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Seventeenth Century

Eighteenth Century



Woodcut of Christ and the Cross from Lydgate's Testament (Pynson, 1513?)

from Lydgate's Testament


Behoold, O man, left up thyn eye and see,
      What mortal peyne I suffryd for thy trespace,
With pitous voys I crye and sey to the,
      Behoold my woundys! behoold my bloody face!
Behold the rebukys that do me so menace,
      Behold myn enmyes that do me so despise,
And how that I, to refourme the to grace,
      Was lik a lamb offryd in sacrifise!

Behold the paynemys of whom I was take!
      Behold the cordys with which that I was bounde!
Behold the armwrys which made myn herte quake!
      Behold the gardyn in which that I was founde!
Behold how Judas took thrytty penyes rounde!
      Behoold his tresour! behold his covetise!
Behold how I, with many a mortal wounde,
      Was lyk a lamb offryd in sacrifise!

See my disciple which that hath me sold,
      And see his feyned fals salutacioun,
And see the mony which that he hath told,
      And see his kissyng of fals decepcioun;
Behold also the compassyd fals tresour,
      Take as a theef with lanternys in there guyse,
And aftirward for mannys redempcioun,
      Was like a lamb offryd in sacrifise.

Behold to Caiphas how I was presentyd,
      Behold how Pilat list geve me no respyt,
Behold how bisshopis wer to my deth assentyd,
      And se how Herowd had me in despit.
And lik a fool how I was clad in whit,
      Drawen as a feloun in moost cruel wyse,
And last of alle I, aftir ther delit,
      Was lik a lamb offryd in sacrifise.

Behold the mynystrys which had me in keepyng,
      Behold the piler and the roopis stronge,
Wher I was bounde my sides doun bleedyng,
      Moost felly beete with ther scoorgis longe;
Behold the batail that I did undirfonge,
      The bront abydyng of there mortal emprise,
Thoruhe ther accusyng and ther sclaundrys wronge,
      Was like a lamb offryd in sacrifise.

Behold and see the hatful wrecchidnesse
      Put ageyn me, to my confusioun,
Myn eyen hyd and blyndid with derknesse,
      Bete and eek bobbid by fals illusioun,
Salwed in scorn by ther fals knelyng doun,
      Behold al this, and se the mortal guyse,
How I oonly, for mannys savacioun,
      Was lik a lamb offrid in sacrifise.

See the witnessis by whom I was deceyved!
      Behold the jugis that gafe my jugement!
Behold the cros that was for me devised!
      Behold my boody with betyng al to rent.
Behold the peeple which, of fals entent,
      Causelees did ageyns me rise,
Which lik a lamb of malys innocent,
      Was for mankynde offrid in sacrifise.

Behold the women that folwyd me aferre,
      That sore wepte whan I thus was assailed,
Behold the Jewys which, by there cruel werre,
      Han my body unto a cros i-nayled;
Behold my tormentys moost sharply apparailed,
      Attween too thevys put to my ...
Beholde how moche my deth hath eek avayled,
      That was for man offrid in sacrifise.

Behold the spere moost sharply grounde and whet,
      Myn herte woundid upon the rihte syde,
Behold the reed speer, galle, and eysel fett,
      Behold the scornyngis which that I did abyde,
And my five woundys that were maad so wyde,
      Which no man lyst of routh to advertise,
And thus I was of meeknesse ageyn pryde,
      To mannys offence offrid in sacrifise!

See my disciplis how they ha me forsake,
      And fro me fled almoost everychon,
See how thei sleepte and list nat with me wake,
      Of mortal dreed they lefft me al allon,
Except my moodir and my cosyn Seyn John,
      My deth compleynyng in moost doolful wise,
See fro my cros they wolde nevir gon,
      Fro mannys offence whan I did sacrifise.

See how that I was jugid to the deth,
      See Baraban goon at his liberté,
See with a speere how Longius me sleth,
      Behold too licoures distyllyng doun fro me,
See blood and watir, by merciful plenté,
      Rayle by my sides which auhte I nouhe suffise,
To man whan I upon the roode tre,
      Was lik a lamb offrid in sacrifise.

Behold the knyhtis which, by ther froward chaunce,
      Sat for my clothys at the dees to pleye!
Behold my moodir swownyng for grevaunce,
      Upon the cros whan she sauhe me deye!
Behold the sepulcre in which my boonys leye,
      Kept with strong watche tyl I did arrise!
Of helle gatys see how I brak the keye,
      And gaf for man my blood in sacrifise!

Ageyn thy pryde, behold my gret meeknesse!
      Geyn thyn envye, behold my charité!
Geyn thy lecherye, behold my chaast clennesse!
      Geyn thy covetise, behold my poverté!
Attween too theevys nayled to a tre,
      Railed with reed blood, they list me so disguyse,
Behold, O man! al this I did for the,
      Meek as a lamb offrid in sacrifise!

Behold my love, and gife me thyn ageyn,
      Behold I deyed thy raunsoun for to paye,
See how myn herte is open, brood, and pleyn,
      Thy goostly enmyes oonly to affraye,
An hardere batayl no man myhte assaye,
      Of alle tryumphes the grettest hihe emprise,
Wherfor, O man! no lenger the dismaye,
      I gaffe my blood for the in sacrifise!

Turne hoom ageyn, thy synne do forsake,
      Behold and see yif ouhte be lefft behynde,
How I to mercy am redy the to take,
      Gyff me thyn herte and be no mor unkynde;
Thy love and myn togidre do hem bynde,
      And let hem nevir parte in no wyse,
Whan thu wer lost thy soule ageyn to fynde,
      My blood I offryd for the in sacrifise.

Enprente this thynges in thyn inward thouhte,
      And grave hem deepe in thy remembraunce,
Thynk on hem weel and forgete hem nouhte,
      Al this I suffryd to do the allegeaunce;
And with my seyntis to yeve the suffisaunce,
      In the hevenly court for the I do devise,
A place eternal of al plesaunce,
      For which my blood I gaff in sacrifise.

And mor my mercy to putten at a preeff,
      To every synnere that noon ne shal it mys,
Remembre how I gafe mercy to the theeff,
      Which had so longe trespacyd and doon amys,
Went he nat freely with me to paradys;
      Ha this in mynde, how it is my guyse,
All repentaunt to bryng hem to my blys,
      For whom my blood I gaf in sacrifise.

Tarye no lenger toward thyn heritage,
      Hast on thy weye and be of rihte good cheere,
Go ech day onward on thy pilgrymage,
      Thynk how short tyme thu shalt abyde heer!
Thy place is biggyd above the sterrys cleer,
      Noon erthly paleys wrouhte in so statly wyse,
Com on my freend, my brothir moost enteer,
      For the I offryd my blood in sacrifise.

Lydgate, John. The Minor Poems. J. O. Halliwell-Phillips, ed.
      London: Percy Society, 1860. 259-264.

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