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years after they appeared in their English dress. Their language is considerably modernized, a process constantly going on where transcription is the means of transmission—not to mention that the actors would of course make many changes to the speech of their own time. I shall modernize it a little further, but only as far as change of spelling will go. .

The first of the course is The Creation. God, and angels, and Lucifer appear. That God should here utter, I cannot say announce, the doctrine of the Trinity, may be defended on the ground that he does so in a soliloquy ; but when we find afterwards that the same doctrine is one of the subjects upon which the boy Jesus converses with the doctors in the Temple, we cannot help remarking the strange anachronism. Two remarkable lines in the said soliloquy are these :

And all that ever shall have being
It is closed in my mind.

The next scene is the Fall of Man, which is full of poetic feeling and expression both. I must content myself with a few passages.

Here is part of Eve's lamentation, when she is conscious of the death that has laid hold upon her.


Alas that ever that speech was spoken

That the false angel said unto me!
Alas! our Maker's bidding is broken,

For I have touched his own dear tree.
Our fleshly eyes are all unlokyn,

Naked for sin ourself we see;
That sorry apple that we have sokyn

To death hath brought my spouse and me.





When the voice of God is heard, saying,

Adam, that with my hands I made,

Where art thou now? what hast thou wrought ?

Adam replies, in two lines, containing the whole truth of man's spiritual condition ever since:

Ah, Lord ! for sin our flowers do fade:

I hear thy voice, but I see thee nought. The vision had vanished, but the voice remained; for they that hear shall live, and to the pure in heart one day the vision shall be restored, for “they shall see God." There is something wonderfully touching in the quaint simplicity of the following words of God to the woman :

Unwise woman, say me why
That thou hast done this foul folly,
And I made thee a great lady,

In Paradise for to play? As they leave the gates, the angel with the flaming sword ends his speech thus :

This bliss I spere from you right fast; bar.

Herein come ye no more,
Till a child of a maid be born,
And upon the rood rent and torn,
To save all that ye have forlorn, lost.

Your wealth for to restore.

Eve laments bitterly, and at length offers her throat to her husband, praying him to strangle her:

Now stumble we on stalk and stone;
My wit away from me is gone ;
Writhe on to my neck-bone

With hardness of thinę hand.

Adam replies—not over politely

Wife, thy wit is not worth a rush ;

and goes on to make what excuse for themselves he can in a very simple and touching manner :

Our hap was hard, our wit was nesche, soft, weak, still in use

To Paradise when we were brought : [in some provinces. My weeping shall be long fresh;

Short liking shall be long bought. pleasure.

The scene ends with these words from Eve :

Alas, that ever we wrought this sin !
Our bodily sustenance for to win,
Ye must delve and I shall spin,

In care to lead our life,

Cain and Abel follows; then Noah's Flood, in which

God says,

They shall not dread the flood's flow;

then Abraham's Sacrifice; then Moses and the Two Tables; then The Prophets, each of whom prophesies of the coming Saviour; after which we find ourselves in the Apocryphal Gospels, in the midst of much nonsense about Anna and Joachim, the parents of Mary, about Joseph and Mary and the birth of Jesus, till we arrive at The Shepherds and The Magi, The Purification, The Slaughter of the Innocents, The Disputing in the Temple, The Baptism, The Temptation, and The Woman taken in Adultery, at which point I

for the sake of the remarkable tradition embodied in the scene—that each of the woman's accusers thought Jesus was writing his individual sins on the ground. While he is writing the second time,



the Pharisee, the Accuser, and the Scribe, who have chiefly sustained the dialogue hitherto, separate, each going into a different part of the Temple, and soliloquize thus :

Pharisee. Alas! alas! I am ashanied !

I am afeared that I shall die ;
All my sins even properly named

Yon prophet did write before mine eye.
If that my fellows that did espy,

They will tell it both far and wide ;
My sinsul living if they outcry,

I wot not where my head to hide.
Accuser. Alas! for sorrow mine heart doth bleed,

All my sins yon man did write ;
If that my fellows to them took heed,

I cannot me from death acquite.
I would I were hid somewhere out of sight,

That men should me nowhere see nor know;
If I be taken I am aflyght

afraid. In mekyl shame I shall be throwe.

much. Scribe. Alas the time that this betyd !

Right bitter care doth me embrace.
All my sins be now unhid,

Yon man before me them all doth trace.
If I were once out of this place,

To suffer death great and vengeance able, 1
I will never come before his face,

Though I should die in a stable.


Upon this follows The Raising of Lazarus ; next The Council of the Jews, to which the devil appears as a Prologue, dressed in the extreme of the fashion of the day, which he sets forth minutely enough in his speech also. The Entry into Jerusalem ; The Last

1 Able to suffer, deserving, subject to, obnoxious to, liable to death and vengeance.

Supper; The Betrayal ; King Herod ; The Trial of Christ; Pilate's Wife's Dream come next; to the subject of the last of which the curious but generally accepted origin is given, that it was inspired by Satan, anxious that Jesus should not be slain, because he dreaded the mischief he would work when he entered Hades or Hell, for there is no distinction between them either here or in the Apocryphal Gospel whence the Descent into Hell is taken. Then follow The Crucifixion and The Descent into Helloften called the Harrowing of Hellthat is, the making war upon or despoiling of hell, for which the authority is a passage in the Gospel of Nicodemus, full of a certain florid Eastern grandeur. I need hardly remind my readers that the Apostles' Creed, as it now stands, contains the same legend in the form of an article of faith. The allusions to it are frequent in the early literature of Christendom.

The soul of Christ comes to the gates of hell, and says:

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1 The word harry is still used in Scotland, but only in regard to a bird's nest.

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