THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
gather from the four great cycles a few of the most interesting passages.
From the so-called " Ludus Coventriae" I take the arrival of Joseph and Mary at Bethlehem ; they ask a man in the street where they may find an inn :—
" 'Joseph. Heyl, wurchepful sere, and good day ! A ceteceyn of this cyte' ye seme to be ; Of herborwe * ffor spowse and me I yow pray, fFor trewly this woman is fful were,
And fayn at reste, sere, wold she be ;
We wolde fFulfFylle the byddynge of oure emperoure, ffor to pay tribute, as right is oure, And to kepe oureselfe from dolowre, We are come to this cyte.
Gives. Sere, ostage in this towne know I non,
Thin wyff and thou in for to slepe ; This cete is besett with pepyl every won,
And yett thei ly withowte fful every strete.
Withinne no walle, man, comyst thou nowth,
Be thou onys + withinne the cyte' gate ; Onethys \ in the strete a place may be sowth,
Theron to reste, withowte debate.
Joseph. Nay, sere, debate that wyl I nowth ;
Alle suche thyngys passyn my powere : But yitt my care and alle my thought
Is for«Mary, my derlynge dere.
A ! swete wyff, wat xal we do ?
Wher xal we logge this nyght ? Onto the ffadyr of heffne pray we so,
Us to kepe from every wykkyd whyt.
Gives. Goo,1 man, o word I wyl the sey,
If thou wylt do by the counsel of me ; Yondyr is an hous of haras § that stant be the wey,
Amonge the bestys herboryd may ye be.
* Lodging. J Scarcely.
f Once. § Horses. Hous of haras = stable.