in the

tions


long past.


of time


The continual setting


aside


a reflection of the unified


of the conventional limita-


perception of time which


was


spoken of in the last chapter.


It is no coincidence


that these


restructure


ings


time


are


found in connection with the


types


of Christ.


has been said,


the individual characters of the cycle derive


their importance,


not from


their historical


existence at one time or another,


but from their figural


resemblance to the central character of the whole drama


Christ.


The


dramatist


, to emph


asize


this fact


, connects the types by


all the


means


at his disposal.


the pi


have noted the relatively


simple means of


of Noah and Abraham with the title characters


in the


opening


same


attitude,


Later


one of prayer


, and with the two pr


, we will have an opportunity to a


ssess


ayers


having the same theme.


far more


subtle uses of


to connect the characters.


Likewi

and Cain,


, the virtue of humility,


the opposite of the pride of Lucifer


is stressed in the speeches of the types of Christ.


Noah ended







Noe


thi seruant,


am I


lord


ouer all!


Therfor me and my fry


shal with me fall;


saue


from velany


and brin


to thi hall


In heuen:


And kepe me from


syn,


This warld within;
Comly kyng of mankyn,
I pray the here my s'


evyn!
(1ii. 64-72)


Cawley


sees


this


stanz


as meaning


that Noah


and his family


are


doomed


to moral and


physical de


unless God


saves


them.


use


of fall links


the Noah


story


to the fall of Lucifer and the fall of Adam.


We might


also


say,


to the fall of Cain


. Here


then


is the first


prayer appropriate to


fallen man:


the humble admi


ssion.


that sin is certain without God'


At the end of his play,


Noah considers what the flood has done:


dede


ar thai dyght


rowdi


st of


pryde,


Euer


a wy


that euer


was


spyde,


With syn,
All ar thai slayn,


And


put vnto payn.


-547)


Uxor asks if they have no hope:


fromm thens


/ May thai neuer


wyn


And Noah ends


play


as it began,


with


a prayer to be preserved


from sin:


wyn


-wis / bot he


Wold myn of thare


mys


that


myght hase


& admytte thaym to


ace;


As he in bayll
In even hye w


blis /


ith his


I pray


hym in this


to purvaye


space,


vs a place


That we,


with his santis


And his ange
May corn to I


sight,


bright,


his light:


Amen,


for charite.


-558)







parallelisms furnished by


Play


contrasting the


instant obedience


g1Ve~il


Abraham's


servants


with the rebelliousness of Garcio.


In the


scheme


of the play,


the relationship of Abraham and his


servants


minor importance.


The play is about Abraham's total submission to the


will of God


even


when that will


goes


wholly against his own desires


affections.


In this,


Wakefield Cycle connects Abraham once


again


with Noah,


who likewi


gave


immediate and complete obedience


in his


play.


Wakefield


play


of Abraham


(and that of York)


has suffered


d in


modern critical comparison with,


for example,


Brom


play,


chiefly


due to what


seems


to be


a preference for melodrama


One commentator


mis


sing


point entirely,


says


, "In the


York cycle Isaac


is freakishly


made


thirty


years


apparently with


the bizarre


idea of making him


prototype of Christ."14


Speaking of the Abraham plays


Arnold Williams has something


in the different cycles,


of the same idea.


Williams


"Towneley and


York lose force because


they apparently do not conceive


saac


as a child.


The note to this senten


ce, however,


brin


out an


important point:


"The


preponderance of commentary opinion favors


Towneley and York.


The notion that Is


aac


was


a child is an artistic


a theological interpretation.


might also add that the idea of making


a type of Christ,


far from being bizarre,


is one of the r


seasons


episode had been dramatized.


The application of typology to Abraham


, not








he who had received the promises (to whom it had been said,


'In Isa


seed


shall be called'


was


about to offer up his only-begotten


son,


rca


soning that God has power to


raise


up even from


the dead; whence


also he received him back


as a type


(Heb


11:17-19).


Augustine


among


others helped to continue the


A crucial (and


unjustified)


interpretation of Isaac


side-note on P


as a type


42 of the EETS edition


of the Wakefield


rcle warrants correction.


Immediately


after God


com


mands Abraham


to sacrifice


his son


Pollard's side-note read


Abra-


ham


cheerfully promises obedience.


" It is true that Abraham


says


ffayn


wold I this thyng ordand,


next line he adds,


ffor it profettis noght to hoyne,


This commaundement must I nedis fulfill,


" but in the


If that


hert


wax


hevy as


leyde


" (11.


79-82)


There


is nothing of


cheer about the


passage.


After the angel


stays


Abraham


s hand


, the Wakefield MS


breaks


again.


Two leaves are missing,


and,


since the action of the Abraham


story is


ess


entially finished at this point,


the missing pa


must have


been devoted almost entirely to the next play,


Isaac.


a result,


only


70 lines remain of Is


aac.


In the little that


is left of the play,


no g


general


conclusions can be made.


However,


in the following play,


Jacob,


the first clearly indicated


"future history" has importance


prophecy.


in the over


The inclusion of this bit of


-all scheme of the cycle.


to this


point


the plays


have


focused on the actions of Providence in








Prophets (Processus Prophetarum),


we will note a definite


shift in em-


phas is


from history to prophecy


The increasing


use of


prophecy begins


in Jacob,


when God tells him:


lac ob,


iacob


, thi


od I am;


Of thi forfader abraham,
And of thi fader Isaac;
I shall the blys for thare


sake.


This


land that thou


slepys


I shall the gif,


and thi kyn


I shall thi seeded multyply,


As thyk


as powder on erth may ly.


The kynd


of the


shall sprede wide.


13-21)


This promise is fulfilled immediately in the next play,


Pharao.


As the


play begins,


the soldiers


of Pharaoh brin


g him word of the alarming


increase


in the number of the Jew


,who


cam of loseph,


Was


iacob son--


Thay W


ere


sexty


and ten


when th


ay fyrst cam in to thy land


Sythen haue


soierned in


Fower hundreth


Now


Wynt


ar thay nowmbred


moo then thr


sen


er, I dar warand;
of myghty men


e hundreth thousand.


55-60)


(We note again the use of long periods of time.)


God Himself shows the


fulfillment of the prophecy to Moses:


I am god that


somr


tyme


spake


to thyn elder
To abraam, an


s, as thay Wyst;


d Isaac


and iacob,


I sayde


should be blyst,


And multytude of them to make,


so that thare


seyde


should not be myst.


120-125)


This is the reappearance of the recapitulation of history as a theme.


The







Unlike Noah and Abraham,


this


play begins with a monologue by the


villain,


ning with


Pharaoh.


Vhit


a change from the established


a soliloquy by the type of Christ in the


play,


pattern of begin-


but the change has


a significance that will be disc


usse


d later


need only mention now


that


we are


entering


a section of the


cle which


moves


away


from the


familial relationships of the fir


st part.


The cities of God


and man


are


coming into conflict,


every


resource of


society,


symbolized by the


king,


will be on the side of the city


of man.


The first


view


we have of


Moses


however,


presents him in the


same


attitude


as Noah and Abraham,


the other types of Christ,


at the beginning


of their plays.


The interpretation of Moses


as a type of Christ


begins


in St.


John's


Gospel.


In the


words of J


esus,


"And


as Moses lifted up the serpent in


the desert


even


so must the Son of Man be lifted up,


that those


who


believe in him may not perish,


but may have


ever


lasting


(John


-15)


. St. Au


tine,


among others,


saw


Moses


as a type of Christ,


follow in


this


passage.


Moses


in the


Wakefield play offers God


prayer


of thanksgiving for deliverance


from Pharaoh


voice


from the


bush address


ses


him and reminds him of God


s promise.


When Moses


fears about his inadequacy


are


answered,


he accepts God'


will


as com-


pletely


as Noah and Abraham had done:


lord,


with all the myght in me '


"I understand full


190-191)


well thys thyng,


. Through Pharaoh


eases


and retractions


, Moses


faith never falters.


Even in


the face of


W







Be not abast,


god is oure freynd,


And all oure foes will slay;
Therfor corn on with me,
Haue done and drede you noght.
(11. 378-3t


So far


, the cycle has been concerned with


the establishment of the


main


types


of Christ.


These types,


Noah,


Abraham,


Moses,


recount


the action of God's Providence


in history through the recapitulations in


their opening speeches.


Now we


reach the high point of the Old


Testa-


ment


series


of plays,


the Processus


Prophetarum,


as prophets and kings,


pagans and J


ness


ews,


are brought forward to bear witness to God


in keeping His promise.


In this play,


s faithful-


the emphasis shifts from


history to prophecy.


station


To underline the shift


is offered to the audience:


, a different mode of presen-


the sermon (although perhaps David


part


was


sung).


if to compensate for the non-dramatic form of the


play,


a special attempt


is made to bring the audience into the world


of the


drama more completely by having Moses address the audience with the


words,


"All


folk of israeli


/ herkyn to me


1-2)


Moses then


reminds the audience of the fall of Adam,


says,


Therfor will god


styr


rayse


prophet,


in som man dayes


oure brethere


kyn.


7-9)


We have here merely the mention of "a prophet.


Moses represents


history


, the Old Law,


which


"brought nothing to perfection"


(Heb.


Moses is a symbol of the Old Law,


as are


the Ten Commandments,


which








Testament,


yet they


are only


one half


of "the two covenants:


one indeed


from Mount Sinai


other half,


, bringing forth children unto bondage .


to be heralded by the coming of Christ,


The


is prophesied by the


following speaker,


which


David.


He sings of the birth of Christ,


is to become the central point in time.


In line


the event


, it is announced


for the first time in the cycle that the


"Oyle of mercy,


the "prophete,


will be the Son of God:


ffor to be mans


saue


ffor that I harp,


saueyoure,


that is forlorn


and myrth make,


Is for he will manhede take
I tell you thus before. (


Just as in Scripture itself,


116-120)


the nature of the Redeemer becomes clear


only


gradually,


unfolding little by


little; in the cycle plays,


each prophet


speaks a little more


plainly than the one before him.


We have then the symbol of the past,


the symbol of the everlasting


present (the


Inc arnat ion),


and Sibyl now


enters to tell of the future:


Last Judgment.


With her prophecy,


we have the whole cycle drama in


miniature


in this play.


Finally,


Daniel takes the


stage


to again sum up


this already condensed version of providential history in just three stanzas:


in the first stanza,


says


that man sinned and


was


damned.


In the


second,


he relates how God took pity on man and sent down His Son,


in the third,


he says that this act will save man


"Euermore withoutten


end" (1. 234).


We have an outline history of the world through the focus







types


of Christ:


Moses,


David,


Daniel--even Sibyl,


if we may believe


the contention of Auerbach noted in the last chapter.


With this grand


summation,


pointing out the meaning of all that has


gone


before,


Testament plays of the


Wakefield Cycle come to an end.












NOTES TO CHAPTER II


1Wakefield,


Creation


. Further


line ref


erences from


Wakefield Cycle in this


chapt


er will be


include


ed in the text


Wakefield,


I would like to


state


once


again


that I am


concern


d with the


as it exists


as a whole.


am awa


re that traditionally the


Mactaci


Abel


is ascribed to the


Wakefield Master


, and


the Creation


Whoever wrote these or any plays in the cycle,


to some other
that they are 1


hand.


different authors


begs


the question of their effect on the drama


as a whole.


It cannot be
an audience


overstressed that the


cle has


a single theme,


perceived by


unaware of and unconcerned with questions of authorship.


attempt is to r


construct what they


saw


. Consequently,


if I speak of


connections


betw


een two plays of traditionally different authorship,


only concern is to point out what se
poor procedure to deny a priori the


ems to me to be there.


possibility of


It must be


connections between the


plays,


because we have already decided on different grounds that the


plays


in question may have been written by different men.


4St. Augustine,


ace


Mon ahan,


The City of God:


Fathers


Books


of the Church


VIII-XV


series


trans.


, Vol. XIV


(New


Walsh
York.


1952)


Bk. XV,


5Ibid.


eme


and Irony in the


Wakefield Ma


ctaci


Abel


PMLA


LXXX


(1965),


7"Notes on


Townel


ey Cycle Slaying of Abel,


JEGP,


LXII (196


The Dramatic


Unity


of the


'Secunda


Pastorum


in E


says


Studie


in Honor of Carleton Brown


, ed. Percy W


. Long (New


York,


1940),


158.


-4 1 Cl. 0 Mt 1 CV


XVi 1Zrnf;ic 1A


P(P anonc i +


Tnr nnrnclrn CrnlrP


ThP


n


r-i I







10Cawley,

11Jerome


Corpus Christi,
Slote (Lincoln,


p. 91,

Taylor,


note to 1.


"The Dramatic Structure of the Middle English


or Cycle,
Nebraska,


Plays,
1964),


in Literature and Society,
185.


12The correspondence of the Creation


play and Noah's prayer


raises


an interesting conjecture.


Although it is not my intention to speculate


who wrote what play,


it should be noted that not one point of


importance


in the play of the Creation is


left out of Noah's speech and none are added.


Again,


Proc


essus


Noe is commonly


attributed to the Wakefield Master.


The correspondence outlined above


seems to sug


t that the Wakefield


Master either closely modeled Noah's


prayer on the Creation play,


wrote both plays.


13Cawley,


p. 95,


note to 1.


W. Parks and R.


C. Beatty,


eds.,


The English Drama: An


Anthology 900


- 1642 (New


York,


1935),


15Arnold Williams,


The Drama of Medieval England


(East Lansing,


Michigan,


1961),


16City of God,


Bk. XVI,


xxxii.


17The arrangement of the


Pharao (VIII)


plays


is incorrect in the MS


Proce
. The


ssus


Prophetarum


(V II)


positions of the two plays


should be reversed to bring them into the order in which they were no


doubt played.


Compare the order of the corresponding plays in the


York


Cycle,


along with n.


p. xx,


Lucy Toulmin Smith,


The


York Plays.


18Against Faustus (Contra Faustum Manichaeum),


trans. Richard


Stothert,


in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church,


Philip Schaff (1888),


Bk. XII,


XXIX-XXX.


19Galatians 4:24.


For some of the medieval interpretations of this


important verse,


see


D. W


. Robertson,


Jr.,


A Preface to Chaucer


(Princeton,


1963),


290-291.


20E.


Catherine Dunn,


"The Medieval


'Cycle'


as History


Play:


Approach to the


Wakefield Plays,


Studies in the Renaissance,


VII (1960),


p. 81.


ed. Bernice


14E.












CHAPTER III


DIABOLICAL


TYPOLOGY


In the last chapter,


the Old Testament pi


of the


Wake fie id


Cycle


were


considered,


mostly from


the point of view


of those characters


faithful to the Lord.


Typology provides


a key to the cycle


play


con-


nectin


g the patriarchs


of Israel in their foreshad


wings


of Christ


Kolve


, "the Old


Testament plays invite us constantly to per-


ceive


in their far distance


the Son of God; when they end


, the Son and


cross


are


brought slowly forward.


Though the


figures


recede


never


wholly


lost from


sight.


The


use


of typ


ology


as a tool of


interpretation for medieval literature


not been


gener


ally


acce


pted,


however


. Miss Eleanor


osser


, for example,


sees


a danger in


"taking


a vast body


of complicated doctrine from patriotic and scholastic


sources


without paying attention to


whether or not the


specific


signs


would be


recognized by the audien

order to make the whole


argument must be confronted in


system


of typological interpretation plausible


(though it could be mentioned in passing that critics have never felt an


obligation to show that all levels of meaning in,


, Shakespearean


drama


were


accessible to all members


of an audience


whether


bethan or modern).


za-








enough


to note that at least once a week our hypothetical viewer,


tered though he might have been,


heard the Gospel preached,


unlet-


and (more


importantly for us) had that Gospel interpreted in a homily.


As G.


Lampe notes,


the medieval


Christian,


"looking back on the events


re-


corded in the Old


Testament in the light of the fulfillment,


found himself


in the position of the spectator of a drama who already knows how the


play will end.


He knew the


plot,


and so he could recognize and appreciate


the subtlety


of the dramatic


irony by which the divine dramatist had made


every


stage


of the action prefigure


the final denouement described


in the New Testament books.


When we focus on the particular plays of


the Wakefield Cycle,


attempting to trace typological connections,


on firm ground that the dramatists endeavored


to make


we can


those con-


nections plain.


Also,


to avoid the charge of using a


"vast body


of compli-


cated doctrine,


we will confine our attention to a single theme,


one that


shows the gradual unfolding of the mystery of man's Redemption--the


Oil of Mercy.


In the last chapter,


we theorized (from the condensation of the


Crea-


tion play in Noah's prayer


) that the first mention of the Oil of Mercy


must have been in the now-lost play


reference occurs at the end


of the fall of man.


of Mactacio Abel,


Perhaps a second


where the unregenerate


Cain


says


, "It is no boyte mercy to craue"


In any


case,


theme certainly returns at line 46 of Processus Noe:


"Oyle of mercy he








mercy" than Noah does in this play;


the meaning of the metaphor will be


explained


Noah


to the audien


as it is unfolded to the


s understanding is limited,


for he knows


patriarchs themselves.


only that some kind


help i


promised.


Even the final words of the play


are


a mixture of


ignorance and faith.


the pains of hell


To his wife'


Noah can ans


question,


wer only,


"Shall men ever escape from


unless God admit them


to grace.


The meaning of God


S mer


cy is amplifie


d in the next play


Abraham.


This patriarch,


the next type of Christ in the


plays


also carries on the


theme


we are


studying.


says,


beseeching God,


Let onys the oyle o


mer


fall,


Shall I neuer abide that day,
Truly yit I hope I shall. (1


Again,


there is not the slightest indication that Abraham clearly under-


stands the meaning behind the words he


his words


uses,


but for the attentive listener


provide an allusion to a line in the New Testament.


"That day,


of course


the d


ay when the Oil of Mercy


shall fall,


specifically


linked


to Abraham in John 8:56:


"Abraham your father rejoiced that he w


see


my day."


ed by Christ


The lines of the play are


's words in the Gospel,


so arranged that they ar


and He identifies Himself


interpret-


as the Oil


of Mercy.


This is apparent,


though,


only to the audience


, and Abraham


ignorance of the nature


of the Redeemer is only a little less than Noah


The pi


of Jacob


who


is again


a type of Christ,


provides an excel-








particular incident,


rather than another,


should be dramatized.


In the


play,


the only episode of Jacob's trip to Aran to be depicted is his vision


of the ladder.


Again,


the metaphor of oil makes an appearance:


what haue


I herd in slepe,


sene


That god leynyd hym to a stegh,


And spake to me,


it is no


leghe;


And now is here none other gate,


bot godis howse and heuen


s yate,


lord,
their


how dredfull is this


stede


I layde done my hede,


In godis lovyng I rayse this
And oyll will I putt theron.


stone,


36-44)


Augustine


says,


"Again,


this


is not mere history but prophecy.


Certainly,


Jacob did not pour oil on the stone


as though he were an


idolator making it a god.


Nor did he worship the stone by offering it


sacrifice.


The


important point is that


[according to St. Augustine]


name Christ is derived from chrisma,


which means


'anointing with oil,


and,


therefore,


what we have here is a symbol with a great and myster-


ious meaning."5


For the informed among the audience,


the connection of


the Oil of Mercy with Christ is made again.


And the number of informed


Christians in the medieval audience may have been far


larger than


suspect.


The types which we have been explicating,


Jacob anointed,


are far from esoteric.


widespread treatises on


exegesis,


even the rock which


The most well-known and


works intended for clergy and layman,


for student and preacher,


use the same incidents again and again.


St. Augustine


's De doctrine Christiana,


for example,


it is the introduc-








defined


a thing in the accurate


sense


of the word


that which is not used


to signify something,


for example,


wood,


stone


, animal,


or others


kind.


But I


do not include that tree which we read that Moses


cast


into bitter waters


to take away their bitterness


, nor that stone which


Jacob placed under his


head,


nor that ram


which Abraham sacrificed


instead of his


son.


These are indeed things


but they are also


sym


bols


of other things.


We have already seen


that it i


David in


Processus


Prophetarum


who


explains


the true nature of the Redeemer


. Likewise,


David also inter-


prets the Oil


of Mercy theme,


applying it to Christ:


Thou shew thi mercy,


lord,


ffor to thou


coin,


to hell


we trus


we may not go beside;


lord,


when


thi will is


for to dele


Tyll us
whom


thi salue and thi hel
we all abyde.


rocessus


P rophetarum


151-156)


Note that this also answers the question of Noah's wife: the Redemption


will break the power of hell


over men.


All these figures


, then,


Noah,


Abraham,

of Christ.


Jacob,

At this


David,

point,


are joined together primarily by


it might be well


being types


to review just exactly what


makes


a type.


Woollcombe enumerates four points:


The principles


which determined the us


of historical


typology in


the Bible,


and in the writings


of those Fath


ers


who followed the


Bib-


lical


rather than


the Hellenistic tradition of typological


exegesis,


seem to have


been:


1. To confine typology to the search for historical patterns within


'


"








must be real and intelligible.
4. To use it solely for expressing the consistency of God's
", 1_- ,- 1- -. -- -i-- :-1-- n .T .... T ... 1 1


redemptive activity in the Old and in the New


IS r'ael.


These


points express the principles traditionally used to show,


the connection between the Old


lt


Testament patriarchs and Christ,


mostly,

whom


they foreshadowed.


Now,


if the same habit of seeing patterns in history


were


applied to characters like Pharaoh,


Herod,


and Pilate


, something


"profane typology"


might arise.


This is exactly what has happened


in the


Wakefield Cycle.


We cannot now


how this


was


done;


perhaps


was


the work of a single reviser


It is also possible that the habit of


applying typology to Biblical themes shaped the historical consciousness


of the several dramatists,


as the model shapes


a die.


The secular


material,


filling the die,


was


cast in the


same


image.


The dramatists had good authority for seeing the pattern of God's


Providence in the Old


Testament


as extending to evil men as well


as to


good.


St. Augustine,


long before,


had seen history


as arranged into two


camps:


"In regard to mankind,


I have made a division.


On the one side


are those who live according to man;


on the other,


those who live accord-


ing to God.


And I have said


that,


in a deeper


sense


, we may speak of


two cities or two human societies,


the destiny of the one being an eternal


kingdom


under God while the doom of the other


is eternal punishment


along with the Devil.


ishment,


The organizing theme in the city of eternal pun-


corresponding to the ideas of mercy and humility in the types







play of the Creation:


Certys,
Syn that
and et


it is a semely sight,
we ar all angels bright,


uer in blis to be;


If that ye will behold me right,
this mastre longys to me.


I am


so fare


and bright,


of me commys all this light,


this gam and all this


Agans my


ete myght


may thyng stand


then be.


well me behold


I am a thousand fold
brighter than is the


son,


strength may not be


told,


my myght may no thyng kon;


In heuen,


therfor


, wit I wold


Above me who should won.


ffor


I am lord of blis,


ouer all this warld,


-wis,


My myrth is
therfor my will


most


of all;


is this


master


shall


shall me


, full


call.


sone onone,


How that me


semys to sit in trone


as kyng of blis;


I am


so semely,


blode


& bone,


sete shall be their


as was


his.


felow s


how


semys


now me


To sit in


I am


seyte of trynyte


so bright of ich a lym


I trow me


seme


as well


as hym.


77-107)


St. Augustine interprets his division of the


Soc


ieties according to the


the vice of pride and its opposite virtue,


humility:


Hence


it is


that just b


because


humility is the


virtue


espec


ially


eemed in the City of God and


so recommended to


it. s iti


zens in


v


c., -I. r. I-.. n. r.-








dominant in Christ's adversary,


the Devil.


In fact,


this is the main


difference which distinguishes the two cities of which we are speaking.


The humble city is the society of holy men and


good angels;


the proud


city is the
with the ic


society


)ve


It is just this love


of
d;


of Go


wicked men and evil angels. The one city began
the other had its beginnings in the love of self.9


of self that characterizes a class of persons


in the


beginning with Lucifer,


whom we


may


call the tyrants.


In what is otherwise a good book on the cycle plays,


Kolve


seems


to mistake the importance of this


diabolical


"type.


says,


, as I believe,


the evil rulers,


ges,


and priests are


less acutely


observed and less int


resting than is the common man in this drama,


their deficien


cies


must be explained in part by the decision to humiliate


them through caricature and to use them


as a warning chiefly against


Pride,


the root from which the other sin


grow.i0rl


First,


the question


of whether the evil leaders are


"less acutely observed"


implies the dis-


credited attempt to judge the


so-called


realism


of the drama.


the question of their interest,


we can gau


somewhat the reactions of


a contemporary audience:


it w


exactly those evil rulers


who apparently


caught the fancy of the people of the time,


at least


as far


as we know.


Chaucer


s drunken Miller calls out to the Canterbury pilgrims in


"Pilates


voys,


and Absolon,


in The Miller'


Tale,


"pleye


th Herodes upon a


scaffold hye.


Even Hamlet remembered Herod.


Indeed,


these rulers


were


humiliated


, as Kolve contends,


and the chief part of this humiliation


was


their connection with Satan, the


original sinner,


through the sin of







York Pilate,


14 but when this early fifteenth-century aid


to confessors


is compared specifically to the representations in the


Wakefield Cycle,


several thin


are revealed: first


, the speeches of Ph


araoh


, Caesar


Augustus,


Herod,


and Pilate are


amazingly similar,


both in content and


wording.


Next


,the


speeches of the tyrants,


which in


every


case


occur


at the opening of the play (like those of the types of


Christ)


ar e


especially


tailored to show the inordinate


pride of the speaker


following the


exam


pie of Lucifer.


Finally,


this insistent


repetition of the sin of Pride,


when


taken along with the verbal parallels of their


place them in the devil


speeches


s party--it identifies them


more than


as types of the


tyrant,


Pilate,


who,


in this


cle alone


is made a figure of


consummate


depravity,


a foil for


Jesus.


Christ


is the "ome


point"


for the


patriarch


who are


types


so is Pilate the antitype for the tyrants of the


plays.


In the following analysis,


the characters


considered are:


Lucifer in Creation (I),


Pharao in Phar


ao (VIII),


esar


in C


esar


Augustus


, Herod in Oblacio Magorum (XIV),


and Pilate in Conspiracio (


Fflagellacio (XXII)


Pro


cessus


Crucis (XXIII)


ocessus


Talentorum


XXIV),


and Resurreccio Domini (XXVI).


According to John Mirk,


after the confessor has


questioned the peni-


tent on the


Ten Commandments


The first of these,


course,


, he is to turn to the Seven Deadly


is Superbia.


Sins.


One of the interrogations on








Of any vertu that god 3af the ?
For thy voys was gode and hye,


Or for thy wyt was


gode &


slye,


Or for hys herus were cryspe & long,
Or for thow hast a renabulle tonge,


Or for thy body


is fayr and long,


Or for throw


art white


& strong,


Or for thy flesch ys whyte and clene
Or any syche degree to say at ene ?


The tyrants follow their archetype,


Lucifer,


in vanity of appearance:


Lucifer:


Creation (I)


I am
of me
I am*
I am


so fare and bright,
Scommys all this light,
* S S S


a thousand fold


brighter then is the


son;


lana


so semely,


blode


& bone.


82-83


, 88-89,


102)


Cesar:


Cesar


Augustus (IX)


esar


fayrer


august I am


corps


cald,


for to behald


Is not of blood


& bone.


-33)


Herod:


Oblacio Magorum (XIV)


Clenly


shapen,


hyde and hare,


withoutten lak.


Pilate:


-36)


Conspiracio (XX)


So comly
In sight if


cled and
I were s


cleyn
eyn.


a rewler of great renowned;
. 11-12)


Pilate: Fflagellacio (XXII)


wote


not that I am pylate,


perles to behold


Pilate:


Processus Talentorum (XXIV)







proud


of rank,


title,


or power:


"Hast thou be prowde of worschype or


gode,


For any ofyce that thow hast had


1127-1129)


In the


next


series


of quotations,


note


the repetition of the


phrase,


"I am lord,


beginning with Lucifer.


Lucifer:


Creation (I)


ffor


I am lord of blis


ouer all this


warld,


I-wis.


(11. 94-95)


Pharao:


Pharao (VIII)


All Egypt


is myne awne


To leede aftyr my


law.


9-10)


Cesar:


Cesar


Augustus


I am lord and


ouer all


All b


owys


to me,


both


te and


small,


lord of euery


land;


19-2


Herod:


Oblacio


Magorum (XIV)


all this warld,
The lord am I.


sooth,


nere,


Lord


am I of


euery


land.


Pilate:


Processus Crucis (XXIII)


prynce of all lury,


sir pilate I hight.


Closely connected to this kind


of pride


is that which delights in power or


strength. Ti

quotations is

Lucifer:


ie word which signals the connection in the next series of


"might.


Creation (I)


rans my grete myght
rn atr 1-lvrrne lo'-nrAn/ +hc^ h~- ^a


A@








Pharao:


Pharao (VIII)


I Wold my myght Were knawne
And honoryd, as hyt awe. (1


11-12)


Cesar:


Cesar


Augustus (IX)


ffor I am he that myghty is.


Herod:


(1. 25)


Oblacio Magorum (XIV)


ffor
*


I am myghty man ay whare,


The myght of me may


Pilate:


no man mene.


Processus Crucis (XXIII)


lamn


Pilate:


a lord that mekill is of myght.


Processus Talentorum (XXIV)


Atrox armipotens / most myghty


Pilate:


called in ylk place.


Resurreccio Domini (XXVI)


As I am man of myghtys most.


One especially deadly form of pride is to be proud of one's sins.


Mirk


says,


"Hast thou ben prowde


& glad in thought


Of any mysdede that


thou hast wro3t


1141-1142)


The tyrants in the plays are all given


to boasting of their deeds,


but the extensive amount of self-characteriza-


tion done by


Pilate makes his position as antitype clear.


stanzas presumably by the


Wakefield Master,


Twice,


he makes his corruption


abundantly evident.


First,


in Conspiracio


(X~X)


ffor I am he that may


make or mar a man;


My self if I it say


as men of cowrte now


can;


, 37)







Quest mangers and lurers


And


all this fals out rydars,


welcome to my


sight.


19-27)


Again,


in Fflagellacio (XXII)


I am full of


sotelty,


ffalshed,


gyll,


trech


therfor am I namyd by cler
As mali actors.


ffor


like


So do I,


as on both


that the


sydys
law ha


the Iren the hamer makith play,


here in my kepyng;


The right side to socoure,


certys,


I am full bayn,


If I may


get therby


a vantege or wynyng.


Then to the fals parte


I turne me


agayn,


ffor


se more


Vayll will to me be


rlsyng;


Thus


euery man to drede me shalbe full fayn,


And all faynt of thare fayth to me be obeyng.


At the nadir of this vice,


Pilate is even proud of his part in the Cruci


fixion,


and this speech comes after the full


expo


sition of the tortures suf-


fered by


Jesus,


tortures for which Pilate


takes


full credit:


wote
That


not that I am


pilate,


satt apon the lustyce


At caluarie


where


late


was


This


at more


I am he,


that


great


state,


That lad has


all to-


torne


(Resurre


colt


Domini,


13-18)


These verbal similarities and sinful congruences


are


present in the


speeches of all the tyrants to emphasize their unity in sin,


following their


archetype,


Lucifer,


as dwellers of the


proud


city,


culminating in Pilate


This typology


is set over against the patriarchs and prophets,


united in


their


love for God,


dwellers of the humble city,


culminating in Christ.








were incapable of characterizing


a tyrant except by


literary tradition.


But the evidence to counter this argument is extensive.


instance,


Consider,


the threats which each of these characters makes to the audi-


ence.


All of the lines carry about the


same


burden,


yet the differences


in wording are many:


Pharao:


Pharao (VIII)


fful low he shall be thrawne


That harkyns not my


sawe,


hanged hy and drawne,
Therfor no boste ye


blaw.


13-16)


Cesar:


Cesar


Augustus (IX)


Thys brand abowte you're


nekys


shall b


To slo you all how


Herod:


lytyll I roght.


Oblacio Magorum (XIV)


who that maky


s noyse


whyls I am here,


I say,


shall dy.


Pilate:


Conspiracio


(XX)


I say stynt and stand /
ffro this burnyshyd bran


Pilate:


or foull myght befall you
de. (11. 2-3)


Fflagellacio (XXII)


With this brande that I bere


Pilate:


shall bytterly aby.


Processus Crucis (XXIII)


I warne it you both great and small


With this brand burnyshyd


Pilate:


so bright.


Processus Talentorum (XXIV)








Pilate:


Resurreccio Domini (XXVI)


fful hy bese hanged his


bonys.


Before we explore the full development of this typology,


let us ana-


lyze what we have found so far,


according to those


principles governing


the traditional applications of the method in Biblical exegesis.


The first


necessity (see above,


pages 50


-51) was


"to confine typology to the search


for historical patterns within the historical framework of revelation.


This requirement has been met,


with some freedom of characterization


taken.


The material of the drama provided the


playwrights with a number


of historical villains.


The


patterns connecting them


were established


through links based on the sin of pride,


a solution


that was both in sharp


contrast to the humility of the types of Christ and doctrinally sound.


The second


point of typology in Biblical exegesis was


"to reject


spurious


exe


gesis


and Hellenistic allegorism as means of discerning


the patterns.


find no over-ingenious allegory presented in the plays.


Here are no personifications--what allegory is found in expository


speeches,


like that of Deus in


The Annunciation,


is simple and tradi-


tional.


Yet as we have seen in connection with Jacob's anointing of the


stone,


there are several levels of meaning in the plays.


For those in the


audience acquainted with the more intellectualized applications of Scrip-


ture,


there


is ample material.


Some themes,


such as the Oil of Mercy,


are openly portrayed,


and do not demand erudition from the audience.








The third point of typological


exegesis


is "to insist that the identity


between the type and the antitype must be real and intelligible.


Here


was work for the dramatists. Th

were available in the authorities,


,e connections between Adam and


but what of


Christ


connections between Cain


and Herod,


or Lucifer and Pilate


To fashion an identity between these


characters which would be real and intelligible,


the sin of pride


was


chosen.


As the first and


greatest sin,


it had already an archetypal qual-


and other writers of the time,


William Langland,


for example,


agreed on the question of whose service the proud were enlisted in:


"Antichrist thus sone hadde


hundreds at hus baner,


And Pruyde bar


that baner


boldeliche about.


St. Augustine's conception of the city


of man reflects this same idea of the primacy of pride in the destruction


of Christian life.


It remained,


however,


for the dramatists to put Pride


on the


stage.


may think the tyrants ridiculous in


their excesses,


their strutting,


their ranting,


and no doubt this is


part of the intention


of the plays.


It should be remembered,


though,


that these tyrants


create


deep suffering among the innocent in the action of these plays:


the oppres-


sion of the Israelites,


the massacre of the


Infants,


the crucifixion of


Christ.


The real tyrants represented by the


Wakefield Pharao or Herod


or Pilate are ridiculous only in an extra-historical


view.


When the audi-


ence laughed at their antics,


the viewers were being gently urged toward


this more spiritual attitude by the use of ridicule as a moral device of




62


(imaginary) power and splendor ?

The fourth characteristic of typological interpretation is the attempt


"to use it solely


for expressing the consistency of God's


redemptive


activity in the Old and New Israel.


find a multiple expression of


this aim in the


Wakefield Cycle.


Standard typology shows the oneness


of Providence throughout the plays


the "diabolical" typology provides


dramatic values


, heightening the contrast between the two cities.


The


concentration


centering on Pilate


is intended to enhance his


con-


flict with Christ.


But has


the dramatist fallen into the trap which Kolve


sees


Does the emphasis on Pilate lessen the feeling of the audience


for its own complicity in the sufferings and death of Christ


I think


not.


The anachronism


of the cycle is constantly working against any


attempt to divorce past from present.


From


the bishop


s robes


Annas and Caiphas to Pilate's


court now,


comparison of himself to the men of


there is too much fifteenth-century England in the plays


allow a historical separation.


Again,


at the climax of the cycle,


Crucifixion,


esus


speaks


from the cross:


Blo and blody thus am I bett,


Swongen with
Mankynde,

If Pilate had been depicted


swepys


& all to-swett


for thi mysdede


469-471)


the very devil himself,


it could not miti-


gate the force of these lines.

The dramatist of course did not have these specific four points in







of history to be found in the plays.


It should be emphasized also that the


connections spoken of are not mysteries closed to all but the initiated;


the writer or writers strove to make the meaning clear.


The line from


Lucifer to Pilate


is plainly traced,


and we have already seen the parallel-


ism of the opening speeches of the tyrants.


Now we may turn our attention


to other indications of the spiritual genealogy extending from the first

sinner to the crucifier of Christ.


Lucifer,


the archetypal sinner,


will be the reference point in this


study.


The relationship of a character to the devil will indicate his place


in the diabolical typology,


Cain


is the first figure in our examination.


To begin with,


the word


"devil"


is constantly in his mouth.


Seventeen


times in the course of the play,


he calls on the name of his lord.


John


Gardner presents an interesting reading of Mactacio Abel.


sug-


gests


that Garcio is a devil,


and lines


15-16


"A good yoman my master


hat,


ffull well


all hym ken,


" refer to


Lucifer.


Can we not


say,


though,


that these lines are ambiguous,


referring to both the devil and


Cain


Cain shows the same marks of pride we saw among the tyrants.


Immediately


after he murders Abel,


he boasts of it,


threatening the


audience:


And if any of


you thynk I did amys


I shal it amend wars then it


that all men may it
well wars then it is


right


so shall it be.


331-335)








ffor


I must nedis weynd,


And to the dwill be thrall,
warld withoutten end.


Ordand their is


stall,


with sathan


the feynd.


463-467)


Cain becomes the second reference point,


based on the account of Scrip-


ture


Genesi


4:17) that he built


a city


and S


t. Augustine


s interpretation


of that


verse:


"The first man born of the two parents of the human r


ace


was


Cain.


He belonged to the city of man.


The next born


was


Abel,


was


of the City of God.


Notice here a parallel between the individual


man and


the whole


race.


We might


that Cain is the earthly


COmmn


terpart of Lucifer


and the diabolical typology that we find may refer to


either of them.


Some of the material for this diabolical typology w


hands of the dramatists.


already in the


The traditional interpretation of the escape


through the Red


as a type of Baptism identified


Pharaoh with the


devil.


How widespread


was


this identification has been established by


ean Danielou.


a study of patristic


exegesis


of Exodus,


he begins


with I Corinthians


10:2-4:


"Our father


were


all under the cloud,


and all


passed through the


sea,


and all were


baptized in Moses,


in the cloud and


in the


sea.


all ate the same


spiritual food,


and drank the same


spiritual drink."


Paul


says


later,


in verse


"Now all these thin


happened to them


as a type.


Church almost universally


With this authority,


saw


the devil signified by


the fathers


Pharaoh.


of the


Theodoret







while


grace


is the body.


When the Egyptians pursued the Hebrews,


these


latter by passing through the Red


escaped the


savage


cruelty


of the


pursuers.


The sea is the type of the


Baptismal font,


the cloud of the Holy


Spirit,


and Moses of Christ our Savior; the staff


Pharaoh of the devil,


a type of the


and the Egyptians of the fallen angels.


Cross;

The


near-universality of the connection of Pharaoh and the devil is shown by


Danielou,


who quotes,


in agreement with


the association,


Didymus the


Blind,


Tertullian,


of Jerusalem,


St. Zeno of Verona,


Origen,


St. Gregory


Gregory


of Nyssa,


of Elvira,


St. Basil,


Cyril


and St. John


Chrysostom.


The equation of Pharaoh and the devil finds its


way


into


the Wakefield Cycle:


when crossing the Red


Sea,


Pharaoh


says


to his


followers,


"heyf vp you're hertis vnto mahowne,


/ he will be nere vs in


oure nede" (11.


412-413),


which incidently


a parody


of the Sursum


Corda at the


Preface of the Mass.


- The particular association of the


devil and Mahowne will be explored later.


at the climax of this play,


may note,


Pharaoh curses his master:


for now,


"help!


that


the raggyd


dwyll,


we drowned! (1.


414)


The identification of Pharaoh is even more


explicit in the fear of


one of the children of Israel,


who confesses his


doubt to Moses:


"Bot kyng Pharao,


that fals feynd,


/ he will


eft betray"


(11. 374-375).


The mention of Mahowne above


is the only time the name


appears in the play.


Pharaoh'


characteristic oath,


like Cain's,


"Devil!"


and he


swears


as frequently


as the first member of our set of







importance- -they


are


a means of


characterization.


The exclamations of


the different heros and villains show that each


swears


by the master he


serves.


have already


the other tyrants,


Herod,


seen


that Cain and


aesar


, Caiphas,


Pharaoh swear by the devil;

and Pilate, do the same.


This


would be insignificant if we found the


other characters


but we do not.


same oaths in the mouths of the


Even the rough shepherds of the Second


Sheph


erds


Play,


though they use the word


evil"


a few times


, chiefly


under


Mak'


provocation


are


more


given to


"Crys


tys cr


osse


me spede


and sant nycholas


exclamations like


Noah and


mary


Uxor


I, rpe


, for all their wrangling,


and once,


godis pyne.


deal in mild


Outside


of "devil"


or "Mahowne,


the tyrants


ave


no oaths.


They blaspheme,


sure,


but against their own god.


The investigation of


oaths leads to the next tyrant,


the next


type


Pilate


aesar


Augustus.


To begin with,


the use of "Mahowne" increases


greatly in this play,


both in frequency and in importance.


In Play


find those attributes commonly applied to God being used by C


aesar


invoke Mahowne


that weldys water and wynde


, "Mahowne the


menske


140)


"Mahowne


so semely on to call"


mahowne,


god all


weld and


226)


"Mahowne that


is curtes and heynd"


(1. 238),


and most interesting of all,


"by mahownes blood'


"Mahowne"


as used here


is not,


of course


, the historical Mohammed,


but a convene


ient name,


well


-known


, havin


g pejorative associations,


a name which







a parallel to the triune God


of Christianity.22


The suggestion is made,


and supported,


that the tyrants stand in the same relationship to the devil


as Christians do to God.


The wording of the speeches of the tyrants


reinforces their association with the devil at seemingly


every


opportunity.


For instance,


after the emperor has just been told


of the


prophecy of the


birth of one who shall his


"force down


fell,


Caesar


Augustus


says:


Downe fell


dwyll!


what may this


Out,


harow


full wo is me!


I am full wyll of r


, and dewyls


eede!
whens cam he


That thus


should reyfe me my pawste


73-77)


Even on a linguistic level,


the individual terms used seem designed to


evoke associations with Lucifer.


Consider


donee fell,


" "dwyll,


" "harow,


once again


"dewyls,


"reyfe me my pawste.


We are justified in


asking if these words would not,


at least,


evoke an echo of the fall of


Lucifer and his laments of his lost power.


Herod,


too,


is lined up on the side of the devil by means of his words.


We have seen him numbered among the proud.


Since the identification of


Mahowne and the devil in Cesar


Augustus,


we know what meaning to take


from statements like his threat to


destroy tho


That will not trow


se dogys in feyld and towne
sant Mahowne,


Oure


so swete.


(Oblacio Magorum,


11. 26-28)


The lines of his in Oblacio Magorum are full of double entendre:


Herod


says,


"The feynd,


if he were


my fo,


I should hym fell"


23-24).


The








slaughter of the


Innocents,


we may be sure he is not


a foe of the devil.


His full connection in the


"radix Luciferi"


is expanded in Play


xv',


Magnus Herodes,


where his association with the devil begins in the


speech of the Nuncius who announces the king's arrival and claims that


Herod


is Mahowne's cousin (1.


Herod


is still disturbed at the pro-


phecies of Christ'


though he


birth:


boasts of having


says,


Lucifer


"I wote not what dewill me alys"


as an ally against his enemies:


ffor and thay be


so bold


/by


god that syttys in trone,


the payn can not be told


that th


ay shall haue ilkon,


ffor


Sich
ffor


panys
vgly a


hard neuer man tell


.nd for fell,


That lucyf
Thare b


Finally,

of Cain,


ere


in hell


onys shall all to-tyre.


to place Herod firmly in the city of man


we should not overlook the


138-144)

i, among the followers


prayers of the mothers of the mur-


dered children:


veniance


I cry and call,


on h


ero


venlance


and
lord


his knyghtys all!
, apon thaym fall.


66-368)


We recall Abel's dying words,


"Veniance,


venianc e,


lord,


I cry!"


(Mac-


tacio Abel,


Through manipulation of some received interpretation and


a great


deal of verbal parallels,


the architect of the


forth a line of villains looking forward to


Wakefield Cycle has set


Pilate


as the patriarchs and


prophets look ahead to Christ.


The culmination of this diabolical typology,







secular kingdom,


worldly power,


and transitory splendor,


will be a


worthy descendent in the line begun in heaven by


Lucifer and on earth by


Cain.













NOTES TO CHAPTER III


A. Kolve,


The Play Called Corpus Christi


(Stanford,


1966)


2Eleanor


Pro


sser,


Drama and Religion in the


English Mystery


Plays


(Stanford,


1961)


, pp.


194-1


3
Typol


Lampe,


ogy,


Studies


"The


in Biblical


Reasonable
Theology


eness of Typology,
No. 22 (Naperville,


in E


ssay


Illinois,


s on


1957),


4For an account of the extensive use


of the Oil


of Mer


legend in the


Middle


Ages


, with spec


ial reference to its


importance in medieval Corn-


ish drama,


see


Esther


asler


Quinn


, The Quest of Seth for the Oil of Life


(Chi


cago,


1962)


5The City of God:


Monahan,


Fath


ers


Books


VIII-XVI


of the Church


Series


trans.
, Vol.


Walsh and


XIV


(New


York,


Grace
1952),


XVI,


XXXV111.


6Christian Instruction (De doctrine Christiana),


trans. John J.


Gavigan,


in The Writings


of Saint Augustine,


Fathers


of the Church


Series,


Vol.


II (New


York,


1947)


7"The Biblical Origins and Patristic Development of Typology,


Essay
Illinoi


s on Typology,
s, 1957), p. 7[


Studie


in Biblical


Typology No.


22 (Naperville,


Augustine,


City


of God,


9lbid,


Bk. XIV


xiii.


10Kolve,


224.


Prologue to


The Miller's Tale,


The


Works of Geoffrey Chaucer,


F. N.


Robin


son,


(Cambridge,


Mass.,


1957),


124.


gt 0 fl r


1







14Kolve,


223.


15John Mirk,


Instructions for


Parish Priests,


ed. Edward Peacock,


EETS OS


(London,


1868)


1115-1124.


Further


line references will


be included in the text.


16Walter W. Skeat,


The


Vision of William Concerning Piers the


Plowman (London,


886)


-Text,


Passus XXIII,


11. 69-70.


"Theme and Irony in the


Wakefield Mactacio Abel,


" PMLA,


LXXX


(1965),


517.


City of God,


19"XXVIIth Question
cited in Jean Danielou,


XV,


I on Exodus, Patrologiae Graeca,
From Shadows to Reality: Studies


LXX)k


in th


., p. 25'
Biblical


Typ


ology


of the Fathers,


trans.


Wulstan Hibb


erd (London


, 1960)


194.


0Danielou,


pp. 177-201,


passim.


IArnold Williams,


The Drama of Medieval England (East Lansing,


Michigan,


1961),


221n the erection of a pagan trinity,
Old French works which use Mahumet,


the play
Apollin,


is reminiscent of the
and Tervagant for the


same


purpose.


See,


for example,


La Chanson d


Roland,


pass












CHAPTER IV


THE NATIVITY


AND CHILDHOOD


PLAYS


The Old Testament section of the cycle,


closing with Processus


Prophetarum,


comes to an end on a note of rising expectation of the


coming of Christ.


The two cities,


of God and


of man,


have introduced


their representatives,


and the line of Satan,


the "Adversary,


" has been


established and


opposed to the


line of the faithful.


In the


Prophets'


Play,


the last Old


Testament play


of the Wakefield


Cycle,


the Redeemer is


mentioned explicitly for the first time,


and His nature


prophesies that Christ will be the Son of God,


Incarnate,


; outlined

born of


Daniel


a virgin,


and will suffer to


save


mankind.


With the first description of Christ in


this


play,


the next play sets in motion the Gospel story


as recorded in


Luke


from


"Now it came to pass in those days,


Caesar


that a decree went forth


Augustus that a census of the whole world should be taken.


This first census took place while Cyrinus was governor of Syria.


writer of Play


Cesar


Augustus,


wishing to include the emperor in


the diabolical typology


provided a motivation for the action stated in the


Gospel.


Caesar,


hearing prophecies of the birth of a child who shall


overthrow him,


is advised to send for his cousin


"Sirinus,


to take coun-


sel with him.


Sirinus advises him to have his soldiers







In three short lines,


the play is connected to Scripture:


Byd ych man corn to you holly,
And bryng to you a heede penny,
That dwellys in towere or towne.


190-192)


Wakefield Cycle is unique in this characterization of Caesar.


In the


Chester Cycle we have a play which handles approximately the same


material,


but in that play,


Octavius meekly forbids his followers to wor-


ship him


as a god,


and welcomes the prediction of Christ'


birth.


contrast,


Wakefield uses the two persons named in the verses from Luke


to show the continued


opposition of the world to the City


of God.


Even the


motive for the census


is given--Caesar wishes to inspire fear:


he instructs


his messenger to


"byd both old and ying,


That ich man know me for his kyng,
ffor drede that I thaym spyll,


That I am lor
Byd ich man


d, and in tokynyng,
a penny bryng,


And make homa


me tyll.


217-222)


With an invocation to Mahowne,


the play closes.


After this secular annunciation of Christ'


with the true Annunciation.


birth,


The juxtaposition of Cesa


we are presented

,r Augustus and the


Annunciacio contrasts the reactions of the two cities to the birth of Jesus.


The first speaker in Annunciacio


is Deus,


a signal of the importance of


the action to come.


God


was


the first speaker only in the Creation play,


indic atin


g here that a new Creation,


a new


in human history,


is about


to begin.


In the opening speech of the play,


we find the same recapitu-







there


is the mention of long periods of time:


"fyfe thousand yeris and


The effect of all this is to cover the remembrance of the Old


Testament plays with the dust of the past, to hint i

seeing the history of the whole of mankind. But al

to achieve distance from the Old Testament plays,


connected


that the audience


.ong with this attempt

the themes which


the types of Christ in those plays are continued in the speech


of Deus.


He speaks of Adam'


Bot yit, I
Oyll of m


says,


myn,


ercy


I hight hym grace
can hym heyt,


And tyme also his bayll to beytt.


8-10)


We find out that the Oil of Mercy will be the Son of God:


I wyll that my son manhede


ffor


res


on wyll that their be


take,
there,


A man,


a madyn,


and a tre:


Man for man,


tre for tre,


Madyn for madyn


thus


shal it be.


(11. 30-34)


was


lost through Adam,


Eve,


and the tree in the Garden,


shall all be


saved


through Christ,


Mary


and the tree of the


Cross.


Christ is thus the new


Adam,


Mary the second Eve.


The tree in Eden


seen


as a


type of the


Cross.


These particular themes often found their


way


into the graphic arts,


as witnessed by the numerous


"C ruc ifixions


showing the skull of


Adam at the foot of the Cross.


In at least one paint-


Masaccio'


"Crucifixion,


dated


1426,


a small tree in full leaf is


shown growing from


the upright of the Cross.


God Himself


stresses


the parallel of Mary and Eve in this play,


contrasting Gabriel and Satan:


more.







the lying words of the angel,


was


drawn away,


and fled God,


so Mary,


through the true word of the angel,


was


drawn to,


and bore God.


From


the opening words of the angel'


salutation to


Mary recorded in Luke


, the Ave-Eva theme


arose,


and the


Middle


Ages


delighted in this


palindrome.


The second


verse


of Ave


Maris Stella plays on these words:


Sumens illud


ave


Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans nomen Evae


As is fitting,


God is the prime mover of the action of this second section


of the cycle in His opening speech.


Mary


is found fully obedient to God'


command.


The submission of


one maiden has offset the disobedience of the first,


and the Redemption


is under way.


Another example of


154,


condensation of time occurs in this play.


Gabriel ends his dialogue with Mary and exits.


At line


Joseph enters im-


mediately,


beginning his part at the next line,


yet he notices that


"hyr


body is grete and


"troubles"


she with child


the Annunciation in


158)


a single play


The union of Joseph's


another mark of Wake-


field's singularity among the cycles.


Martin Stevens points out that here


we have another instance of a combination of "the sacred and the profane,


comparing it to the Noah play and Secunda Pastorum.


is too strong,


though,


as he does that


"Farce here serves as a low-comic


counterpart to the high and solemn.


.TJoseh is civen a comic tone by the







gentle tone,


almost respectful.


There is parody,


to be sure.


Joseph


greets


Mary with the words,


"hayll,


mary,


and well ye be"


179),


echoing the angelic salutation of "hayll,


mary,


and well thou be


But Joseph is nowhere mocked by his own actions,


at least in the way


that,


say,


Noah is made the butt of low comedy.


At line 216,


Joseph


begins


a soliloquy not inferior in artistry to Cain's,


and no


less relevant


to the unfolding of his character.


He begins by scorning what he thinks


is Mary's attempt to throw the blame on him,


and regrets that they


ever


met.


This leads,


naturally,


to an ac


count of their meeting,


and the mir-


acle of his flowering staff.


After their wedding,


he says he


left the


country for nine months and returned to find her with child.


The women


told him an angel had


spoken to her.


Recalling this,


his anger


rises:


ay excusy


d hir thus sothly,


To make hir clene of hir foly,
And babyshed me that was old.


290-292)


But the miracles of their wedding,


Mary herself,


and his own character,


dent his feelings of


outrage:


"Shuld an angell this dede haue wrought


His immediate answer


this is what comes of old men marrying


young women,


but his essential goodness


is winning


He does not


know what to do.


Then,


he faces the


idea that has


been growing since the


mention of the


miracle of his staff:


what if it should be true


If Mary is


indeed bearing the Son of God,

I wote well that I am not he,
i~1rdT -1T +bn'-+ 4oe ,xrnr+4^ 4-n^ ho/







knows his unworthiness,


therefore he will leave Mary.


It is his humility,


based on faith in his wife's word alone,

whereas his doubt left him in indecision.


that makes him decide to act,

SIt is at this point that the angel


appears to command him to stay; his wife


is guiltless.


Joseph then


goes


to ask Mary's forgiveness.


We meet a complex character in Joseph,


and dignified.


one who can be both comic


Like the wrangling Noah and the boisterous Shepherds,


his parody of divine action does not end in disaster but in harmony.


The


double action of the Annunciation,


like that of Secunda Pastorum,


like


all the


plays having parallel plots,


arises from the


playwright's view of


history.


That view


of history,


characterized by the seeing of patterns,


is a result of the typological habit.


The material of the drama is organ-


ized into these patterns; these similar situations emphasize the unity


what otherwise would be merely a mass of incidents.

the cycle shows these patterns especially well: we he


This section of


wve three annuncia-


tions,


really,


in the


Wakefield Cycle.


First,


the birth is foretold to


Caesar


Augustus,


and his reaction is to order the child to be slain.


The


Annunciation proper finds Mary instantly in accord with the will of God.


The annunciation to Joseph


perhaps,


the most pertinent to the Church


Militant,


most characteristic of those lacking either heroic virtue or


great depravity: Joseph doubts,


but his humility,


eventually arrived at


after the


purging of great mental anguish,


elicits God's mercy.


The







has not had its due


as a masterfully written play


let alone


as a part of


an integrated


cycle.


The play has dramatic revelation in a


sense


that


reminds one of Browning'


Fra Lippo Lippi or


Andrea del Sarto.


Joseph


a character fully drawn in


a few


lines,


a character who


deeply human.


The play is a comedy in the sense that life for


a faithful


Christian must be


a "comedy.


And finally,


the play closes by putting in


the mouth of Joseph the simplest,


most beautiful stanza in the cycle.


have written it would be


a credit to any


English dramatist:


what I


am as


light


as lynde


he that may


And


both lows


euery mys


e and bynde,


amend,


leyn me


grace,


power


, and myght,


My wyfe and hir


To kepe,


to m


swete
y lyfys


young wight
ende. (11.


368-373)


There


is skillful handling of mood in the


plays of the New Testament


which we have


seen


so far.


The plays follow


one another in


a rhythm


changing emotional climates,


besides being logically connected one with


another.


Salutacio,


the next play,


has had its order in the cycle


"fore-


warned"


: Gabriel,


in the Annunciation,


had told Mary of the conception


of John the Baptist:


Elesabeth,


thi Cosyn,


that


is cald geld,


She has conceyffed


a son in


elde,


zac ary.


134-136)


The Salutation


is short,


only ninety


lines.


There


is no divergence from


the Biblical


account,


and only


a few words of female


"small talk"


are


fl 'I 1 tf1 LA ~V fl Ti crnnll hrnlrrl lnnn'rthi


10 nn 4 r nnnv nn+ +n +Thc mcP+a


.1


lu 1 I-


nrrn







with rant and bombast,


orders and threats.


It is followed by the first


part of the Annunciation,


where God


speech


sets


grandeur and power


against


Caesar '


boasts (both,


for example,


send messengers)


. The


heavenly


scene


gives way


to earthly comedy,


as Joseph frets about Mary.


Yet Joseph's

and dignity.


long speech changes the mood from comedy to one of nobility

The quiet note on which the Annunciation ends carries through


the Salutation to shift again,


this time to the rambunctious action of the


First Shepherds' Play.


The two Shepherds


Plays pose one of the cycle's most


vexing


prob-


lems,


simply because


we have two plays covering the same material.


Many solutions have been proposed,


all of which remain conjectural.


Were


the plays,


for example,


interchange able,


so that either might be


used


If the first play


was


an older,


superseded


one,


why does it


remain in the manuscript


Martial Rose,


believing that the cycle


was


performed over three days,


thinks that Prima Pastorum end


ed the first


of playing,


and that Secunda Pastorum began the second.


His theory


is not unreasonable,


but it still offers no reason why there should be two


plays about the birth of Christ,


any more than two Crucifixions,


the play


with which (he theorizes) the second day ended.


An examination of the


MS by


Louis


Wann shows


Sevidences of hard usage" in parts of the Second


Shepherds; these and


a few


other places are


"in contrast with the compar-


actively clean and apparently


little -handled


pages of the remainder of the




80


revisions or new material should be more marked up than the pages the


players had long since memorized.


The theory might then be proposed


that the Secunda Pastorum was a later substitute,


and the


Prima Pas-


torum


was


retained,


either by mistake or in anticipation of the possibility


that it might one day be used again.


Unfortunately for the theory,


if the


worn


passages


are additions or revisions,


they are skillfully done,


since,


with one exception,


there is no change


in verse form before or after the


lines in the worn places.


The existence of two Shepherds


Plays,


otherwise


a frustrating prob-


lem,


is of advantage


in proving that the cycle should be considered


as an


artistic whole.


As J. D.


Hurrell


says,


"It is possible to combat the


argument that medieval drama is formless without invoking a conscious


desire on the part of the dramatists for a form;


to do this if one is

separable entities.


at least,


willing to abandon the idea that form ar


as I have contended,


it is possible

nd content are


the material of the cycle


carried its own,


widespread,


generally understood


interpretation,


then


either play should fit into the typological framework of the cycle.


us therefore study both plays,


and be glad that a touchstone for the theory


is available.


Prima Pastorum


contains a counterargument for those who would


maintain that typological


exegesis


was beyond the ready understanding of


the audience,


because the three rough shepherds of the play do some







remission of the sin of Adam.


The shepherds then begin a miniature


Processus Prophetarum,


citing Isaiah,


recalling David,


the root of


esse,


Sybil,


Nebuchadnezzar,


and the fiery furnace.


Of the fourth young


man who appeared in the flames,


our


"rude"'


shepherd


says,


That fygure


Was gyffen by reualacyon
That god wold haue a son;
This is a good lesson,


Vs to consydure.


54-358)


The last two


lines,


especially,


sound like just the sort of remark that


would


preface the interpretation of


a text in a sermon.


The third shep-


herd can add Jeremiah and Moses,


and the first shepherd interprets the


bush,


burning but unconsumed,


before which Moses knelt,


as a type of


Mary


s virginity:


Tercius pastor.


Where he


sagh


hym


Of hym spake leromy
by / a bushe burnand


and moyses also,


when he cam to aspy
Vnburnyd was it truly


if it were


at commyng therto,


wonder.


primus pastor.


That was for to


hir holy vyrgynyte,
That she vnfylyd should be,


Thus can I ponder.


359-3


The second shepherd cites Habakuk,


Elias,


Elizabeth,


Zach arias,


David,


John the


Baptist,


and Daniel


as prophets of the Incarnation.


The first


shepherd


even quotes two lines from


Virgil's Fourth Eclogue,


a citation


which makes the second shepherd mock his Latin.


If these lines indicate


the audience's general familiarity with Biblical exegesis,


their


level of




82


Prima Pastorum concerns itself mainly with the theme of reality


illusion.


In fact,


it is not overly sophisticated to


that the play


about being and non-being.


On the social level,


this contrast is


expressed


in terms of rich and poor,


on the level of


grace,


in terms of the faithful


and sinners.


Up to the angel'


song,


the whole play


is centered on things


which do not


exist:


the sheep which cause Gib and John to quarrel; the


meal which is not in Slow-pace


s sack;


perhaps even,


as A.


Cawley


suggests,


an imaginary meal.


The three of them cannot even decide


if the ale bottle


is empty:


primus pastor.


Godys forbot,


thou spart


and thou drynk


euery deyll.


iijus pastor.


Thou has dronken


a quart


therfor choke the


the deyll.


primus


pastor.


Thou rafys;


And it w


Ther


ere fo


r a sogh


is drynk enough.


271-275)


The number of containers used or spoken of in the play is overwhelming:


bottles,


boxes,


sacks,


panniers,


gourd s,


and bags.


The typology of the


play


is the key to the symbolism of its first part:


the figure of the burning


bush,


explained by Gib,


is a type of Mary.


That


"Singular Vessel of


Devotion" had been hailed by


Elizabeth in the play just ended:


Blyssed be thou of


all women,


And the fruyte that I well ken,


Within the wombe of the.


(Salutacio,


1-33)


same


play ends with the words:


ffarew


ell now,


thou frely foode


I pray the be of


comfort goode,


vs.







through the next play,


Prima Pastorum.


Man


as a vessel


was


a familiar


Scriptural metaphor.


In Psalm


22 (21


in the


Vulgate numbering),


one of


the most important Messianic psalms,


is the line,


"My strength is poured


out like water.


The figure


is a favorite with St.


Paul,


who


says,


"But


to each one of us


grace


was


given according to the measure of Christ'


bestowal.


. He who descended,


he it


is who ascended also above all


the heavens


, that he might fill all things"


(Eph.


4:7,


Again,


S"Have


this mind in you

nature God, did

emptied himself,


which was also in Christ Jesus,


who though he was by


not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to,


taking the nature of


a slave and being made like unto


men"


(Phil.


There is a sustained use of the


metaphor in


Timothy,


0-21,


"But in


a great house there are vessels not only of


gold and


silver,


but also of wood and clay; and some are for honorable uses,


some for ignoble.


anyone,


therefore,


has cleansed himself from these,


he will be


a vessel


for honorable use,


sanctified and useful to the


Lord,


ready for


every


good work.


The metaphor of the vessel being emptied


was


connected with the


Incarnation


very


early,


following St. Paul,


and was embedded in conciliar


statements on the Creed as well.


The so-called


"Tome of Leo,


" the


twenty-eighth


epistle of St.


Leo I,


Pope from 440 to 461


was


adopted by the Council of Chalcedon,


and thereby became


"the one repre-


tentative of Western theology in the official documents of the Ecumenical


,.


A.D







was


human,


not diminishing what


was


divine; because that


'emptying of


himself' whereby the Invisible made himself visible,


and the Creator


and Lord of all


things willed to be one among mortals


, was


a stooping


down of


compassion,


Like Christ,


a failure of power.


the Christian must empty himself of pride.


In their


complaints


about society


, the first two shepherds


have singled out the


proud:


ffor he
When it


that m
comy;


ost m


When he


on assay


syttys in pryde,


is kesten down


wyde,


This


seyn


-14)


As John Home


says,


he will make


as prowde


a lord


as he


were,


With


a hede lyke


a clowde


ffelterd his


sp ekys


on lowde


with


a grym


ere


wold not haue trowde
As he glydys.
I wote not the better,


so galy in


ere


Nor wheder is
The lad or the


gretter,
master.


stowtly he


Yet the shepherds


strydys.


have their failin


64-72)


of which they must be emptied


before they


are


worthy to be filled,


as Mary


with Christ


s grace.


seems


an over-ingenious


reading


evidence can be drawn from


play itself that each shepherd has


a spiritual


emptiness,


a particular


need which


is filled in the Nativity scene.


Waller's sheep are dead


he prays


at the end of his lament,


Now if hap will grynde /
Send race.


god from his heuen







Mary answers Gib at the end of the play:


"He gyf you good


grace,


Tell


fourth of this


case"


490-491).


His afflictions are earthly ones;


him publish the news of Christ'


birth,


"this


case"


which makes his


"hard


case"


unimportant.


Slow-pace's need is indicated


in his name; line 492


must be directed to him:


"he spede you're


pase.


John Home


's need


greater--his charity is not yet perfected enough to allow him to pray


those who persecute him.


He says,


after his lament:


Bot god that all wrought


to the now


I say,


help that thay w


ere


brought


a better way


ffor thare


sawlys;


And send them good mendyng
With a short endyng,
And with the to be lendyng


When that thou calls.


75-81)


The note of sarcasm reveals itself in the line,


"With a short ending."


What his prayer should be


is shown in Mary'


final prayer for all the


shepherds:


"And graunt you


good


endyng"


493).


The answers to their


problems even rhyme with their needs,


making it very difficult to believe


is not deliberate.


The shepherds take the message to heart:


they promise to


"this


record


where


as we go"


495).


They


"mon all be restore


graunt it be so! (1.


496)


They


leave in joy,


with mirth and games


"To


lawde of this lam,


the type of Christ


as the Lamb of God,


a final


instance of the permeating influence,


and general knowledge,


of typology


in the cycle.







be shown.


From the first,


the main complaint of these shepherds,


is against the actions of the


proud.


The


"gentlery men"


are the objects


of the first shepherd's resentment.


He attributes the evils of maintenance


purveyance to the haughty:


"Ther shall corn


a swane


as prowde


a po


SMak's original attempt to defraud involves pride; coming up


to the shepherds,


says:


what


ich be


self and the


a yoman


same


/ I tell you, of the king;
sond from a great lordyng,


sich.


iy on you!
Out of my p


goyth hence
presence!


I must haue reueren


why,


who be


ich ?


01-207)


William M.


Manly


sees touches of Antichrist in the sheep-stealer.


Comic though Mak


Manly


is right in his perception of the diabolical


element in Mak's character.


In his night prayer,


he mocks Christ's last


words from


the Cross,


"Father,


into thy hands


I commend my spirit"


(Luke


23:46)


Mak,


in rather loose Latin,


says,


"Manus tuas commendo,


poncio pilato,


" giving his soul into the keeping of Pontius Pilate (11. 266-


267).


As will be seen later,


this


is practically equivalent to the contract


of Faust.


Mak then compounds his blasphemy by


saying,


"Cryst


crosse


me spede!"


Mak's spell on the sleeping shepherds shows his ability


a magician.


The associations of Mak with the devil


give


additional mean-


ing to


lines 63


-640,


the words of the angel:


Ryse,


hyrd men heynd


for now is he borne


Th+t choll tanlr ffrn +th f'vunrl


I


th~~ nA~m litI1 nrnP'







the two plots of the play:


the devil


is undone by Christ as the shepherds


overcome the trickery of Mak.


When the birth of Jesus


is announced


, the shepherds rehearse the


now-familiar prophecies,


this time in condensed form.


Still,


David and


Isaiah are cited,


and even the yearning of the patriarchs for mercy


recalled:


patryarkes


that has bene


prophety s


before,


Thay desyryd to haue sene


this chylde that is borne.


Thay ar


one full clene


/ that haue


thay


lorne.


692-695)


To the shepherds,


poor in spirit and


possessions,


is given the Savior.


we saw


in Chapter


these shepherds are types of the medieval Eng-


lish shepherd,


and,


by extension,


of the medieval


Christian.


To them has


been given the gift which David and Daniel longed for.


Coll,


Gib,


and Daw


bring presents for the child,


cycle plays themselves.


presents which are characteristic of the


Their gifts are simple and appropriate,


beneath the surface of simplicity


is a depth of meaning


Coll


gives


Jesus


a bob of cherries,


hand of the Christ Child,


"often called Fruit of Paradise.


suggests


A cherry,


the delights of the blessed.


held in the


Gib'


present


a bird:


"the bird form was employed to suggest the spiritual,


as opposed to the material.


This symbolism may be implied in the


pictures of the Christ Child holding a bird in His hand


or holding one tied


a string.''15


The third shepherd,


Daw (it may be significant that his


name


is David,


the principle type of Christ the King) brings him a tennis








From the pastoral (but not idyllic) world


of the Second Shepherds'


Play,


scene


shifts to the halls of power,


Herod' s court.


Herod'


place


in the


line of Satan


already been shown by verbal parallels,


traditionally his reputation can be described


as diabolical.


Two religious


lyrics from about the time of the composition of the Wakefield Cycle will


serve


as illustrations:


first,


from


"The Journey of the


Three Kings"


Herrod dvvd and went to hell,
i'- 4.'


their


yne


to wonny,


their yne to dwell,


And yne the depyste pytte he fell--
And their he ys ffor euer & ay.1


In "The


Three Kings and Herod,


" he


is specifically called


a devil:


that herowd dyd hem gylte-les derys


that fend


so fe


lle--


that


fend


so fell,


fowle mut hym befalle


that thus this chyldyrn martyred all.


Against Herod


are set the Magi.


The symbolism


of the shepherds


as the


ews


and the kings


as the Gentiles,


both worshipping Christ,


is empha-


sized by


similarities in action in the


two plays:


the kings


like the shep-


herds,


enter one-by-one and meet in an unlocalized place.


Like the


shepherds,


they recall a prophecy,


this time that of Balaam,


as they


follow the star.


They detour to meet Herod,


who has sent his messenger


to summon them.


The change to Herod's court provides another chance


for the playwright to bring in prophecies,


Finally finding the Child,


those of Isaiah and Micah.


the three kings are given the same command


that Mary


gave


to the shepherds:


to proclaim the story of the birth.







An angel warns them against returning to Herod,


and they depart.


The


final words of the play carry on the grand theme of Christ's opposition


to the rulers of the city of man,


the types of Lucifer:


Now


god till


vs his socoure send,


And he,


And
Saue v


that is withoutten end


shalb


s from fowndyng of the feynd,


ffor his pauste.

The Flight into Egypt intervenes


638-642)


as a lightly comic interlude between


the ominous threat of Herod'


anger in Oblacio Magorum,


and the mani-


festation of that anger in the massacre of the Holy


Innocents.


Joseph


again represented as a grumbling old man,


altogether human.


timid,


When the angel warns him,


a bit deceitful,


Joseph complains that he


does not know the


way


to Egypt,


and assured that God will lead him there,


he begins to bemoan his


age.


He is too old to


there,


too weak,


stiff.


All his objections center on himself.


Yet,


when Mary enters,


says,


my darlyng dere,


I am full wo for the! "


55-56)


he has been concerned for anyone besides himself,


this is the first we


hear of it.


There is the usual comic warning against marriage:


youngg


men,


bewar


, red I


/ wedyng makys me all wan" (11.


149-150).


In the midst of the humor,


however,


the thread


of the narrative is not


lost. The battle of Christ against the forces of the devil is drawing always

nearer, and we are not allowed to forget that the adversary has the power


of the world


on his side.


Herod is again described


as a fiend


11M ary,








the formulas


which indicate the sin of pride.


One of the phrases,


though,


has a definite allusion to Scripture.


Nuncius


says


that Herod


Kyng


Kyngys" and


"lord of lordyngs" (11.


7-38).


This particular appellation,


"King of kings


and Lord of lords,


occurs three times in Scripture,


in the New Testament: the Apocalypse


17:14,


19:16,


and I Timothy 6:15.


In the first of these we find,


"These will fight with the Lamb,


and the


Lamb will


overcome them,


for he is the Lord of lords,


and the King of


kings


Jesus Christ has


just been called


"lamb"


at line


of the


First Shepherds


Play.


The verse from


the Apocalypse therefore states


two things: it


says


that Herod has


committed the sin


of Lucifer,


taking


the honors


of God to himself,


and secondly,


that Jesus


, the Lamb of God,


will be the eventual


victor.


The identification


of lines


37 and


as an


allusion to this particular verse


Herod's


is strengthened by the description of


kingdoms:


Tuskane and turky,
All Inde and Italy,


Cec


yll and surry,


Drede hym and dowtys


from
from


paradise to padwa


egyp to mantua


to mownt flascon;


vnto kemp towne;


from sarceny to susa /
Both normondy and norw


to grece it abowne;
a / lowtys to his crowne.


(Magnus


Herodes,


42-49)


In all,


seventeen kingdoms are listed.


This particular number must be


intended to suggest the passage from the Apocalypse immediately pre-


ceding the description of the Lamb


as King of kings and Lord of lords:







blood


of the martyrs of Jesus.


And here is the meaning


for him who has wisdom.


The seven heads are seven mountains


upon which the woman sits; and they are


seven


kings;


. And


the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings


one purpose,


These have


and their power and authority they give to the beast.


These will fight


with the Lamb,


and the Lamb will overcome them,


for he


is the Lord


of lords


, and the King of kings,


and they who


are


with him


called


, and chosen,


and faithful.


(Apoc.


-14)


The Apocalypse refers to seventeen kings; Herod


is represented


as ruling


seventeen kingdoms.


This similarity might be coincidental were it not


for the conjunction of the verses of the kings with the verse praising the


Lamb in the same words Herod applies to himself.


A third reference to


the Apocalypse occurs in Herod's boast,


A hundreth thousand,


I watt


and fourty


ar slayn,


And four thousand; ther-at


me aght to be fayn;


Sich


a morder on


a flat


shall never be


agayn


. (11.


487-489)


The number of "those who were sealed"


(Apoc.


7:4),


one hundred and


forty-four thousand,


is associated with the murdered innocents in the


liturgy


of the time.


Herod,


who calls himself the


"cousin of Mahowne"


is the leader of the first assault of the forces of Lucifer on the


person of the Redeemer.


has already been mentioned,


Herod


is further associated with the


city of man:


the mothers of the murdered infants call to God with the same


words that the


Wakefield Abel used.


Abel,


struck by the hand of the


founder of the city of man,


had said,


"Veniance,


veniance,


lord,


I cry!"


(Mactacio Abel,


1. 328)


The three mothers in Magnus Herodes


say,




92


The soldiers and Herod belong to the line of murderers headed by Cain.


play


ends with multiple ironies:


a lyrical speech of rejoicing


is put


in the mouth of Herod,


who believes Jesus to be dead.


The tyrant who


boasts of having slain one hundred and forty-four thousand leaves with


the counsel,


"Be not too cruel.


The following play,


Purificacio Marie,


is shortened by the loss of


leaves from the manuscript.


From what remains,


though,


its approx-


imate function in the cycle can be determined.


The play is structured


like the Old


Testament plays which centered


on a single character.


this


case,


the central character


is Simeon,


who opens the play with a


prayer,


an opening like the Old Testament plays.


addresses God


as "Adonay,


In his pr


a name used thus far only by


'ayer, Simeon

Abraham.


The prayer continues with the kind of recapitulation seen in the Old


Testament plays:


the names of the prophets and patriarchs are recalled:


Bot yit I meruell,


both euyn and more,


Of old elders that w


wheder thay be


ere


safe or


before,
lorne.


where thay may be;


Abell,
David,


noye, and abraham,
daniell, and balaam,


And all other mo by name.

The thread of Providence is continued, the


9-15)


types of Christ are recalled,


and the earlier plays, being c

place in the long distant past,


constantlyy spoken of


as if they had taken


recede further and further.


A speech like


the following lines of Simeon breaks down the barriers of time:




93


The audience had seen Abraham on stage only an hour or two before


Simeon was speaking,


but now they are told that Abraham has


been dead


many


years.


The dramatist has solved the problem of making historical


characters alive and relevant by taking the viewer outside the stream of


time,


so to speak,


having him stand to one side,


and thereby making the


audience contemporaneous with each play in turn.


In the action of the cycle as a whole,


the Purification


serves


to stress


once again Christ's role as Redeemer.


What further functions the play


might have served are lost with the missing ending.

The next play of this group of pageants is taken from Luke 2:41-50,

the story of the finding of Jesus among the Doctors of the Law in the


Temple at Jerusalem.


as the play stands now,


Some of the beginning of the play has been lost,


it opens with the Doctors discussing the


prophecies of Isaiah.


When Jesus enters,


His answers to their questions


may


suggest


ministry


the reason why the Wakefield Cycle offers no plays on the


of Christ (unless the play of Lazarus,


found at the end of the


manuscript,


was acted in its proper place in the cycle).


dialogue for the slender account given by


Luke,


words spoken by Christ on other occasions.


To provide


the dramatist has used


For example,


when the


Doctors ask who this child might be,


Jesus answers,


"Certan,


syrs,


was


or ye,


And shall be after you"


79-80)


, a paraphrase of John


which reads,


"Amen,


amen,


to you,


before Abraham came to








the second:


you'ree neyghburs shall ye lofe


/ Right


as you're self truly"


127-128)


. He then comments,


"In this two bydyngys,


shall


ken,


/ hyngys all the law we aght to lere"


131-132).


These words para-


phrase Christ's answer to another Doctor of the Law,


recorded in


Matthew


37-40


, which ends,


"On these two commandments depend the


whole Law and the


Prophets.


Several unifying themes are evident in this whole group of


plays


concerned with the birth and childhood of Jesus.


First,


there


is an in-


sistence through all of them that the import of Christ'


understood.


birth be not mis-


The repetition of prophecies is intended to make it clear


that this


is the Messiah,


the Promised One.


Over and over again,


it is


stressed that the types have been fulfilled.


Secondly,


the dramatist


uses


Biblical material to focus on the reactions of men to this birth.


of man immediately strikes at Christ,

Lucifer becoming more and more diabc


The city


with the actions of the types of

)lical. There are only two possible


paths open to men now,


two paths that are followed


in the reactions of


two of the Doctors of the


Law to the words of Jesus.


Humility,


the virtue


of the citizens of the City of God,

ter, one not too proud to learn fr


Behald how he lege oure


is in the speech of the Secundus Magis-


om the mouths of infants:


laws,


And leryd neuer on booke to rede


fful sotell sawes,
And also true,


me thynk,


if we


says,


take hede.


181-184)


-. -- S


-- m


I r.... r








well more then


for all oure dede.


185-188)


In the light of


events to come,


his words are prophetic,


as the study of


the Passion plays in the next chapter will show.


From this unconscious prophecy in the Play of the Doctors,


the cycle


turns to conscious prophecy in Play


XIX,


John the Baptist.


This play


an important link between the two main sections of the cycle,


a climax all that has gone before,


bringing to


and summarizing what is to come.


though the New


Law begins,


in a sense,


with the


Incarnation,


the revela-


tion of that Law


is proclaimed in Christ's public life,


which begins in this


play.


John the


Baptist dramatically marks the juncture of Old and New


Testaments.


The opening of the play connects it,


structurally and thematically,


with the Old

Abraham, o


Testament:


r Simeon.20


John opens the play with a prayer,


as did Noah,


The Creation is told of in the first few


lines:


God,


that made both more and les,


Heuen and erth,


at his awne wyll,


And merkyd man to his lyknes,
As thyng that wold his lyst ffulfyll,
Apon the erth he send lightnes,
Both son and moyne lymett thertyll,
He saue you all from synfulnes. (11. 1-7)


He then


says,


"Emang prophetys then am I oone


" (1.


aligning himself


with the Old Testament figures. He elaborates on the hints given before,

predicting the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and relating Christ's suffer-


ing and death to the sin of Adam:







Yet where the prophets spoke of sorrow and longing,


John speaks of joy


and fulfillment.


At the end


of the play,


he rejoices in his duty to


"preche


both to more and les"'


(1. 273),


to make straight the way of the


Lord,


since the


long-awaited Savior has arrived.21


On a metaphoric level,


we also see the transformation from the Old


Law to


the New.


The Oil of Mercy has been one of the dominant metaphors


throughout the Old

foreshadowed is ir


Testament plays.


indicated by Jesus,


The plenitude which that figure

who comes to take Baptism from


John,


To whom


my fader has me


sent


With oyle and


creme that thou shal make


vnto that worth


sac


rament.


114-116)


In one


sense,


Baptism shall be the promised Oil of Mercy.


In another,


larger,


sense,


Christ'


whole life,


death,


and resurrection fulfill the


promise.


St. Jerome interprets it,


"The blood


of Christ has broken


the unyielding clutch of the devil.


He did not want to let go of us,


but the


Lord poured forth His blood


as the Oil of Mercy and through His blood


set us free.


In the same


scene


where this metaphor occurs,


a new one


begins.


John protests his unworthiness to baptize Christ,


knyght to baptyse his lord kyng,


saying,


/ My pauste may it not fulfyll"


127-


128).


This new metaphor,


that of Christ the knight,


assumes great


importance in the


Passion plays to come.


Finally,


a new theme


sounded.


Since the Savior has arrived,


man