Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A mediaeval mystery play: Quem quaeritis?



As Easter is approaching, I thought it a good idea to publish this example of mediaeval religious drama, a so-called mystery play; Mystery plays take its themes from the Gospels and from an early period onwards they were used to dramatize certain stories, especially the Resurrection. 
In 1210 Pope Innocent III forbade clergymen to participate in these mystery plays and so the performance was taken over by laymen. This also resulted in the use of vernacular languages instead of Latin. Quite a few examples have survived
This play clearly belongs before that period as according to the stage directions three fratres must appear, clothed  as the tree Marias: Maria Magdalena, Maria the mother of James and Maria Salome.  I have been unable to find much information about this text, except that it appears in an Orleans manuscript of the 13th century, but the text must be older, maybe dating in its earliest form to the tenth century.
This text is not only an example of religious drama, but also of anti-Judaism.  Within the context of an Easter play this is hardly avoidable, as the New Testament holds Jewish leaders responsible for the crucifixion. However, it is there an accusation within an inner Jewish conflict: Jesus was a Jew, as well as the disciples – something which is often forgotten. As soon as non-Jews entered this initially messianistic Jewish sect, this accusation got other dimensions…


I found an edition of this text on internet. Badly scanned and with two parallel versions conflated in the scan as one e.g.: Sed nequimus hoc jjatere sine
adintorio ; qiiisnam saxum hoc revolvet
ab monumenti ostio ?
and: Ad monnmentum venimus gemeutes. Ad monumentum domini venimus ge-
angelum domini sedentem vidimus et mentes, angelum dei sedentem vidimus
dicentem quia surrexit Jhesus. et dicentem quod siirrexit a morte.
I have edited the text according to the version in K.P. Harrington Mediaeval Latin (Chicago 1925).  It took some time..

Mysterium resurrectionis Domini Nostri Ihesu Christi

Ad faciendam similitudinem dominici sepulchri,  primum procedant tres fratres, praeparati et vestiti in similitudinem trium Mariarum, pedetentim et  quasi tristes altemantes, hos versus cantantes :

faciendam: the gerundive is here used as a ppp.   Pedetentim(adv.)): slowly

PRIMA earum dicat :
Heu ! pius pastor occidit,
Quem culpa nulla infecit !
res plangenda !                               plango planxi plantum: to bewail
SECUNDA:
Heu ! verus pastor obiit,
Qui vitam Sanctis contulit !          vitam confero: to lead a life
O mors lugenda !                            lugeo luxi luctum: to mourn
TERTIA :
Heu ! nequam gens Judaica !       nequam (adv.): worthless
Quam dira frendens vesania !      frendo: to gnash                            vesania: madness
Plebs execranda !                              execror: to curse
PRIMA :
Cur nece pium impia                      nex necis (f.): death
Dampnasti Jhesum invida ?          dampnasi = damnasti                     invidus: hateful
O ira nefanda !                                nefandus: impious
SECUNDA :
Quid iustus hic promeruit              promereo promerui: to deserve
Quod crucifigi debuit ?
O gens dampnanda !
TERTIA :
Heu, quid agamus, miserae,
Dulci magistro orbatae ?              orbatus (+ dat.): bereft from
Heu ! sors lacrimanda !                sors sortis (f.): lot, misfortune
PRIMA ;
Eamus ergo propere,                     propere: quickly
Quod solum quimus facere,         queo quivi quitum: to be able
Mente devota.
SECUNDA :
Condimentis aromatum                               with spices from aromatic plants
Ungamus corpus sanctissimum ;                ungo unxi unctum: to anoint
Quo pretiosa.                                                 The more precious
TERTIA :
Nardi vetet commixtio,                                a mixture of nard-oil prevents
Ne putrescat in tumido                                putresco putrui: to begin to rot                tumidus: swelling
Caro beata.                                                    caro carnis (f.): flesh

Cum autem venerint in chorum, eant ad monumentum quasi quaerentes et cantentes omnes simul hunc versum.

quaero quaesivi quaesitum: to seek, look for     monumantum: grave

Sed nequimus hoc patere sine adiutorio ;               But we can’t open this without help.
quisnam saxum hoc revolvet  ab monumenti ostio ?          saxum: stone     ostium: mouth, entrance

Quibus respondeat angelus, sedens foris ad caput sepulchri, vestitus alba deaurata, mitra tectus caput, etsi deinfulatus, palmam in sinistra, ramum candelarum plenum tenens in manu dextra, et dicat moderata et admodum  gravi voce :

foris: outside      vestitus alba deaurata: clothed in white, full of gold          mitra: mitre
deinfulatus: with a fillet, headband          ramus: branch   admodum: very

Quern quaeritis in sepulchro,
o christicolae?                                 o worshippers of Christ

MULIERES :
Jesum Nazarenum ciiicifixum,
o coelicola !                                     inhabitant of heaven                    

Quibus respondeat angelus :

Quid, christicolae, viventem quaeritis cum mortuis ?
Non est hic, sed surrexit, praedixit ut discipulis.
Mementote quid iam vobis locutus est in Galilaea,             mementote: remember
Quod Christum oportebat pati, atque  die tertia   it befitted Christ to suffer
Resurgere cum gloria.

MULiERES conversae ad populum cantent :
Ad monumentum domini venimus
Gementes, angelum dei sedentem vidimus                           gemo gemui: to mourn
et dicentem quod surrexit a morte.

Post haec MARIA MAGDALENA, relictis duabus aliis, accedat ad sepulchrum, in
quod saepe aspiciens dicat :

Heu ! dolor ! heu ! quam dira doloris angustia !                  angustia: distress
Quod dilecti sum orbata magistri praesentia ;                     praesentia: now
Heu ! quis corpus tam dilectum sustulit e tumulo ?             tollo sustuli sublatum: to lift

Deinde pergat velociter ad illos, qui in similitudine Petri et Johannis praestare debent erecti, stansque ante eos quasi tristis, dicat :

pergo perrexi perrectum: to hasten

Tulerunt Dominum meum,
Et nescio ubi posuerunt eum,
Et monumentum vacuum est inventum,
Et sudarium cum sindone repositum.                      sudarium: cloth (for wiping off sweat)
                                                                                         sindon (f.) : fine cotton cloth

Illi autem, hoc audientes, pergant ad sepulcrum ac si currentes, sed junior, Sanctus lohannes, perveniens stet extra sepulchrum ; senior vera, Sanctus Petrus, sequens eum, statlm intret ; postquam et lohannes intret; cum inde exierint, lOHANNES dicat :

Miranda sunt, quae vidimus !
An furtim sublatus est dominus.                 furtim: secretly

Cui PETRUS :
Imo, ut praedixit vivus,                                               imo: from the depth
Surrexit, credo, Dominus.
JOHANNES :
Sed cur liquit in sepulcro
Sudarium cum linteo ?                                                linteum: linen cloth
PETRUS :
Ista, quia resurgenti
Non erant necessaria,
Imo resurrectionis
Restant haec indicia.                                                   indicia:  as tokens

Illis autem abeuntibus, accedat MARIA ad sepulcrum et prius dicat :

Heu ! dolor ! heu ! quam dira doloris angustia !
Quod dilecti sum orbata magistri praesentia !
Heu ! Quis corpus tam dilectum sustulit e tumulo ?

Quam alloquantur duo angeli, sedentes infra sepulcrum, dicentes :

Mulier, quid ploras ?

MARIA :
Quia tulerunt dominum meum,
Et nescio ubi posuerunt eum.
ANGELUS :
Noli flere, Maria ; resurrexit dominus.
Alleluia !
MARIA :
Ardens est cor meum desiderio
Videre dominum meum ;
Quaero et non invenio
Ubi posuerunt eum.
Alleluia !

Interitu veniat quidam praeparatus in similitudinem hortulani, stansque ad caput sepulchri dicat :

hortulanus: gardener

Mulier, quid ploras ? quem quaeris ?

MARIA  :
Domine, si tu sustulisti eum, dicito michi, ubi posuisti eum, quod ego eum ubi posuisti eum. et ego eum tollam.
Et ille :
Maria !

Atque procidens ad pedes eius MARIA dicat:                        procido procidi: to fall forward
Rabboni !

At ILLE subtrahat se, et quasi tactum eius devitans, dicat :
Noli me tangere : nondum enim ascendi  ad Patrem meum et Patrem vestrum, Dominum meum et Dominum vestrum.

Sic discedat Hortulanus, MARIA vero  conversa ad popiilum dicat :
Congratulamini michi omnes qui dili-gitis Dominum, quia quem quaerebam  apparuit michi et, dum flerem ad monumentum , vidi Dominum meum . Alleluia !

Tunc DUO ANGELi cxeant ad ostium, sepulchri, ita ut appareant foris, et dicant :

Venite  et videte locum, ubi positiis erat Dominus.
Alleluia !
Nolite timere vos ;
Vultum tristem iam mutate,
lesum vivum nuntiate,
Galilaeam iam adite.
Si placet videre, festinate.                                                                       festino: to hurry
Cito euntes dicite discipulis, quod surrexit Dominus. Alleluia !

Tunc mulieres, discedentes a sepulchro, dicant ad plebem :

Surrexit Dominus de sepulchro,
Qui pro nobis pependit in ligno.                                pendeo pependi: to hang
Alleluia !                                                                                        lignum: wood, cross

Hoc facto, expandant sindonem, dicentes ad plebem :  

expando  expandi expassum: to spread out

Cernite vos, socii, sunt corporis ista beati                             cerno crevi certum: to perceive, see
Lintea, quae vacuo iacuere relicta sepulcro.

Postea ponant sindonem super altare, atque revertentes alternent hos versus.
PRIMA dicat :
Resurrexit hodie Deus Deorum !
SECUNDA :
Frustra signas lapidem, plebs ludaeorum                In vain you close with a stone
TERTIA :
lungere iam populo christianorum.                          iungo iunxi iunctum: to unite with
Item PRIMA dicat :
Resurrexit hodie rex angelorum.
SECUNDA  :
Ducitur de tenebris turba piorum.                            The host of faithful is lead from darkness
TERTIA :
Reseratur aditus regni coelorum !                            resero: to unlock
aditus, us (m.): entrance

Interea is, qui ante fuit Hortulanus, in simililudinem Domini veniat dalmaticatus, candida dalmatica, candida infula infulatus, phylacteria pretiosa in capite, crucem cum labaro in dextra, textum auro paratorium in sinistra habens, et dicat mulieribus :

               dalmaticatus: in a priestly garment          candida infula infulatus: adorned with a whit fillet
               phylacterium: amulet    labarum: bejewelled staff ending in a crucifix
               paratorium: : covering of a sacred chalice

Nolito timere vos : ite, nunciate fratribus meis, ut eant in Galilaeam : ibi me videbunt, sicut praedixi eis.

CHORUS :
Alleluia, resurrexit hodie dominus !

Quo finito, dicant OMNES insimul :
Leo fortis, Christus, filius dei !

Et CHORUS dicat :
Te Deum laudamus !