A woodland meadow. In the background, high cliffs
on which stands a castle. Summer evening. Country folk; Simon, the
Jew; Thomas, the Master miner; the Monk. Countryfolk walking across
the meadow, and stopping to talk.
See yon vile Jew; he surely will not dare
To take the same road that we take ourselves;
For things might very well come to his ears
On hearing which they'd burn for many a day.
We must make clear to his effrontery,
Aye, very clear indeed, that we no more
Will tolerate his race in our good land
Across whose bounds he hath contrived to slink.
He is protected by the noble knights.
Who live in yonder castle; none of us
May enter; but the Jew is welcome there.
For he doth do whate'er the knights desire.
'Tis very hard to know who serves the Lord
And who the devil. Thankful should we be
To our good lords who give us food and work.
What should we be if it were not for them?
The Jew shall have my praise his remedies
Have cured the evil sickness that I had. —
Besides, he was so good and kind to me;
And many more can tell the selfsame tale.
Yet did a monk let slip the truth to me, —
The Jew employs the devil's remedies
Beware his drugs; transformed within the blood
They grant an entrance to all kinds of sin.
The men who wait upon the knights oppose
Our ancient customs, saying that the Jew
Hath stores of knowledge both to heal and bless
Which will in days to come be rightly prized.
New times and better are in store; I see
Their coming in my spirit, when my soul
Pictures to me what eyes cannot behold.
The knights intend to bring all this about.
We owe the Church obedience, for she guards
Our souls from devil-visions, and from death,
And from hell-fire. The monks bid us beware
The knights, and their vile sorcerer, the Jew.
Only a short time longer need we bear