The Second Shepherd’s Play

by

Anonymous

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Second Shepherd’s Play can help.

Coll Character Analysis

Coll is one of the protagonists of the play, alongside his two other shepherd companions, Gyb and Daw. The eldest of the three shepherds, Coll has the most political complaints and attributes his suffering to the wealthy landowners who force him to work long hours for little pay. Despite his struggles, Coll is empathetic and forgiving in the face of adversity. After finding out that Mak stole one of their sheep, a crime punishable by hanging, Coll shows Mak mercy and compassion by sparing him from the death penalty, even while Daw demands that Mak (and Gill) to be hanged.

Coll Quotes in The Second Shepherd’s Play

The The Second Shepherd’s Play quotes below are all either spoken by Coll or refer to Coll. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Branden Books edition of The Second Shepherd’s Play published in 2011.
Scene 1 Quotes

We are so hammed, / Over-taxed and rammed, / We are made hand-tammed / By these gentlemen.

Related Characters: Coll (speaker), Gyb, Daw
Page Number: 1.15-18
Explanation and Analysis:

There was never since Noah’s flood such weather seen. / …How these snows all drown / The fields and the town / And bear all down, / ‘Tis a wonder!

Related Characters: Daw (speaker), Coll, Gyb
Page Number: 1.74, 79-82
Explanation and Analysis:

Ere we go now, I would someone gave us a song.
So I thought, as I stood, to beguile us along.

Related Characters: Gyb (speaker), Daw (speaker), Coll
Page Number: 1.111-112
Explanation and Analysis:

Let be! I’m a yeoman of the king / And a messenger from a great lordling / …I must have reverence! / Dare you ask, who am I?

Related Characters: Mak (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Daw
Page Number: 1.131-132, 136-137
Explanation and Analysis:

Manus tuas commendo / Pontio Pilato.

Related Characters: Mak (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Daw
Related Symbols: Sheep
Page Number: 1.194-195
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 6 Quotes

Oh, my belly! I die! / I vow to God so mild / If ever I you beguiled / Then I will eat this child / That doth in cradle lie!

Related Characters: Gill (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Daw, Mak
Related Symbols: Sheep
Page Number: 6.61-65
Explanation and Analysis:

Sirs, for this deed, take my advice instead / For this trespass. / We will neither curse not fight / Nor dispute our right / We’ll tie him up tight / And toss him in canvas.

Related Characters: Coll (speaker), Gyb, Daw, Mak, Gill
Related Symbols: Sheep
Page Number: 6.138-143
Explanation and Analysis:

Rise, herdsmen, rise, for Christ is born / To rend that fiend that Adam had lorn / The Saviour of all, this night is he born. / His behests / To Bethlehem go see / Where lies this baby / In a crib full poorly / Betwixt two beasts.

Related Characters: Angel (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Daw, Christ
Page Number: 6.153-160
Explanation and Analysis:

Hie we thither right merry / If we be wet and weary / Still, we’ll find the child and lady, / We cannot lose.

Related Characters: Daw (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Christ, Mary
Page Number: 6.182-185
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene 7 Quotes

Thou hast cowed at last the devil so wild / The false beguiler now goes beguiled.

Related Characters: Coll (speaker), Mak, Gill, Christ
Page Number: 7.3-4
Explanation and Analysis:

And now he is born. / To keep you from woe / I shall pray him so, / Tell it forth, as ye go, / And mind on this morn!

Related Characters: Mary (speaker), Coll, Gyb, Daw, Christ
Page Number: 7.32-36
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Second Shepherd’s Play LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Second Shepherd’s Play PDF

Coll Character Timeline in The Second Shepherd’s Play

The timeline below shows where the character Coll appears in The Second Shepherd’s Play. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene 1
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
...alone in an open field in the middle of a raging storm, a man named Coll complains about the hardships he faces as a shepherd. He feels beaten down by the... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
...marriage to her and wishes he could escape. His increasingly aggressive soliloquy is interrupted when Coll calls out to get his attention. Gyb greets Coll with playful mock-contempt and asks if... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Daw, a young shepherd boy who serves Coll and Gyb, enters. Not yet noticing the other shepherds, Daw remarks to himself about the... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Song as a Means for Transformation Theme Icon
Daw mutters about how poorly he is treated, and Coll and Gyb scold him for complaining (despite the both of them having just indulged in... (full context)
Scene 2
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Mak wants to eat the sheep immediately, but Gill stops him, reminding him that Coll, Gyb, and Daw will certainly suspect Mak of the crime and will come looking for... (full context)
Scene 3
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Coll, Gyb, and Daw awaken from their deep, spell-induced sleep. After quickly checking that Mak is... (full context)
Christian Charity Theme Icon
...search him to prove that he hasn’t stolen from them. As Mak departs, Daw tells Coll and Gyb that they should go check on their sheep just in case. (full context)
Scene 5
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
...claim that they will not rest until they prove Mak guilty and recover their sheep. Coll knows where Mak lives, so the three men set off to confront him. (full context)
Scene 6
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Song as a Means for Transformation Theme Icon
Coll, Gyb, and Daw arrive outside of Mak’s shack and are startled by the din Mak... (full context)
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
...Mak declares that had he witnessed the theft, he would have beaten up the culprit. Coll, Gyb, and Daw remark that they have reason to believe Mak is the thief. (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
...or alive, in Mak’s shack, let alone any food whatsoever. Trying to ease the tension, Coll jokes that Mak and Gill’s newborn baby smells as bad as their sheep did. The... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
...kiss. He pulls the cloth back and reveals—to his surprise and Mak’s horror—the stolen sheep. Coll and Gyb finally catch up to Daw and see the sheep lying exposed in the... (full context)
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Coll and Gyb are amused by the cleverness of Mak and Gill’s trick, but Daw is... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Daw is adamant that Mak and Gill face the death penalty, but Coll compassionately spares Mak and Gill from being hanged. He convinces the other shepherds to “…neither... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Song as a Means for Transformation Theme Icon
The Angel vanishes as suddenly as it appeared, leaving Coll, Gyb, and Daw to marvel at what they’ve just witnessed. Jokingly, Coll and Gyb try... (full context)
Scene 7
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Skipping the shepherds’ actual journey, Scene VII opens with Coll, Gyb, and Daw at the stable in Bethlehem with Mary and Christ. Each of the... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Coll praises Christ for defeating the devil, noting how Christ’s birth means that “The false beguiler... (full context)
Earthly vs. Spiritual Theme Icon
Christian Charity Theme Icon
Suffering and Redemption Theme Icon
Song as a Means for Transformation Theme Icon
Coll, Gyb, and Daw know they are redeemed. They decide to spread the news of the... (full context)