<h>The York Hosiers' Play: Moses and Pharaoh
<d>The King’s Palace, Memphis
<c>Pharaoh Now, peace! I bid that no man pass, But keep the course that I command. And take good heed to him that has Your life all wholly in his hand. King Pharaoh my father was, Who led the nobles of this land. I am now a man, as age will ask, And in his stead shall ever stand. All Egypt is my own To lead, and by my law. I will my might be known, As it should, and held in awe.
Therefore, as king I order, "Peace!" To all the people in this empire. None must assert himself, unless He do only as we desire. Your chattering I bid you cease; Attend to me, your sovereign sire, Who most your comfort may increase, Or, take your life, at my desire.
<c>Counsellor One My lord, if any there were That would not do your will, And we knew which they were, At once we should them kill.
<c>Pharaoh Throughout my kingdom, I would know, then, And could give thanks to those that tell, If any have so wicked been That would attempt our power to quell.
<c>Counsellor Two My lord, there is a group of men Who have much power, and who dwell Nearby: the Jews, here in Goshen, Who are named the children of Israel. They multiply so fast, That, truly, we believe Them likely, if they last, Your lordship to aggrieve.
<c>Pharaoh What the devil? What tricks have they begun? Have they the strength to make affrays?
<c>Counsellor One Those felonious folk, sir, first were found In King Pharaoh your father's days. They come of Joseph, Jacob's son- That was a prince worthy of praise!- And since then have flourished, every one; And now they may destroy our ways. They shall confound us clean Unless they quickly cease.
<c>Pharaoh What the devil does it mean, That they so fast increase?
<c>Counsellor Two How they increase we'll tell you then As our elders before us found, They numbered only sixty and ten When first they entered in this land. Since then, they've stayed here in Goshen Four hundred years, we understand; Now they are numbered, of mighty men, Well more than three hundred thousand, Not counting woman and child And servants, their cows to feed.
<c>Pharaoh So might we be beguiled; But it shall not be, indeed! For, with cunning we shall them quell, So that they shall no further spread.
<c>Counsellor One Lord, we have heard our fathers tell That, with good words, the clerics said That in their midst a man should dwell Who may us overthrow instead.
<c>Pharaoh Damn them to the Devil of Hell! Such a destiny we shall not dread. We shall force the midwives to spill them - When our Hebrews are born, All that are male, to kill them - They shall be overborne.
For of that man I have no awe. To them such bondage shall we bid To dig and delve, to bear and draw, And every such ignoble deed. Thus shall the lads behold the law, As wretches ever their lives to lead.
<c>Counsellor Two Surely, lord, this is a subtle saw; Thus shall the folk no further spread.
<c>Pharaoh Yes; help to hold them down, And no treason will we find.
<c>Counsellor One Lord, we are always bound In bondage them to bind.
<d>On the slopes of Mount Sinai
<c>Moses Great God, that all this ground began, And governs ever in good degree, That made me, Moses, born to man, And saved me then out of the sea - King Pharaoh had commanded then No sons of Hebrews spared should be; Against his will my life began. Thus has God shown his might in me. Now I am here to keep, Set under Sinai's side, The bishop Jethro's sheep, And fortune to abide.
Ah, mercy, God, great is your might; What may this sudden marvel mean? Yonder I see a wondrous sight, Where even now no sign was seen. A bush I see there, burning bright, And yet the leaves remaining green. Is it a work of man, this sight? I will not rest until I've seen.
<c>God Moses, come not too near, But still in that place dwell, And take heed to me here, And listen to what I tell.
I am the Lord, who well can make Your life, as I wish, long to last; And the same God that in old days spoke Unto your elders, ere they passed. Both Abraham and his son Isaac And Jacob, I said, should be blessed, And multiply, as prosperous folk, So their seed should not be oppressed. And now the King, Pharaoh, Binds all their children fast. If I permit him so, Their seed should soon be past.
A messenger I make of you To him that them so injured has, To warn him with words sound and true So that he let my people pass, That they to wilderness may go And worship me, as custom was. And if his answer should be no, His song full soon shall be "alas."
<c>Moses Ah, Lord, since, by your leave, The Egyptians love me not, Gladly they would me grieve If I this message brought.
Therefore, Lord, let some other try Who has more more force to make them fear.
<c>God Moses, be not afraid, I say, My bidding to boldly bear. If they with evil should defy, I shall protect you from all care.
<c>Moses Nay, Lord, for they will not trust me For all the oaths that I can swear. To tell such tidings new To folk of wicked will, Without a token true? They will not attend theretill.
<c>God And if they will not understand Nor take heed how I have you sent, Before the king cast down thy wand, And it shall seem a great serpent. Then, take the tail up in your hand, And lift it without worriment. In the first state as you it found, So shall it turn, by mine intent. Hide your hand in your shirt, And as a leper's it shall be like, Then, all whole and without hurt; Your signs shall be such like.
And if he will not free them then, To let my people pass in peace, I shall send vengeance nine or ten To pursue him sorely, ere I cease. But the Jews that dwell now in Goshen Shall not be harmed, but shall have peace; While they obey my laws, I then Their comfort ever shall increase.
<c>Moses Ah, Lord, loved be your will That makes your folk so free; All this I shall them tell As you tell unto me.
But to the king, Lord, when I come, And he ask me what is your name, And I stand still then, deaf and dumb, How shall I be without blame?
<c>God I say this: ego sum, qui sum. I am he that I am the same. And though you might not speak, yet from All sin I'll guard you, and all shame.
<c>Moses I understand this thing With all the might in me.
<c>God Be bold in my blessing; Your armor I shall be.
<c>Moses Ah, Lord of life, teach me your lore, That I these tales may truly tell.
Unto my people I will fare The chosen children of Israel, To tell them comfort of their care, And of their danger that they in dwell. God maintain you and me evermore, And may all mirth among you swell.
<d>The land of Goshen
<c>Youth One Ah, Moses, master dear, Our mirth is all mourning In our oppression here, As slaves beneath the king.
<c>Youth Two Moses, mourning we are in; There is none us mirthful makes. But since we all are of one kin, Teach us some comfort in this case.
<c>Moses End now all this grief you're in; From foes, God will defend your ways. Out of this woe he shall you win To please him in a plentiful place. I shall go to the king And strive to make you free.
<c>Youth Three God send us good tiding, And always with you be.
<d>The King’s Palace, Memphis
<c>Moses King Pharaoh! To take tent.
<c>Pharaoh Why? What tidings can you tell?
<c>Moses From God of Heaven I am sent To fetch his folk of Israel; To wilderness he would they went.
<c>Pharaoh Yah! Go you to the Devil of Hell! I find no force what you have meant, For in my power they must dwell. And, liar, for your sake, They shall be put to pain.
<c>Moses Then God will vengeance take On thee, and on all thine.
<c>Pharaoh Why, curse you, lad! Out of my land! Think you with tricks our law to sway? Whence comes this warlock with his wand That thus would steal our folk away?
<c>Counsellor Two This is Moses; we understand Against all Egypt he is ay. Your father great fault in him found; Now he'll destroy you if he may.
<c>Pharaoh Nay, nay; that dance is done. That scoundrel learned too late.
<c>Moses God bids you grant my boon, And let me go my way.
<c>Pharaoh God bids me? False scoundrel, what lies! What token tells me his intent?
<c>Moses Yes, sir, he said you would despise Both me and all his commandment. "In your presence cast, in this wise, My wand," he said, by his assent, And then you would be well advised
It shall turn into a serpent. And in his holy name, Here shall I lay it down. Lo, sir; see here the same.
<c>Pharaoh Ah! Dog! The Devil you drown!
<c>Moses He said that I should take the tail, That I may prove his power plain; And soon, he said, it should not fail To turn into a wand again. Lo, sir, behold.
<c>Pharaoh Now, ill-hail! He's cunning, this one; yet I ordain These boys shall stay here in their jail. These tricks for them shall nothing gain. But worse, both morn and noon, Shall they fare, for your sake.
<c>Moses May God send vengeance soon; May his wrath on you awake.
<d>Exit Moses to goshen
<c>Egyptian One Alas! Alas! This land is torn; On life we cannot now depend!
<c>Egyptian Two Such great misfortune comes this morn, No medicine may it amend.
<c>Counsellor One We rue the day that we were born, Sir King; our bliss is at an end.
<c>Pharaoh Why cry you so? What is this scorn?
<c>Egyptian One Such care we cannot comprehend Our water, that was ordained For man and beast as food, Throughout all Egypt's land Is turned into red blood. Now ugly and defiled is it, That was so fair and fresh before.
<c>Pharaoh This wonder does amaze my wit, Among all works that ever were.
<c>Egyptian Two No, lord, there is another yet That suddenly afflicts us sore For toads and frogs come, without let; Their venom kills us, more and more.
<c>Egyptian One Lord, these gnats, by morn and noon, Bite us full bitterly; And we fear all is done By Moses, our enemy.
<c>Counsellor One Lord, while these Hebrews live, believe We'll not escape from this sorrow.
<c>Pharaoh Go, say we must no longer grieve (But nonetheless, they shall not go).
<c>Egyptian Two Moses, my lord has given leave To lead your folk away, and so We shall from plagues have some reprieve.
<c>Moses These words deceive, too well I know, That soon this shall be seen. With confidence I say If malice he does mean, More plagues shall him assay.
<c>Egyptian One Lord, alas, in pain we die; We dare not look out of the door!
<c>Pharaoh What devil makes you so to cry?
<c>Egyptian Two We fare now worse than ever before! Great flies, over all this land they fly, And with their biting hurt us sore.
<c>Egyptian One Lord, our beasts lie dead and dry Upon the dungheap and the moor The ox, the horse, the ass Fall down dead, suddenly!
<c>Pharaoh With that, no man harm has A half as much as me.
<c>Counsellor Two Yes, lord, poor men indeed have woe To see their cattle dead and lost. The Jews in Goshen fare not so; It seems their lives in comfort last.
<c>Pharaoh Go; say we give them leave to go Until these perils all have passed (But before too far they go We'll rope them in, four times as fast!).
<c>Egyptian Two Moses, my lord gives leave Your people to remove.
<c>Moses He shall have more cause to grieve If this is not the truth.
<c>Egyptian One Ah, Lord! We cannot lead this life!
<c>Pharaoh Why? Is there grievance grown again?
<c>Egyptian Two Such ash, lord, does upon us drive; It causes boils where it does rain.
<c>Egyptian One Like lepers it makes men and wives, And then we're torn by hail, and rain; Our vines in the mountains cannot thrive; They are threshed, and thunder-slain.
<c>Pharaoh How do they in Goshen, The Jews? Well, can you say?
<c>Egyptian Two This has not harmed those men; They feel no such affray.
<c>Pharaoh No? Devil! And sit they so, in peace, And we, each day in doubt and dread?
<c>Egyptian One My lord, this care will ever increase Until Moses has leave them to lead.
<c>Counsellor One Lord, if they went, then it would cease; So we should save us and our seed. We are otherwise lost, with no release.
<c>Pharaoh Let him go forth; the Devil him speed (His folk should not go far, Though he were raving mad).
<c>Counsellor Two Things shall be worse than they are, But their going is not so bad.
<c>Egyptian Two Ah, Lord! New harm is come to hand!
<c>Pharaoh No! Devil! Will it no better be?
<c>Egyptian One Wild worms are laid over all this land; They leave no fruit nor flower on tree. Against that storm may nothing stand.
<c>Egyptian Two Lord, there is more, it seems to me; For three days now it has been found Such gloom that none can rightly see.
<c>Egyptian One My lord, great pestilence Is likely long to last.
<c>Pharaoh Oh, comes that in our presence? Then is our pride all past.
<c>Egyptian Two My lord, this vengeance lasts too long, And must, until Moses has his boon.
<c>Counsellor One Lord, let them go, or we do wrong; No help is in delay; act soon!
<c>Pharaoh Go; say we give them leave to be gone, In the Devil's name, since it must be done (For it may be we'll come upon Them all, to slay them tomorrow ere noon).
<c>Egyptian One Moses, my lord has said Your passage shall be clear.
<c>Moses To go, I am well paid. My friends, be of good cheer;
For at our will we now shall go, To dwell within the Promised Land.
<c>Youth One That felonious fiend, the King Pharaoh, Will be enraged, when on each hand This is known; he'll soon follow, And all his armies he will send.
<c>Moses Be not afraid; from every foe God will protect you; he is your friend. Therefore, come forth with me. Be silent, and fear not.
<c>Youth Two My Lord, loved may you be; From bale you have us brought.
<c>Youth Three Such friendship never before we found, But still, misfortunes may befall. The Red Sea is right near at hand; There we must wait, and be made thrall.
<c>Moses I shall make us a way, with my wand, For God has said, save us he shall. On either side, the sea shall stand, Until we have gone, just like a wall. Therefore, have no dread; Try always your God to please.
<c>Youth One The Lord to land us leads; Now wend we all at ease.
<d>The Red Sea parts and the Children of Isreal cross over
<c>Egyptian One King Pharaoh, the folk are gone.
<c>Pharaoh Now tell me, is there any news?
<c>Egyptian Two The Hebrews all are gone, each one.
<c>Pharaoh What do you say to that?
<c>Egyptian One It's true.
<c>Pharaoh Harness the horses! See it done; This outrage they shall swiftly rue. We shall not cease before they're slain; Right to the sea we shall pursue. Go; load our chariots now, And quickly follow me.
<c>Egyptian Two Lord, to your will we bow; At your bidding shall we be.
<c>Counsellor Two Lord, to your bidding we are bound; Our bodies boldly for to bid We'll not abide, but ding them down 'Till all be dead, without dread.
<c>Pharaoh Heave up your hearts to great Mahound; He will be near us in our need.
<d>The Red Sea closes over the Egyptians
Ah! Help! By the Devil, I drown!
<c>Egyptian One Alas! We all die for this deed!
<c>Youth One Now we are won from woe, And saved from out of the sea; Cantemus domino; To God a song sing we.