1 Esdras 4

1 And the nexte folewer biganne to sey, that seide of the strengthe of a kyng,

2 O men! whether men ben not passyngly stronge, the whiche holden loond and see, and alle thingis that ben in hem?

3 The kyng forsothe passith aboue alle thingis, and he hath lordschip of hem, and thei don al thing, what euer he wil sey to hem.

4 And if he sende hem to fiyters, thei gon, and destroyen hillis, and walles, and toures; thei ben sleyn,

5 and slen, and thei passen not the word of the kyng; for if thei ouercomen, thei bryngen to the king alle thingis, what euer thingis thei han spoiled euermore, and all othere thingis.

6 And hou fele euer beren not knyythod, ne fiyten, but eren the loond, eftsone whanne thei schul repe, thei bringen tributis to the king.

7 And he is oon aloone; and if he bidde to sle, thei sleen; and if he bidde hem to foryiue, thei foryiuen;

8 and if he sey hem to smyten, thei smyten; if he sey to outlawe, thei outlawen; if he bidde hem to bilden, thei bilden;

9 if he bidde to throwe doun, thei throwen adoun; if he bidde to plaunte, thei plaunten;

10 and alle folk and vertues obeishen to him; and ouer alle thes thingis he schal sitte, and drynke, and slepe.

11 Thes forsothe kepen him aboute, and moun not gon echoon, and do her owne werkis, but in his word men obeishen to him.

12 What maner wise passith not the kyng bifore oothere, that thus is loosid?

13 And he helde his pes. The thridde, that had seid of wymmen, and of treuthe; this is seid Sorobabel; he biganne to speke, O men!

14 the kyng is not greet, neither many othere men, ne wyn passith biforn; who is it thanne that hath lordschip of hem?

15 Whether not wymmen, that han goten kyngis, and al the peple, the whiche kingis han lordschip bothe of see and of loond, and of wymmen thei ben born?

16 And thei brouyten forth hem that plauntiden vynes, of the whiche wyn is maad.

17 And thei maken the stoles, or longe clothis, of alle men, and thei don glorie to men, and men moun not be seuered fro wymmen.

18 If thei gedere togidere gold and siluer, and al fair thing, and seen a womman in good aray, and in good fairnesse,

19 thei, forsakynge alle thes thingis, taken heede to here, and the mouth opened, thei biholden hir, and thei drawen more to hir than to gold and siluer, or ony precious thing.

20 A man schal forsake his fadir, that norishide him, and his owne loond, and to a womman he ioynith him togidre,

21 and with a womman he lyuith his lijf, and noither remembrith fadir, ne modir, ne the lond of his birthe.

22 And therfor it bihouith us to knowen, that wymmen han lordschip of us. Whether ye serewen not?

23 And also a man takith his swerd, and goth in the wey to don theftis, and man slauytris, and to seilen ouer the see, and ouer flodes;

24 and he seeth a lioun, and he goth in derkenessis; and whanne he hath don his thefte, and gijles, and raueynes, he bringith it to his leef.

25 And efte a man louith his wijf more than fadir or modir;

26 and many men ben maad woode for their wyues, and many ben maad thrallis for hem;

27 and many perischiden, and weren stranglid, and many han synned for wymmen.

28 And now leeueth me; forsothe a kyng is greet, and his power, for alle regiouns, or kingdoms aboute, ben aferd to touche him.

29 I sawye neuer the latter Apeemen, the douyter of Besacis, the wondirful man, the secoundarie wijf of the kyng, sittynge biside the kyng at the riyt side;

30 and takynge awey the diademe fro his heed, and puttynge it on hir self, and with the pawme of hir lift hoond she smote the kyng.

31 And ouer thes thingis, the mouth opened, he bihilde hir, and if sche lowye to him, he lowye, and if sche were wrooth to him, he glosith or plesith, vnto the tyme that he be recounsilid to grace.

32 O men! whi ben not wymmen strengist? Greet is the erthe, and heuen is hiy, that don thes thingis.

33 Thanne the kyng and the purpred men bihelden either in to oothere; and he biganne to speke of treuthe.

34 O men! wher wymmen ben not stronge? Greet is the eerthe, and heuen is hiy, and the cours of the sunne is swift; it is turned in the cumpas of heuen, and eft it renneth ayen in to the same place in a day.

35 Wher he is not a greet doer, that makith thes thingis? and treuthe greet, and strenger biforn alle thingis?

36 All erthe clepith inwardly trouthe, also it blessith heuene, and alle werkis ben moued and dreden it; and ther is no wickid thing with it.

37 Wickid kyng, and wickid wymmen, and alle the sones of men ben wickid, and ther is not treuthe in hem, and in her wickidnesse thei schul perische;

38 and treuthe dwellith, and wexith in to withouten ende, and it lyuith, and weldith, into worldus of worldis.

39 It is not anentis treuthe to outtake persoones, and differencis; but it doth tho thingis that ben riytful, to alle vnriytwise and yuel men; and alle men ben maad benyngne in his werkis.

40 And ther is not wickidnesse in his doom, but ther is strengthe, and rewme, and power, and magestee of alle duryngis aboue tyme.

41 Blessid be the God of treuthe! And thanne he lefte in spekynge. And alle the peplis crieden, and seiden, Greet is treuthe, and it passith bifore alle othere.

42 Thanne the kyng seide to him, Aske, if thou wilt, ony thing more ouer, than ther ben writen, and I schal yiue to thee, aftir that thou art founden wiser; and next to me thou schalt sitte, and thou schalt be clepid my cosyn.

43 Thanne seide he to the king, Be thou myndeful of the vowy, that thou vowidist, to bilden up Jerusalem, in the day in whiche thou toke the rewme; and to senden ayen alle the vessels,

44 that ben taken fro Jerusalem, the whiche Cyrus departide, whanne he slouy Babiloyne, and wolde sende ayen thoo thingis thidere.

45 And thou woldist bilde up the temple, that Ydumes brenden, for Judee is put out of her termes, or marchis, of the Caldeis.

46 And now, lord, this it is that I aske, and that I bidde; this is the mageste that I aske of thee, that thou do the vow that thou vowidist to the kyng of heuen, of thi mouth.

47 Thanne Darius, the kyng, risynge kisside him, and wroot epistlis to alle the dispensatours, and prefectis, and to men clothid in purpre, that thei schulden lede him forth, and hem that weren with him, alle wendynge up to bilde Jerusalem.

48 And to alle the prefectis that weren in Sirie, and Fenyce, and Liban, he wroot epistles, that thei schulden drawe cedre trees fro the hill Liban in to Jerusalem, that thei bilde up the citee with hem.

49 And he wroot to alle the Jewis, that steyden up fro the rewme in Judee, for fredam, that ony man of power, or maistir iuge, and prefect, schulden not come ouer to the yatis of hem,

50 and eche regioun, that thei hadden holde, to be fre fro hem; and that Ydumeis leue up the castels of Jewis, that thei withholden,

51 and to yiue yer bi yer twenty talentis, in to making of the temple, vnto the tyme that it be ful bildid;

52 and ech day to offre ostis upon the place of sacrid thingis, as thei ben comaundid; to offre, bi alle yeris, othere ten talentis; and to alle men,

53 that gon forth fro Babiloyne, to make the citee, as fredom were, bothe to hem, and to the sones of hem, and to the prestis that gon bifore.

54 Forsothe also he wroot the quantitee; and he comaundide the sacrid stole, or vestyment, to be youen, in whiche thei schulden serue;

55 and he wroot wagis to be youen to the dekens, vnto the day that the hous schulde be fully endid, and Jerusalem maad out; and he wrot to alle men kepinge the citee,

56 to yiue to the bilders lottis and wagis.

57 And he lefte hem alle the vessels, that Cirus had partid fro Babiloyn; and alle thingis, what euer Cyrus seide, he comaundide it to be don, and to be sent to Jerusalem.

58 And whanne that younge man had gon forth, reisynge his face toward Jerusalem, he blesside the kyng of heuen, and seide,

59 Of thee, Lord, is victorie, and of thee is wisdom, and clernesse, and I am thi seruaunt.

60 Thou art blessid, for thou hast youen to me wisdom, and I knowleche to thee, Lord of oure fadris.

61 And he toke the epistlis, or lettres, and wente forth in to Babiloyne; and he came, and tolde to alle his bretheren, that weren in Babyloyne.

62 And thei blessiden the God of her fadris, that yaf to hem foryiuenesse and refreschyng,

63 that thei schulden stye up, and bilde Jerusalem, and the temple, where his name is nemned in it; and thei ioyeden with musikis and with gladnesse seuen daies.