Having been forsaken by Fellowship, Kindred, and Cousin, Everyman wonders who will accompany him on his journey to the day of reckoning before God.
EVERYMAN: All my life I have loved riches:
If that my Goods now help me might,
He would make my heart full light.
I will speak to him in this distress.
Where art thou, my Goods and riches?
GOODS: Who calleth me? Everyman? What, hast thou haste?
I lie here in corners, trussed and piled so high,
And in chests I am locked so fast—
Also sacked in bags—thou mayst see with thine eye
I cannot stir, in packs low where I lie.
What would ye have? Quickly me say.
EVERYMAN: Come hither, Goods, in all the haste thou may,
For of counsel I must desire thee.
GOODS: Sir, if ye in the world have sorrow or adversity,
That can I help you to remedy shortly.
EVERYMAN: It is another disease that grieveth me:
In this world it is not, I tell thee so.
I am sent for another way to go,
To give a strict account general
Before the highest Jupiter of all.
And all my life I have had joy and pleasure in thee:
Therefor I pray thee go with me,
For, peradventure, thou mayst before God Almighty
My reckoning help to clean and purify.
For it is said ever among
That money maketh all right that is wrong.
GOODS: Nay, Everyman, I sing another song:
I follow no man in such voyages.
For if I went with thee,
Thou shouldest fare much the worse for me;
For because on me thou did set thy mind,
Thy reckoning I have made blotted and blind,
That thine account thou cannot make truly—
And that hast thou for the love of me.
EVERYMAN: That would grieve me full sore
When I should come to that fearful answer.
Up, let us go thither together.
GOODS: Nay, not so, I am too brittle, I may not endure.
I will follow no man one foot, be ye sure.
EVERYMAN: Alas, I have thee loved and had great pleasure
All my life-days on good and treasure.
GOODS: That is to thy damnation, without lie,
For my love is contrary to the love everlasting.
But if thou had me loved moderately in the meanwhile,
As to the poor to give part of me,
Then shouldest thou not in this dolor be,
Nor in this great sorrow and care.
from Everyman, after 1485
This is Part 5 in a series of Sunday segments from this allegory, which I am sharing as much to educate as to entertain. Click here to read previous posts: Part 1: Messenger, Part 2: God, Part 3: Fellowship, Part 4: Kindred.
Everyman is the best surviving example of that kind of medieval drama which is known as the morality play. Moralities apparently evolved side by side with the mysteries and in England were, like them, acted by trade guilds, though they were composed individually and not in cycles. They both have a primarily religious purpose, though their method of attaining it is different. The mysteries endeavored to make the Christian religion more real to the unlearned by dramatizing significant events in Biblical history and by showing what these events meant in terms of human experience. The moralities, on the other hand, employed allegory to dramatize the moral struggle that Christianity envisions as present in every man. The actors are every man and the qualities within him, good or bad, and the plot consists of his various reactions to these qualities as they push and pull him one way or another—that is, in Christian terms, toward heaven or toward hell.