John Skelton - WOEFULLY ARRAYED

WOEFULLY ARRAYED

[From the Fairfax MS. (which once belonged to Ralph Thoresby, and now forms part of the Additional MSS., 5465, in the British Museum), where it occurs twice,(fol. 76 and, less perfectly, fol. 86); collated with a copy written in a very old hand on the fly-leaves of Boetius de Discip. Schol. cum notabili commento, Daventrie, 1496, 4to. (in the collection of the late Mr. Heber), which has supplied several stanzas not in the Fairfax MS. It was printed from the latter, not very correctly, by Sir John Hawkins, Hist. of Music, ii. 89. I have followed the metrical arrangement of the MS. in the Boetius.]

WOEFULLY arrayed, <1>
My blood, man,
For thee ran,
It may not be nay'd:
My body blo and wan,
Woefully arrayed.

Behold me, I pray thee, with all thy whole reason,
And be not so hard-hearted, and for this encheason,
Sith I for thy soul sake was slain in good season,
Beguiled and betrayed by Judas' false treason; 10

Unkindly entreated,
With sharp cord sore fretted,
The Jews me threated,
They mowed, they grinned, they scorned me,
Condemned to death, as thou mayest see,
Woefully arrayed.

Thus naked am I nailed, O man, for thy sake!
I love thee, then love me; why sleepest thou? awake!
Remember my tender heart-root for thee brake,
With pains my veins constrained to crack: 20
Thus tugged to and fro,
Thus wrapped all in woe,
Whereas never man was so,
Entreated thus in most cruel wise,
Was like a lamb offered in sacrifice,<2>
Woefully arrayed.

Of sharp thorn I have worn a crown on my head,
So pained, so strained, so rueful, so red;
Thus bobbed, thus robbed,<3> thus for thy love dead,
Unfeigned I dained<4> my blood for to shed: 30
My feet and hands sore
The sturdy nails bore;
What might I suffer more
Than I have done, O man, for thee?
Come when thou list, welcome to me,
Woefully arrayed.

<5>

Of record thy good Lord I have been and shall be;
I am thine, thou art mine, my brother I call thee
Thee love I entirely; see what is befall me!
Sore beating, sore threating, to make thee, man, all free: 40
Why art thou unkind?
Why hast not me in mind?
Come yet and thou shalt find
Mine endless mercy and grace;
See how a spear my heart did
race,
Woefully arrayed.

Dear brother, no other thing I of thee desire
But give me thine heart<6> free to reward mine hire:
I wrought thee, I bought thee from eternal fire;
I pray thee array thee toward my high empire 50
Above the orient,<
7>
Whereof I am regent,
Lord God omnipotent,
With me to reign in endless wealth;
Remember, man, thy soul's health.

Woefully arrayed,
My blood, man,
For thee ran,
It may not be nay'd:
My body blo and wan, 60
Woefully arrayed.

Explicit qd. Skelton

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