Wisdom 17

1 Forsothe, Lord, thi domes ben greet, and thi wordis moun not be fulli teld out; vnlerned soulis erriden for these.

2 For the while wickid men holden for stidfast, that thei moun be lordis of hooli nacioun, thei weren feterid with boondis of derknessis, and of long niyt, and weren closid vndur rooues; and thei fugityues weren suget to euerlastinge puruyaunce.

3 And the while thei gessen hem to be hid in derk synnes, thei weren scaterid bi derk hidyng of foryetyng, dredynge hidousli, and disturblid with ful greet wondryng.

4 For the denne that withhelde hem, kepte not with out drede; for whi sown comynge doun disturblide hem, and soreuful persoones apperynge to hem, yauen drede to hem.

5 And sotheli no myyt of fier myyte yyue liyt to hem, and the cleer flawmes of sterris myyten not liytne that hidouse nyyt.

6 Sotheli sodeyn fier ful of drede apperide to hem; and thei weren smytun with the drede of that face, that was not seyn, and gessiden tho thingis to be worse, that weren seyn.

7 And scornes of whitche craft weren leid to, and the glorie of wisdom was chastisyng with dispisyng.

8 For thei, that bihiyten hem silf to putte awei dredis and disturblyngis fro a sijk soule, weren ful with scorn, and weren sijk for drede.

9 For whi thouy no thing of the wondris ayens kynde disturblide hem, thei weren mouyd bi the passyng of beestis, and bi the hissyng of eddris, and trembliden, and perischiden; and denyeden, that thei sien the eyr, which a man myyte not ascape bi ony resoun; for whi worste thingis bifore ocupien ofte, while the conscience repreueth.

10 For sithen wickidnesse is dreedful, it is youun in to condempnacioun of alle men; for whi a conscience disturblid presumeth euere wickid thingis.

11 For whi drede is no thing, no but help of presumpcioun, and schewyng of thouyt of helpis.

12 And the while lesse abydyng is fro with ynne, it gessith gretter power of that cause, of which it yyueth turment.

13 Forsothe thei, that camen in to a myyti niyt, and comynge aboue fro loweste thingis, and fro hiyeste thingis, thei slepynge the same sleep,

14 weren hurlid sum tyme bi drede of wondris ayens kynde, sum tyme the soulis failiden bi ledyng ouer; for why sudeyn drede and vnhopid, cam on hem.

15 Afterward if ony of hem hadde fel doun, he was kept closid in prisoun, with out yrun;

16 for if ony cheerl was, ethir scheepherd, ethir a werk man of feeldis, and was bifore ocupied, he suffride nede that miyte not be ascapid.

17 For whi alle men weren boundun togidere bi o chayne of derknessis; ether a wynd hissynge, ether swete sown of briddis bitwixe the thicke bowis of trees, ethir the feersnesse of watir rennynge doun greetli,

18 ethir a strong soun of stoonys cast doun, ethir the rennyng vnseyn of beestis pleiynge, ethir the strong vois of beestis lowynge, ethir ecco sownynge ayen fro hiyeste hillis, maden hem failynge for drede.

19 Forsothe al the world was liytned with cleer liyt, and was not withholdun in werkis lettid.

20 But a greuouse niyt, the ymage of derknessis, that was to comyng on hem, was set on hem aloone; therfor thei weren greuousere to hem silf than the derknessis.