Child's Ballads/23

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Child's Collected Ballads by Francis James Child, translated by Wikisource
Judas, no. 23
For more information, see Wikipedia: Judas (ballad).

Judas (Child's version)[edit]

Text from The English and Scottish popular ballads, Sir Francis James Child, 1882, Volume I, pp 243-244, (slightly reformatted). Child gives the source as "MS. B 14, 39, of the 13th century, library of Trinity College, Cambridge, as printed in Wright & Halliwell's Reliquae Antiquae, I, 144."

Child did not have access to the original and followed the version printed in Wright & Halliwell, which contains some errors. Child notes "In the absence of the original manuscript, I have thought it better to change Wright's s in [certain] instances to h."

HIT wes upon a Scere-thorsday that ure loverd aros;
Ful milde were the wordes he spec to Judas.
‘Judas, thou most to Jurselem, oure mete for to bugge;
Thritti platen of selver thou bere up othi rugge.
‘Thou comest fer ithe brode stret, fer ithe brode strete;
Summe of thine tunesmen ther thou meiht imete.’
. . . . .
Immette wid is soster, the swikele wimon.
‘Judas, thou were wrthe me stende the wid ston,
For the false prophete that tou bilevest upon.’
‘Be stille, leve soster, thin herte the tobreke!
Wiste min loverd Crist, ful wel he wolde be wreke.’
‘Judas, go thou on the roc, heie upon the ston;
Lei thin heved imy barm, slep thou the anon.’
Sone so Judas of slepe was awake,
Thritti platen of selver from hym weren itake.
He drou hymselve bi the cop, that al it lavede a blode;
The Jewes out of Jurselem awenden he were wode.
Foret hym com the riche Jeu that heihte Pilatus:
‘Wolte sulle thi loverd, that hette Jesus?’
‘I nul sulle my loverd [for] nones cunnes eihte,
Bote hit be for the thritti platen that he me bitaihte.’
‘Wolte sulle thi lord Crist for enes cunnes golde?’
‘Nay, bote hit be for the platen that he habben wolde.’
In him com ur lord Crist gon, as is postles seten at mete:
‘Wou sitte ye, postles, ant wi nule ye ete?
[‘Wou sitte ye, postles, ant wi nule ye ete?]
Ic am ibouht ant isold today for oure mete.’
Up stod him Judas: ‘Lord, am I that . . .?
‘I nas never othe stude ther me the evel spec.’
Up him stod Peter, and spec wid al is mihte,
. . . . . .
‘Thau Pilatus him come wid ten hundred cnihtes,
Yet ic wolde, loverd, for thi love fihte.’
‘Still thou be, Peter, wel I the icnowe;
Thou wolt fursake me thrien ar the coc him crowe.’

Judas (original)[edit]

Text from Richard Axton, "Interpretations of Judas in Middle English literature", in Religion in the Poetry and Drama of the Late Middle Ages, ed. Piero Boitani and Anna Torti (Cambridge, 1990). Axton derives this from the original copy. The significance of the ".ii." marks within the text are unclear. The use of the thorn letter from Middle English (equivalent to th) is retained. A small lacunae is represented by "[...]"; elsewhere it is suggested that the missing word may be "freke" (man).

Hit wes vpon a scereþorsday pat vre louerd aros,
Ful milde were þe wordes he spec to Iudas:
'Iudas, þou most to Iurselem oure mete for to bugge;
Þritti platen of seluer þou bere up o þi rugge.
Þou comest fer i þe brode stret, fer in þe brode strete,
Summe of þine cunesmen þer þou meist imete.'
Imette wid is soster, þe swikele wimon:
'Iudas, þou were wrþe me stende þe wid ston, .ii.

For þe false prophete þat tou bileuest upon.'
'Be stille, leue soster, þin herte þe tobreke!
Wiste min louerd Crist, ful wel he wolde be wreke.'
'Iudas, go þou on þe roc, heie upon þe ston,
Lei þin heued i my barm, slep þou þe anon.'
Sone so Judas of slepe was awake,
Þritti platen of seluer from hym weren itake.
He drou hymselue bi þe top, þat al it lauede ablode.
Þe iewes out of Iurselem a wenden he were wode.
Fforet hym com þe riche ieu þat heiste Pilatus:
'Wolte sulle þi louerd þat hette Iesus?'
'I nul sulle my louerd for nones cunnes eiste,
Bote hit be for þe þritti platen þat he me bitaiste.'
'Wolte sulle þi lord Crist for enes cunnes golde?'
'Nay, bote hit be for þe platen þat he habben wolde.'
In him com ur lord gon as is postles seten at mete:
'Wou sitte ye, postles, ant wi nule ye ete? .ii.

Ic am iboust ant isold today for oure mete.'
Vp stod him Iudas: 'Lord, am I þat [...]?
I nas neuer o þe stude þer me þe euel spec.'
Vp him stod Peter ant spec wid al is miste:
"Þau Pilatus him come wid ten hundred cnistes, .ii.

Yet ic wolde, louerd, for þi loue fiste!'
'Stille þou be, Peter, wel I þe icnowe.
Þou wolt fursake me þrien ar þe coc him crowe.'

Transliteration and translation:[edit]

In modern orthography, using the original words [annotated where obsolete]:

It was upon a Scere [Holy] Thursday that our lord arose,
Full mild were the words he spoke to Judas:
'Judas, thou must to Jerusalem our meat for to buy,
thirty platten [coins] of silver thou bear up on thy rug [back].
Thou comest far in the broad street, far in the broad street,
 Some of thine kinsmen there thou mightest meet.'

He met with his sister, the swikele [treacherous] woman:
"Judas, thou were worthy men stoned thee with stone,
For the false prophet that thou believest upon."
"Be still, beloved sister, thine heart thee to break!
Wist [kneweth] my lord Christ, full well he would be wreke [avenged]."
"Judas, go thou on the rock, high upon the stone,
Lay thine head in my barm [lap], sleep thou thee anon."
Soon so Judas of sleep was awake,
Thirty platen of silver from him were taken.
He drew himself by the top, that all it laved in blood.
The Jews out of Jerusalem thought he was wode [insane].
Forth came the rich Jew that called Pilatus:
"Wouldst sell thy lord that called Jesus?"
"I would not sell my lord for no kind of eiste [thing],
But it be for the thirty platten that he me betrusted [entrusted]."
"Wouldst sell thy lord Christ for any kind of gold?"
"Nay, but it be for the platten that he have would."

In him came our lord going [walking] as the apostles sat at meat:
"Why sit ye, apostles, and why will not ye eat?
I am bought and sold today for our meat."
Up stood him Judas: "Lord, am I that [...]?
I was never of the stude [place] there men thee evil spoke."
Up him stood Peter and spoke with all his might:
"Though Pilatus he come with ten hundred knights,
Yet I would, lord, for thy love fight!"
"Still thou be, Peter, well I thee know.
Thou wilt forsake me thrice before the cock him crow."

Roughly translated into modern language:

It was upon a Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) that our lord arose, Very gentle were the words he spoke to Judas: "Judas, you must go to Jerusalem to buy our food, thirty pieces of silver you [should] take up on your back. When you come far in the broad street, far in the broad street, Some of your kinsmen there you might meet."

He came across his sister, the treacherous woman: "Judas, you are worthy that men stoned you with stones, For the false prophet that you believe in." "Be silent, beloved sister, may your heart break! If my lord Christ knew, he would avenge himself fully."

"Judas, go on the rock, high upon the stone, Lay your head in my lap, sleep for a while." As soon as Judas awakened from sleep, thirty pieces of silver were from him taken [i.e., missing].

He pulled himself by his hair, so that his head was all bathed in blood. The Jews from Jerusalem thought he was mad.

Foth came the powerful Jew called Pilatus: "Would you sell your lord that is called Jesus?" "I would not sell my lord for any kind of thing, But for the thirty pieces that he entrusted to me."

"Would you sell thy lord for any kind of gold?" "Nay, only for the pieces that he would want to have [returned]."

In came our lord walking as the apostles sat at food [i.e., at the table]: "Why do you sit, apostles, and why will you not eat? I am bought and sold today for our food."

Up stood Judas: "Lord, am I that [person]? I was never in a place where men spoke evil of you." Up stood Peter and spoke with all his might: "Though Pilatus he comes with ten hundred knights, Yet I would, lord, for the love of you fight!" "Be silent, Peter, I know you well. You will forsake me thrice before the cock crows."

This is a translation and has a separate copyright status from the original text. The license for the translation applies to this edition only.
Original:
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
Translation:
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