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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 1179
IMEV 716
NIMEV 716
Ego sum Alpha et O
The Chester Plays: twenty-five plays and (in some MSS) the Banns of Proclamation
Title(s): Chester Plays
Subjects: mystery plays
Versification: — eight-line — aaabcccb



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 175 (SC 27631), ff. 3-176
First Lines:
Ego sum Alpha et O
primus et novissimus

It is my will it shalbe soo…
Last Lines:
…Therefore excuse you withowten were
I may not well I wise
Note: A.D. 1604; with Banns.
Attributed Title: The tanners plays being the ff of the wholle booke (f. 3); Pagina prima de Celi Angelorum et Inferni specium Creatione (f. 3); Finis. Deo Gratias. This is the last of all the xxiiijor pageantes or playes played by the xxiiijor craftes men of the Cittie of Chester written in the yere of our Lorde god 1604. And in the second yere of the Reigne of king James by the grace of god of England ffrauns and Ireland and defender of the faith and of the Realme of England the xxxvij-th per me Gulielmum Bedford (f. 176)
Facsimiles:
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills. “Introduction.” The Chester Mystery Cycle: A Facsimile of MS. Bodley 175. Leeds Texts and Monographs, Medieval Drama Facsimiles 1. Leeds: University of Leeds School of English, 1973.
2.Source: London, British Library Addit. 10305, ff. 1-168v
First Lines:
Ego sum alpha et o primus et N…
If is my will yt shoulde be soe…
Last Lines:
Note: A.D. 1592. First line is partial, due to damage to the first folio of the manuscript. The last two lines are almost completely destroyed in the manuscript, so are omitted from this record.
Editions:
Wright, Thomas. The Chester Plays. 2 vols. London: Shakespeare Society, 1843, 1847.
3.Source: London, British Library Addit. 27945, ff. 10-86
First Lines:
Ego sum alpha et [N]
Primus et novissimus…
Last Lines:
…Therefore excuse you withouten were
I maye not well I wysse
Note: Eighteenth-century transcription.
4.Source: London, British Library Harley 1944, f. 21v
Note: Banns only.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Digby Plays. EETS e.s. 70 (1896; repr. 1967): xviii-xxiv.
Greg, Walter Wilson. The Play of Antichrist from the Chester Cycle. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935: 147.
5.Source: London, British Library Harley 1948
Note: Banns only.
6.Source: London, British Library Harley 2013, f. 2
Note: Banns, Noah, Herod only; eighteenth-century transcription of seven plays from this MS and London, British Library Harley 2124 (Noah, Balaam, Shepherds, Last Day, Creation, Herod, Passion) is Oxford, Bodleian Library Malone 4 (SC 20552), Art. I.
7.Source: London, British Library Harley 2124, ff. 1-142
Note: A.D. 1607, lacks Banns; eighteenth-century transcription of seven plays from this MS and London, British Library Harley 2013 (Noah, Balaam, Shepherds, Last Day, Creation, Herod, Passion) is Oxford, Bodleian Library Malone 4 (SC 20552), pp. 3-23.
Editions:
Deimling, Hermann, and Dr. Matthews, eds. The Chester Plays 2 vols. EETS e.s. 62 (1892); repr. 1926, 1959; e.s. 115 (1916); repr. 1935, 1959: 115.
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills, eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 2 vols. EETS s.s. 3, 9 (1974, 1986): 1.466-81 (Balaam), 1.481-86 (variant of Play XVIa).
8.Source: London, British Library Harley 2150, f. 85v
Note: Banns only.
Editions:
Greg, Walter Wilson. Chester Play Studies. Malone Society 76. London, 1935: 133.
9.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Peniarth 399, ff. 1-20
Note: Antichrist only.
Editions:
Greg, Walter Wilson. The Play of Antichrist from the Chester Cycle. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935.
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills, eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 2 vols. EETS s.s. 3, 9 (1974, 1986): 491-516.
10.Source: Chester, Chester Company of Coopers Enrollment Book
Note: Flagellation only.
Editions:
Salter, Frederick Millet, and W. W. Greg, eds. The Trial and Flagellation: with Other Studies in the Chester Cycle. Malone Society Studies Malone Society Studies76. London: Oxford UP, 1935: 46.
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills, eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 2 vols. EETS s.s. 3, 9 (1974, 1986): 517-32.
11.Source: Manchester, Manchester Central Library 822.11 C2 [Chester Plays Fragment], ff. 1-1v
First Lines:
…Yee Lordes and Ladyes so lufle [ ]
Yee kempes yee known knyghtes [ ]
Hareken all hethar wardes my hestes to [ ]
ffor I am most fayrest & fresshest to f[ ]…
Last Lines:
…[ ] thonder and earth began to quake
Thereof am I adred
Cayphas
And this was yesterday about[e] none…
Note: Three and a half stanzas of ‘Resurrection’ only: 25 lines of speech of Pylate and a speech of Cayphas, of which lines toward end are mostly illegible due to damp and wear.
Editions:
Salter, Frederick Millet, and W. W. Greg, eds. The Trial and Flagellation: with Other Studies in the Chester Cycle. Malone Society Studies Malone Society Studies76. London: Oxford UP, 1935.
Axon, William Edward Armytage. Cheshire Gleanings. Manchester, 1884: 210-12.
Greg, Walter Wilson. Chester Play Studies. Malone Society 76. London, 1935: 89.
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills, eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 2 vols. EETS s.s. 3, 9 (1974, 1986): 490-1.
12.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library HM 2 [olim Devonshire], ff. v-xii; 6-150v
First Lines:
Ego sum alpha et oo
primus et novissimus

It is my will it shoulde be soe
hit is yt was it shalbe thus…
Last Lines:
…therfore excuse you withowten were
I may not well I wysse
Note: Begins imperfectly.
Attributed Title: This ys the laste of all the xxiiiitie pageantes and playes played by the xxiiites craftesmen of the Cyttie of Chester wrytten in the yeare of our lord god 1591 and in the xxxiiiith yeare of the reigne of our sovereigne Ladye queene Elizabeth whom god preserve for ever Amen. finis. By me Edward Gregorie scholler at Bunburye the yeare of our lord god 1591 (f. 150v)
Editions:
Greg, Walter Wilson. The Play of Antichrist from the Chester Cycle. Oxford: Clarendon, 1935.
Lumiansky, R. M., and David Mills, eds. The Chester Mystery Cycle. 2 vols. EETS s.s. 3, 9 (1974, 1986).
Hemingway, Samuel Burdett, ed. English Nativity Plays. Yale Studies in English 38. New York: H. Holt, 1909: 5, 36 (plays 6, 7 only, with variants).