To sing of it we’re bound

The Second Shepherd’s Play Scene 8 
(Medieval mystery play, 15th century)

The stable or manger in Bethlehem The shepherds enter and kneel before the Virgin and Child.

First Shepherd

Hail, comely and clean, hail, young child. Hail Maker as I mean, born of maiden so mild! Thou hast banned I deem the devil so wild. The evil beguiler now goes beguiled.

(pointing to the Child)

Lo, Merry He is! Lo, he laughts, my sweeting, A welcome greeting!

(offering the Child some cherries)


Second Shepherd

Hail, sovereign Savior, for Thou hast us sought! Hail Nursling, leaf and flower, that all things hath wrought! Hail, full of favor, that made all of nought!

(offering a bird)

Hail, I kneel and I cower-A bird have I brought. Without mar. Hail, little tiny mop, Of our creed thou art the crop; I would drink from thy cup, Little day-star.

Third Shepherd

Hail darling dear, full of godhead! I pray The be near when that I have need. Hail! Sweet is Thy cheer! And my heart must bleed To see Thee sit here clothed so poor indeed, With no pennies. Hail! Thy hand put forth to us all—I bring thee but a ball; take and play with it withall, And go to the tennis.

The Virgin Mary

The father of heaven, God omnipotent, That set all aright, his son has He sent. My name He chose forth, and on me his light spent; And I conceived Him forthwith through His might as God meant; And now is the Child born, May He keep you from woe! I shall pray him so. Till the glad news as ye go, And remember this morn.

The First Shepherd

Farewell, Lady, so fair to behold. With thy child on thy knee.

Second Shepherd

But he lies full cold Lord it is well with me! Now we go as ye behold.

Third Shepherd

In truth already it seems to be told Full oft—

First Shepherd

What grace we have found.

Second Shepherd

Come forth! Now we are won!

Third Shepherd

To sing of it we’re bound: Let us sing aloft!

(they leave the stable singing)

-Source:pp.123-127. Medieval and Tudor Drama, ed. John Gassner, Bantam 1963. Found online here.

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