Segments in this Video

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Col's Soliloquy (03:59)


Col worries that he is ill-prepared for the cold weather. The landowners demand that all their workers become shepherds.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Gib's Soliloquy (04:09)

The second shepherd complains about the weather and the plight of married men. Gib mutters that his wife is a loud, heavy-drinking, whale-sized woman. Col asks after Daw; the two men share a loaf of bread.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Daw's Soliloquy (03:18)

Daw grumbles about how poorly he is treated. Col and Gib rebuke him for complaining. The shepherds decide to improve their moods by singing "The Holly and the Ivy."

"The Second Shepherds' Play": MaK Arrives (03:03)

Mak, a local well-known thief, pretends to be a yeoman from a lord and insults the shepherds. Gib worries that he will steal the sheep. Mak begs to remain because his wife drinks and he has many children.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Exhaustion (03:04)

Daw insists Mak spend the night between the shepherds so they can sense if he gets up. After they fall asleep, Mak casts a spell so they will not wake until noon; he steals a sheep.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Mak's House (03:18)

Stealing a sheep is punishable by death. Gill and Mak concoct a plan to pass the lamb off as a newborn. Mak returns to the shepherds so they will not suspect him of the theft.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": The Next Day (02:55)

The shepherds wonder how they slept so long. Daw shares his dream of Mak dressing in a wolf skin and stealing a sheep. Mak excuses himself to see his wife. He asks the men to search him to prove he did not steal anything.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Returning Home (02:44)

Mak tells Gill the shepherds departed to count their sheep. Gill explains that he should sing a lullaby to the lamb when they arrive.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Missing Sheep (05:55)

The shepherds suspect Mak of theft and decide to confront him. The sheep is wrapped in swaddling clothes and Gill moans loudly to illustrate that she just gave birth. Mak declines the offer of friendship when the shepherd's do not detect the lamb.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Confrontation (03:13)

The shepherds realize they did not give the child a gift and return to Mak's home. Daw pulls back the swaddling clothes and discovers the missing lamb. Mak claims that fairies stole the baby; the shepherds decide to be merciful and beat the thief instead of having him hanged.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": An Angel Appears (04:04)

The shepherds return to the fields exhausted and fall asleep. The Angel wakes them and urges them to travel to "Bedlam" to see the Christ child. Daw explains that it does not matter if they are cold, wet, and tired.

"The Second Shepherds' Play": Meeting Baby Jesus (04:58)

The shepherds greet the Christ child and gift the baby with cherries, a bird, and a ball. Mary urges them to spread the news of the birth and to remember their experience in "Bedlam." The shepherds rejoice in their salvation, singing as they depart.

Credits: The Second Shepherds' Play (00:47)

Credits: The Second Shepherds' Play

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The Second Shepherds' Play

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The Second Shepherds’ Play was written in the middle ages by a playwright known to scholars today as the Wakefield Master. The comic-drama focuses on Col, the nominal leader of three shepherds and their encounter with Mak, the local thief. In the middle of the night, Mak casts a spell over the three and makes off with a lamb. Arriving home, his wife Gill disguises the lamb as a baby and when the Shepherds come knocking, as they must, are at first fooled, then discover the deception. Exacting their revenge, they retrieve their sheep to return to the flock. That night they are visited by an angel who allows these Medieval shepherds to travel back in time to witness the birth of Christ and give him presents making the journey from the profane comedy of the beginning to the sublime divine of a miracle play.

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL194938

ISBN: 978-1-64623-565-0

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Douglas Morse’s film adaptation of The Second Shepherds’ Play is a is a rare and wonderful contribution to the teaching of medieval drama, as well as a work of darkly comic beauty. Boyda Johnstone and Alexandra Verini Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching

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