22. The Smiths' Play: The Temptation


DEVIL:
Make room, I say, and let me gang!
Who makes here all this throng?
Get you gone, high may you hang
Upon a rope!
I fear I've waited far too long
To do a jape.

For since the first time that I fell
For my pride from Heaven to Hell,
Ever have I made my power to swell
Among mankind,
That I in dole might make them dwell,
There to be pained.

And surely, all that have come to light
Have come to me, by day and night;
And as I've planned, against my might
None may defend;
Miserable is mankind's plight
Without an end!

But of some man, some folk have said
How he shall suffer, and be dead,
And with his death to Heaven's stead
They shall be brought--
A tale told by an empty head:
I trust it not!

For I know all, and I have seen
The nobody that these men mean--
How he has in great trouble been
Since he was born;
And suffered trials hard and keen
Both even and morn.

And now, it is so brought about:
The object of their love, that lout,
To wilderness has wandered out,
Alone!  It's true;
To mar him now I have no doubt,
Between me and you.

Until now, he's protected been,
That by no means might I get in
His heart; now he's alone, I'll win
That heedless man,
And make him soon assent to sin,
If that I can.

He has fasted; that mars his mood.
Forty days, and without food.
If he be man of bone and blood
He hungers ill;
With gluttony I think it good
To know his will.

For thus will I of doubts be rid,
If Godhead be within him hid,
If he will do as I him bid
When I come near.
Never a deed he ever did
Would grieve him more!

Thou!  Wise man, and so well-read!
If thou possess, at all, Godhead,
Bid now that these stones be bread,
Here, on this ground.
Then they may feed thee in this stead--
And those around!

For thou hast fasted long and lean;
I wish now that some food were seen
For auld acquaintance, us between.
Yourself knows how!
There shall no man know what I mean
But I and thou.

JESUS:
My Father, who all sorrow can slake,
Honour evermore to thee I make!
And gladly I suffer, for thy sake,
Such villainy--
And thus temptations for to take
From my enemy.

Thou cursÚd wight, thy wits are wood.
It is written, it is understood,
A man feeds not his health and mood
With bread alone;
God's own words are spiritual food
For men, each one.

If I have fasted long, yet still
I feel no hunger yet so ill
That I will break my Father's will
In any degree.
Thy bidding I will not fulfil;
That warn I thee.

DEVIL:
Ah!  Such words no devil knows!
He's not hungry, I suppose.
Well, since thy Father, against all foes
May guard thee quite,
Let's see if thou alone may pose
Upon that height,

Upon that pinnacle perfectly.
Aha!  Now we go well, I see!
I shall try some vainglory
To make him fall.
If indeed God's son is he,
Know I shall!

Now, listen to me a little space.
If thou be God's son, full of grace,
Show some sign here, in this place
To prove thy might.
Let's see!  Fall down upon your face,
Here in my sight!

For it is written, we understand,
How God shall angels to thee send,
And they shall keep you in their hand
Wherever you go,
That thou shall on no stones descend
To hurt your toe.

And since thou can with peril flirt,
And fall, and do thyself no hurt,
Then tumble down, here, to the dirt,
To ease us both.
I warn thee, this deed nought avert!
I shall be wroth!

JESUS:
Let be, thou warlock, thy words vain.
For it is written, clear and plain,
"Thy God to tempt take thou no pain;
Make no discord;
No quarrel shall you ever maintain
Against thy Lord."

And therefore, know thou yet again,
That all thy tricks shall nothing gain.
Be subject to thy sovereign
By night and day.

DEVIL:
What!  This effort is in vain,
For all I say!

He proves to be a noble prize;
Therefore I must myself advise.
Now, since I may not in this wise
Make him my thrall,
I will attempt in covetise
To make him fall.

For sure, I shall not leave him yet.
Who is my master, that would I wit.
Myself ordained thee there to sit,
As thou knowst well.
It is as I have ordained it,
Yea, every deal.

Thus may thou see, since it is so,
That I am master of us two.
And yet, I grant thee, ere I go,
Without fail,
That if thou will assent me to,
It shall avail.

For all this world is mine to own:
Forest and field, tower and town.
If thou to me will but bow down
In word and heart--
As friend and guide to thee alone,
I'll take thy part.

Behold now, sir, and thou shalt see
Great kingdoms, and a great country.
All this will I give to thee
For evermore,
If but thou fall and honour me,
As I said ere.

JESUS:
Cease of thy saws, thou Satanas!
I grant nothing that thou asks.
To the pain of Hell I bid thee pass
Forever, so!
Thy misery shall ever last;
So swiftly, go!

No other power shall be thy meed,
For written it is, as all may read,
Thy Lord thou ought to dread indeed
And honour ay,
And serve Him in both word and deed
By night and day.

And since thou dost not as I tell,
I choose to let thee no more dwell;
I command thee, go to Hell
And keep thee there,
With fellowship of devils fell,
Forever more!

DEVIL:
Ah!  I dare not look, alas!
It is worse now than it was!
He shows me now what might he has;
High may he hang!
Follow quickly!  I must pass
To pains strong!

1 ANGEL:
Ah, mercy, Lord, what may this mean?
I marvel you endure this fiend;
This foul abuser, bold and keen,
Deceiving still--
When you his wickedness, I ween,
May waste at will!

I fear you are discomforted,
My Lord, by this fiend who has fled.

JESUS:
My angel dear, now, have no dread;
He does not grieve!
The Holy Ghost, indeed, me led;
Thus now believe.
For when the fiend shall these folk see,
Assailing them in each degree,
Their mirror may they make of me,
To stand still.
For overcome they shall not be,
Unless they will.

2 ANGEL:
Ah, Lord, what great humility
In you, in whom lies all mercy!
For evil, by your will worthy,
You may redress;
Yet three temptations patiently
You take express!

JESUS:
My blessing have they, with my hand,
Who patiently such trials withstand,
And all those who refuse to bend
Unto their foe.
I know my time is soon at hand;
Now I shall go.

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