The Works of Arthur Golding (Translations)

Abraham's Sacrifice, 1575
Modern Spelling Version
Transcribed by B.F. © copyright 2002

Part 2

ABRAHAM AND SARA: But it behoveth us to understand,
That if God will us anything to do,
We must straight-ways obedient be thereto,
And nother strive nor speak against his will.

SARA: Indeed Sir so I think and purpose still. ... [390]
But yet I pray you think not strange, that I
Do take this matter somewhat heavily.

ABRAHAM: A good heart (wife) doth show itself at need.

SARA: That's true: & therefore let's be sure indeed,
It is God's will and mind we should do so.
We have but this child only and no mo
Who yet is weak: in him stands all the trust
Of all our hope, with him it falls to dust.

ABRAHAM: Nay rather in God.

SARA: ~~~ But give me leave to say.

ABRAHAM: Can ever God his word once said unsay? ... [400]
No, no, and therefore be you out of doubt,
That God will keep & prosper him throughout.

SARA: Yea, but will God have us to hazard him?

ABRAHAM: No hazarding it is where God doth guard him.

SARA: My heart misgiveth some mishap.

ABRAHAM: I nother dread nor doubt of any hap.

SARA: There is in hand some secret enterprise.

ABRAHAM: Whatere it be, it doth from God arise.

SARA: At least, if what it were you wist.

ABRAHAM: I shall ere long, if God so list. ... [410]

SARA: So long away the child will near abide.

ABRAHAM: For that our God will well enough provide.

SARA: Yea but the ways now full of dangers are.

ABRAHAM: Who dies in following God needs never care.

SARA: If he should die, then farewell our good days.

ABRAHAM: God doth foreset men's dying times always.

SARA: It were much better here to sacrifice.

ABRAHAM: Whatever you think, God thinks otherwise.

SARA: Well then Sir, sith it must be so
The grace of God with both you go. ... [420]
Adieu my son.

ISAAC: ~~~ Good mother eke adieu.

SARA: My son obey thy father still,
And God thee save: that if it be his will
Thou mayst in health return right soon again.
My child I can not me refrain
But that I needs must kiss thee now.

ISAAC: Good mother, if it should not trouble you,
I would desire you one thing ere I went.

SARA: Say on my son: for I am well content
To grant thee thy request. ... [430]

ISAAC: I humbly do you pray
To put this grief away.
These tears of yours refrain,
I shall return again
(I hope) in better plight
Than now I am in sight:
And therefore stay this grief and woe.

ABRAHAM: My fellows: we have now to go
Good six day's journey ere we rest:
See that your carriages be prest ... [440]
And all things that we shall need.

THE COMPANIE: Sir, as for that let us take heed,
Do you no more but only show your will.

ABRAHAM: On then: and God be with you still.
The mighty God who of his goodness aye,
From time to time even to this present day,
So kind and gracious unto us hath be,
Be helpful still both unto you and me.
Deal wisely howsoever that you fare:
I hope this journey which we going are ... [450]
Shall be performed happily.

SARA: Alas alas full little wote* I
When I shall see you all again.
The Lord now with you all remain.

ISAAC: Good mother God you guide.

ABRAHAM: ~~~ Farewell.

THE COMPANIE: God guide, and keep you through his grace.

ABRAHAM: Go on Sirs, let us hence apace.

* * * * *

SATAN: But is not this enough to make me mad,
That whereas I make every man to gad,
And all the world to follow after me, ... [460]
If they my finger do but held up see,
And therewithal set all things on a roar:
Yet for all that I never could the more
This false old fellow bring unto my lure,
For anything that yet I can procure?
Behold he is departed from this place
God's will full bent t'obey in every case,
Although the matter never be so strange.
But yet it may be that his mind will change,
Or that he shall him sacrifice indeed, ... [470]
And so he shall if I may help him speed*.
For if he do, then Isaac shall be dead,
Whereby my heart shall be delivered
Of that same fear least God in him fulfill,
The threat whereby he promised me to spill*.
And if he change his mind, then may I say
The gold is won. For may I once so play
My part, as for to make him disobey
Almighty God's commandment, or repine
Then were he banished from the grace divine. ... [480]
That is the mark whereat I always shoot,
Now hie thee Cowl, set forth the better foot:
Let's run apace, and by some cunning drift
Foil him in field, or put him to his shift.

* * * * *

ABRAHAM: My children: this is now the third day
That we have traveled making little stay.
Here must you tarry: as for me, I will
With Isaac, go yet further onward still,
Unto a place from hence yet distant more
Which God almighty showed me before, ... [490]
Where I must pray and offer sacrifice
As he requires. Wherefore in any wise
Abide you here, and stir not hence. But thou
Son Isaac shalt go with me as now:
For God requires in this behalf thy presence.

THE SHEPHERDS: Sir, sith you forbid us we will not hence.
ABRAHAM: This bundle unto him betake,
And I the fire and knife will take.
We shall (God willing) come again right soon
But in the mean while, wot ye what to done? ... [500]
Pray ye to God both for yurselves and us.
Alas, alas, was never wight, ywus.

SHEPHERDS: We will not fail.

ABRAHAM: That had such need as I.
Well Sirs, I say no more but God be wy*.

SHEPHERDS: And with you too.

HALFE THE SHEP: ~~~ It greatly amazeth me.

HALFE THE SHEP: And me likewise.

HALFE THE SHEP: ~~~ And me too, for to see
Him so dismayed which hath to stoutly* borne
All haps that have befall'n him heretoforne.

HALFE THE SHEP: ~~~ To say he is afraid of war
Debate, or strife, or any jar [510]
It were no reason: for we know,
Abimelech the king did show
Such honor to our master-ward,
That he not only had regard
To visit him, but eke did knit
A league with him which lasteth yit.
And as for household matters, what
Can he desire which he hath nat?

HALFE THE SHEP: He lives in outward peace and rest:
But age perchance doth work unrest. ... [520]

HALFE THE SHEP: Of sons he hath but only one
But in the world mo such are none.
His cattle thrive in such great store,
As God doth seem to give him more,
Than he himself can wish or crave.

HALFE THE SHEP: Nothing ye can so perfect have,
But always somewhat is amiss.
I pray to God him so to bliss,
As soon to cure this his disease.

HALFE THE SHEP: Amen, say I, if it him please. ... [530]

HALFE THE SHEP: Sure I suppose how ere the case doth stand
He hath this time some weighty thing in hand.
The Song of the Shepherds
As huge as is the world we see
With all the things that in it be,
Yet nothing is so strong and sure,
That can forever here endure.
Almighty God which all maintains,
Can nothing spy that aye remains,
Except himself: all else each one
Endure short time, and soon are gone. ... [540]
The sun with bright and burning beams
Goes casting forth his cheerful gleams,
As long as day in sky doth last.
Then darksome night doth overcast,
All kind of things both foul and fair,
With coal-black wings aloft in air.
And of the moon what shall we say,
Which never keepeth at a stay?
Sometimes with horns she doth appear:
Sometime half fast: now thick, now clear: ... [550]
Anon with round and fulsome face
The night she fro the sky doth chase.
The twinkling stars above on high
Run rolling round about the sky,
One while with weather fair and clear,
Another while with low'ring* cheer.*
Two days together match, and ye
Them like in all points shall not see.
The one doth pass more swift away,
The other longer while doth stay: [560]
The one, as though it did us spite,
Bereaves us of the cheerful light:
The other with his color bright
Doth joy our heart and dim our sight.
One burns the world with heat from skies,
With frost and cold another dies.
With purple, green, blue, white, and red
The earth erewhile is overspread.
Anon a blast of nipping cold
Makes freshest things look sere and old. ... [570]
The rivers with their waters moist
Above their banks are often hoist,
And pass their bounds with rage so far,
That they the plowman's hope do mar:
And afterward they fall within
Their channels, running lank and thin.
And therefore whoso doth him ground,
On aught that in the world is found,
Beneath or in the starry skies,
I say I count him nothing wise? ... [580]
What then of him is to be said,
Whose hope on man is wholly stayed?
Each living creature subject is
To endless inconveniences:
And yet among them all, the sun,
In all his course which he doth run,
Beholdeth not a feebler wight,
Than man is in his chiefest plight.
For that he is most wise and stout,
Is so besieged round about, ... [590]
And so assailed with vices strong,
That often he is thrown along.
What a fool is he, whose heart
Thinks to be free from woe and smart,
So long as he doth live on mould?
But if that any creature would
Be sure t'accomplish that desire:
He must go set his heart more higher.
Whereof our master rightly may
A good example be that way. ... [600]

HALFE THE SHEP: The best I think that can be now espied,
Is for too draw us one aside,
That each of us may be himself alone
Pray God to send our master which is gone,
A safe return with gladness. Go.

HALFE THE SHEP: I will not be behind I trow.

* * * * *


ISAAC: My father.

ABRAHAM: ~~~ Alas a poor father am I.

ISAAC: Sir, here is wood, with fire, and knife ready:
But as for sheep or lamb I see none here.
For you to offer.

ABRAHAM: ~~~ O my son most dear, ... [610]
God will provide. Abide thou here I say,
While I to God a little while do pray.

ISAAC: Good father go: but yet I pray you show
Me whereupon this grief of yours doth grow,
Which doth (I see) so greatly you appall*.

ABRAHAM: At my return, my son, thou shalt know all.
But in the mean time pray thy self here too.

ISAAC: It is good reason that I should so do.
And therewithal I will each thing address,
That first this wood may be in readiness. ... [620]
This billet first shall gin the order here:
Then this, then that shall close together near.
Thus all these things are ready now and prest:
My father shall provide for all the rest.
And now O God I will aside retire,
To pray to thee, as reason doth require.

* * * * *

SARA: The more we live, the more we see, alas,
What life it is that in this world we pass.
Was never woman born upon the mould,
That for her husband or her issue could ... [630]