Book Of Esther

BOOK OF ESTHER: EXPLANATORY NOTES


ABBREVIATIONSCA: Gower, Confessio AmantisCMCursor mundiCT: Chau­cer, Canterbury TalesDBTELA Dic­tionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, ed. Jeffrey; HS: Peter Comes­tor, Historia Scholastica, cited by book and chapter, followed by Patrologia Latina column in paren­theses; K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; MEDMiddle English DictionaryNOABNew Oxford Annotated BibleOEDOxford English DictionaryOFPOld French Paraphrase, British Library, MS Egerton 2710, cited by folio and column; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial PhrasesYorkYork Plays, ed. Beadle. For other abbreviations, see Textual Notes.

By moving directly from Tobias to Esther, the Paraphrase-poet omits two books of Comes­tor’s HS entirely (Ezechiel and Daniel) and inverts the Vulgate (and HS) order of Judith and Esther. As noted in the introduction, however, this odd ordering of books replicates that found in the canon of Cassiodorus.

16482 faurty days. Esther 1:4 reads “a hundred and fourscore days” (180 days), while HS Esther 1 (1489) reads “centum et septuaginta diebus” (170 days). I can find no source for the far shorter number found here.

16505 aghtyn day. Esther 1:10 reads “seventh day,” as does HS Esther 1 (1490).

16539 to princes he con hym pleyne. Esther 1:13 terms those consulted “wise men,” or “sages” — men who knew the laws and could properly judge the course of action to take. The Paraphrase-poet, ever attentive to differences between the world of his text and the world of his audience, shifts this to the more contemporary idea of a king among his aristocratic peerage.

16600 his brother doyghtur. Compare Esther 2:7, “his uncle’s daughter.”

16629 festes thre. Neither the Bible nor HS Esther 1 (1491) provide a specific number.

16794–96 cald a clerke . . . forto rede in romans ryght / what ferlys in his tym befell. The story that the king will hear is told earlier, at Esther 2:19–23. That the poet asso­ciates this tale with a romance narrative is itself interesting: the Vulgate describes the reading material as “historias et annales,” casting Mordecai’s previous service to the crown in a historical light rather than in an adven­turous one.

16869–72 Haman’s lack of appetite and general sense of foreboding are details added by the Paraphrase-poet; the biblical source has nothing of the kind.

16949–52 Thus whoso wyll the sakles shame / for any lordschep in this land . . . or wers. As the poet quickly sums up the remaining chapters of the biblical text, which focus primarily on the aftereffects of Haman’s execution, he sets aside the litur­gical importance of the story for Jews: the fact that these events are annually recounted during the festival of Purim. Instead, he turns to a lesson more fitting for his own contemporary audience.


BOOK OF ESTHER: TEXTUAL NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: L: MS Longleat 257; H: Heuser edition (partial); K: Kalén-Ohlander edition; O: Ohlander’s corrigenda to K; P: Peck edition (partial); S: MS Selden Supra 52 (base text for this edition).

16453, 55 Lines indented to leave space for an initial capital; first letter of line 16453 writ­ten in the middle of the space.

16470 erles. So L, K. S: erthyls.

16480 his. So L, K. S: in his.

16491 Ther. So L, K. S: þei.

16493 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 151v): Hester.

16504 abowt. So L, K. S: a bow.

16509 meyne. S: y inserted above the line.

16511 aftur. So L, K. S: perhaps corrected from eftur.

16514 tent. S: tentes.

16523 say. S: sayd.

16535 price. So L, K. S: prince.

16537 yt. So L, K. S omits.

16538 S: lines 16551–52 copied and then canceled after the line.

16549 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 152r): Hester.

16561 this. S: is þis.

16563 noyghtnoy3t b.

16564 are. S: h are.

16568 sene. So L, K. S: meynd.

16585 fra. So S. L, K: fro.

16588 to. S: s to.

16590 S: lines 16587–88 copied and then canceled after the line.

16591 manly. So L, K. S: namly.

16603 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 152v): Hester.
meneys. So K. S: moneys. L: meues.


16610 with. So L, K. S: we.

16619 Hester. S: Aftur, with Hester added in the left margin.

16621 mery. S: letter canceled before.

16625 kyned. S: corrected from kyn.

16646 evyn als. So L, K. S: als euyn.

16647 yt. So L, K. S omits.

16648 his. S: his mete.

16652 bot. So L, K. S: bo.

16663 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 153r): Hester.

16678 suld. So L, K. S omits.

16682 man. So L, K. S: mony.

16701 thyng. So L, K. S: tythyng.

16719 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 153v): Hester.

16722 when. So L, K. S: whe.

16729 and. S: inserted above the line.

16732 I. S: in I.

16748 hyr. So L, K. S omits.

16754 space. S: inserted above canceled god.

16770 qweynes. So L, K. S: kynges.

16775 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 154r): Hester.
Merdochyus. So S. L, K: Mardochyus.


16779 therforn. So L, K. S: therfor.

16780 a. So L, K. S: þe.

16787 cubbettes. So L, K. S: cublettes.

16791 all the. So L, K. S: on a.

16798 full. S: ful full.

16804 be. S: inserted above canceled of.

16817 kyng. S: k kyng.

16822 kyng. So L, K. S omits.

16829 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 154v): Hester.
on. So L, K. S: in.


16838 not. So L, K. S: no.

16858 hym. So L, K. S: in.

16861 with syghyng. So L, K. S: syghand.

16880 thine. S: corrected from thnne.

16883 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 155r): Hester.

16892 Ser. So L, K. S: for.
cummand. So L, K. S: commawnd cumnand.


16893 this word. So L, K. S: thies wordes.

16894 yt. So L, K. S: he.

16906 grene. So L, K. S: gryme.

16908 bed. S: be s, with d inserted above the line.

16918 yf. S: of yf.

16921 cummand. So L, K. S: cumnand.
his. S: he his.


16927 to. So L, K. S omits.

16937 Marginalia in S (at top of fol. 155v): no heading.

16938 weyld. So L, K. S: veyld.

16947 name. S: nane name.

16954 in. So L, K. S: and.
 
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Book Of Esther

HESTER LIBER.
 

 
[KING AHASUERUS’ FEAST AND QUEEN VASHTI’S DEPOSITION (1:1–22)]
 



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1372.
Here may men loke who lykes to lere
   of solace and of sorowyng also;
How that this werld wuns ever in were
   fro wo to wele, fro wele to wo;
Of a rych kyng heyght Assuere,
   and of his wyfes, for he had two.
Both were thei qwenys by seson sere.
   Qwene Vasti heyght that on of tho,
That other Hester heyght;
   and als lernyd men may loke,
Aftur hyr name full ryght
   this ys cald Hester Boke.

1373.
This mater more to make in mynd,
   this myghty man that I of meyne,
Fro Ethiope unto grett Iend
   was he kyng of all cuntré cleyne.
He mad a fest, als folke may fynd,
   of dukes, erles, and knytes kene,
And bad that none suld leve behynd,
   because he suld be soveran sene
And knawn for kyng and prince
   of castels, towre, and town.
Sex score and sevyn provynce
   were to his bedyng bown.

1374.
And all he bad that thei suld be
   ylk man in ther rychest arays
At Susa, in his awn cyté,
   for thor was purvayd his paylays.
And to his kepers commawnd he
   that his fest suld last faurty days
With all ryches and ryalté
   that any man couth poynt or prays.
The chambers dyd thei dyght
   so that noyght suld be sene
Bot of gold burnyscht bryght
   and pyrry couchyd full clene.

1375. 
Ther bordes ware sett of sylver syne,
   and trystes of the same ordand ere;
Ther vessell all of gold full fyne
   that any man to bord suld bere;
And kokes that were in kechyn
   of sylver and gold was all ther geyre.
Ther was no wantyng of no wyn,
   ne of no welth that lordes suld were.
All maner of mynstralsy
   wore thore them forto glad.
Ther myght no man dyscrye
   more myrth then thore was made.

1376.
In this meyne tyme that I of tell,
   Qweyne Vasty made full grett gedderyng
Of all the lades that con dwell
   abowt hyre nere, both old and yyng.
And on the aghtyn day befell
   that Assuer, this ryall kyng,
Wold schew his myght thos men omell
   and his power of erthly thyng.
And of more myrth to meyne,
   because sho was semly,
He sentt aftur the qweyne
   to glad that cumpany.

1377.
Sevyn eunokes of his chambre chefe
   that to lades that tym toke tent
Wentt to the qweyn with wordes brefe
   and sayd how the kyng for hyr sent.
Sho toke yt gretly unto grefe
   that swylke men on that errand wentt;
For worthy lordes that were hyr leyfe
   suld make sych message, so sho ment.
Scho gart them wend agayn
   withoutyn motyng more
And say the kyng certayn
   that sho myght not come thore.

1378.
Swylke eunockes both north and south
   ware wont then lades forto lede.
Forto kepe ther counsayll wele thei couth
   and no thyng speke bot that myght spede.
And thei were ordand in ther yowth
   that thei myght do no manly dede,
Bot ever more meke and myld of mouth
   servandes als maydyns for ther mede.
The queyne toyght ther servyce
   fell not for hyr degré,
Whyls mony princes of price
   ware in that same semlé.

1379.
The kyng toke yt to grett dedyne
   that his wyf wold not werke his wyll;
And to princes he con hym pleyne
   and bad thei suld take tent thertyll
How that the qweyne so wold hyr feyne
   his commawndment not to fulfyll,
And that thei suld, or thei went theyne,
   be wele avysyd of that same skyll
And ordan them amang
   what were best forto do;
And were yt wele or wrang,
   he wold assent therto.

1380.
Thos princes, als the kyng purvayd,
   assembled all into a halle,
And thore ther resons thei arayd
   for swylke a fare what suld befall.
And all samyn to the kyng thei sayd:
   “Ser, our assent say thee we sall:
Us thynke this lake is not layd
   to thee allon bot to us all;
For swylk maters to move,
   bot boyte be sett therin,
Yt may be grett reprove
   to us and all our kyn.

1381.
“For yf this noyte were noysed in land,
   yt suld make lades be more kene
And noyght to be to ther husband
   bowsom als thei are hath bene.
Ther commawndmentes thei suld gayn stand
   and sett exempyll of the qwene.
And therfor, ser, we have ordand
   that swylke maters no more be sene;
And for this dede is demyd
   so that thi qwene Vasty
For hyr defawt be flemed
   fere fro thi cumpany.

1382.
“And then do crye in ylk cuntré
   and byd all wemen to be bown
To ther husbandes in all degré
   to save his ryght and his renown.
And sone do seke in ylke cyté
   fayre maydyns both in feld and town,
And chese on of them to thee
   forto be qweyne and were the crowne,
Qwylke thee thynke best wyll seme
   a lades lyf to lede.”
Evyn als tho princes con deme
   gart he be doyn in dede.
 

learn; (t-note)

exists; strife

called Ahasuerus

in various times
Vashti
Esther






speak
Ethiopia; India


brave knights; (t-note)
ordered
seen as sovereign


127 provinces
bidding obedient




Susa
palace; (t-note)

(see note)

appoint
construct
nothing

precious stones


tables; then
trestles; are
(t-note)

cooks; kitchen; (t-note)
gear
lack; any
wear
entertainment





same time


her near; (t-note)
eighth; (see note)

among those men

(t-note)
beautiful
(t-note)



eunuchs
ladies; took heed; (t-note)




dear to her

She made; go back
arguing
(t-note)




ladies



deed

service


renown; (t-note)
assembly


disdain; (t-note)
(t-note)
[the] princes; complain; (see note)
take heed thereto
shirk

before they departed
advised; happening


good or bad



(t-note)

there their

as one

affront; directed
alone

unless solution




trouble; widely known; (t-note)
women; bold
(t-note)
obedient as they have been; (t-note)
turn against
follow

(t-note)


driven away
far



obedient


soon

choose
wear

ladylike life
did advise
he caused to happen in deed

 
[AHASUERUS SEEKS A NEW QUEEN, MARRIES ESTHER, A JEW (2:1–18)]
 

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1383. 
Thei soyght in towns to and fra,
   and all fayre maydyns that thei fand
To the kynges court thei gart them ga
   to se who suld be qweyne ordand.
In that same cyté of Susa
   a gentyll Jew then was dwelland
That manly durst no maystrays ma,
   for paynyms law used all that land.
The Bybyll tellys to us
   this man that I of meyn
Was named Mardochius,
   that before bold had beyn.

1384. 
Mardochius was dyght to dwell
   als neghtbour nere to the kynges gate,
And with hym wund a damsell,
   his brother doyghtur leved o late.
Hester scho heyght, os I herd tell;
   of a fayrrer woman no man wate.
Mardochyus meneys hym forto mell
   yf sho myght stepe unto the qweynys astate.
Rychly he hyr arayd
   that wrschep forto wyn,
And for hyr parte he purvayd,
   so that sho was takyn in

1385.
And ordand to be on of sevyn
   that with the kyng suld ryse and rest,
Of whom on suld be ordand evyn
   with hym in fayth forto be fest.
When he had purvayd them state and stevyn
   ylkon abowt to be his gest,
Als God wold send hyr helpe fro Hevyn,
   Hester to luf hym lyked best.
The other wentt home be deyne
   bot hyr that hym was levere.
Hester was crowned qweyne
   and Vasty voyde forever.

1386.
Mardocheus was full mery in mynd
   when he hard how this fare fell in.
He sent his frendes, als folke may fynd,
   to say hyr how sho suld begyn,
That sho suld noyght carpe of hyr kyned
   that scho was comyn of Jewys kyn;
For paynyms had lever had them pyned
   then wytt that thei suld to welth wyn.
The kyng made festes thre
   with lordes and knyghtes keyne,
And bad all folke suld be
   bowand to his new qweyne.
 

fro; (t-note)
found
made them go
(t-note)

dwelling; (t-note)
dared make no revolt; (t-note)
against the pagan

speak
Mordecai





lived
left [to him] recently; (see note)
Esther she was called
knew
intends; inquire; (t-note)

adorned
honor





(t-note)

married
places and the right of speech



straightway
except her that he preferred
(t-note)



(t-note)



speak of her kind; (t-note)
of a Jewish family
would rather; tortured
know; they (Jews)
three feasts; (see note)


obedient (bowing)

 
[HAMAN SEEKS TO DESTROY THE JEWS (3:1–15)]
 



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16680
 
1387.
The qweyne in lykyng leve we than
   in ryall state so styll to stand,
And of the kyng carpe, yf we can,
   a farly fare that he furth fand.
He had a stewerd, that heyght Aman,
   that was leder of all his land;
And what the kyng with wrschep wan,
   all had he holly under hand.
The kyng lufed hym so wele
   his hert he con hym hete,
And commawnd all men to knele
   whore so thei suld hym mete,

1388.
And that men suld hym honour ay
   evyn als hymself in gud degré.
And yt befell so on a day
   Aman went so unto his meneye.
Mardochyus satt evyn in his way
   on benke whore he was wonnt to be.
To Aman wold he no word say,
   bot styll in sted evyn ther satt he.
Aman for his behove
   be that same way oft yode.
Mardochyus wold not move
   to hym nauder hat ne hode.

1389.
So Aman noyes were ever new
   for this same cause when he com thore.
Sum enmyse that Mardochyus knew
   sayd he and his kyn Jewys thei wore.
When Aman wyst he was a Jew,
   then was his malyse mekyll more
And sayd full sone yt suld hym rew,
   for he wold not fale hym before.
He askyd leve of the kyng
   all for Mardochius sake
All Jews to draw and hyng
   whore so men myght them take.

1390.
Aman gart wrytt this ylke warrand
   in all the hast that ever he may.
The kyng yt seled with his awn hand,
   and then Aman went fast his way.
He sent letturs thrugh all that land
   that all tho that lyfyd by the Jewys lay
Sall com, als the kyng hath commawnd,
   tyll Susa cyté a certan day.
He bad both wyf and chyld
   suld bow to this bydyng
And thare gudes tame and wyld
   befor feyt to the kyng.
 

joy

speak

Haman

honor won


promise




always

(t-note)
company; (t-note)

bench

place; (t-note)

went

neither hat nor hood (i.e., he would not bow)


Haman’s annoyance

enemies


much
(t-note)
bow before him


hang



caused to be written; warrant
haste
sealed






(t-note)
all their goods
fetched

 
[MORDECAI SEEKS ESTHER’S HELP TO SAVE THE JEWS (4:1–17)]
 





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16695




16700






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16710




16715

 
1391.
When this word to the Jewys was went,
   to Susa soyght man, wyf, and knave.
Mardochyus herd then how thei ment;
   for reuth he remed als he suld rave.
For wele he saw he suld be shent
   yf Aman so his hele myght have.
Unto the qweyne softly he sentt
   and prayd hyr help hyrselfe to save.
He made hyr understand
   and all the soth suppose
How Aman had ordand
   all hyr lynage to lose.

1392.
So qwen the qweyne this consell kend,
   scho syghyd sore with sympyll chere.
This myschefe wold scho were mend,
   bot sho wyst not on what manere.
Hyr folke sho wold full fayn dyffend
   so that thei myght lyf furth in fere,
And hald hyr eme owt of ther hend,
   forto be noyd was non so nere.
Sho wyst wele of this thyng
   was no counsayle to crave
Bot thrugh helpe of the kyng,
   and that was hard to have.

1393.
Unto hyr eme sho sent in hy
   that he suld take no grevance grett,
Bot trest wele in God Allmighty
   and thre days fast fro drynke and mette
And pray to God all specially
   Hym forto helpe owt of that hette.
“And so sall my maydyns and I,
   for so I trow gud grace to gette.”
Thus dyd thei tho thre days,
   and than withoutyn more
Rychly sho hyr arays
   to com the kyng before.
 


(t-note)

ruth he cried out; be mad
killed









when; counsel knew



very gladly
together
uncle; hands

(t-note)





haste


food

difficulty

thereby I believe
those

adorns herself

 
[ESTHER SETS A FEAST FOR THE KING AND HAMAN (5:1–8)]
 




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1394.
Als he was sett in solace sere
   with other maysters full mony moo,
In his presens sho con apeyre
   full ferdly all of ferrom hym fro.
He made hyr tokyns to come nere,
   and when sho saw that he dyd so,
Scho menskyd hym with full meré chere;
   yt was solace to se them two.
He sayd, “Welcom, my qweyne!
   Thou comys sum thyng to crave.
Say what thou wyll of meyne,
   and, sertes, thou sall yt have.”

1395.
“A, lord,” sho sayd, “and thi wyll be,
   my myrth yt myght full mekyll amend
And thou wold this day dyne with me
   in lufly loge that I in lend,
And byd Ser Aman com with thee,
   that is chefe of thi counsell kend.”
“My wyfe,” he says, “gladly wyll we.
   For Aman sall we aftur send.”
That fest was gudly grayd
   with all gamys that myght glade.
Sho toyght more then scho sayd,
   bot mekyll myrth thei made.

1396. 
The kyng come namly at the noyne,
   and Aman, that grett favour feld.
Sho welcomd them, yf thei were sone,
   with all wrschep that scho couth weld.
And when the dyner was all done,
   the kyng unto his qweyn beheld
And bad hyr boldly aske hyr boyne,
   for he was bowne hyr forto beld.
Sho sayd then to the kyng,
   “My lord, be leve of thee,
This day I aske nothyng
   bot glad and blyth to be.

1397.
“And ferrer, lord, now wold I frayn,
   sen ye to speke hath graunt me space,
That ye to morn wold come agayn
   to dyne with me in this same place,
And of Aman als I am fayn
   that he playnly swylke power has.
And, ser, then sall I say certayn
   what myght me comforth in this case.”
The kyng grauntes ylk dele
   to fulfyll hyr entent.
Sho wenes all sall be wele,
   and so ther ways thei went.
 


lords
did appear; (t-note)
coldly; far from him
signs
(t-note)
honored


ask for




if you desire it so; (t-note)

If
the beautiful home; live; (t-note)
command



well prepared
entertainments










reward
comfort; (t-note)






further
(t-note)






each part



 
[HAMAN PLANS MORDECAI’S DEATH (5:9–14)]
 

16765




16770




16775






16780




16785



 
1398.
Syr Aman wele wytt may we
   went home with mekyll pompe and pryd.
He cald his wyfe and his meneye
   and told unto them in that tyde
How that ther was none bed bot he
   at the qweynes burd with the kyng to byde,
And on the morn how he suld be
   in that same place sett them besyd.
“And sen that thei do thus,
   me thynke no fawte I fele
Bot fals Merdochyus
   that to me noyght wyll knele.”

1399.
His wyfe says, “Sertes, yt is grett scorn
   that he wyll not ryse of his sette.
Bot, ser, lett ordan fast therforn:
   sett up a tre both long and grette,
And aske leve of the kyng at morn
   that he be hanged or ever he ete.
So sall his lyf by lyghtly lorn;
   then may thou be mery at thi mete.”
Than gart he grath men gang
   and sone sett up a sperre
Of fyfty cubbettes lang
   Merdochius on to marre.
 



company

asked
table; (t-note)




Except; (t-note)





(t-note)
gallows; (t-note)

before he eats anything



timber (gallows)
cubits high; (t-note)
kill

 
[THE KING DECIDES TO HONOR MORDECAI’S SERVICE (6:1–14; 2:19–23)]
 


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16855




16860
 
1400.
Bot God, that hym His helpe hath heyght,
   ordand that qwayntyse forto qwell.
The kyng lay wakand all the nyght,
   and of sere maters so con he mell.
He bad servantes to sett up lyght
   and cald a clerke that couth hym tell
And forto rede in romans ryght
   what ferlys in his tym befell.
That clerke then sat redand
   full mony poyntes of price,
And in a sted he fand
   whore wryttyn was on this wyse:

1401.
“Two men that wold not byde for bale
   thor be the way onys als thei wentt,
Thei counsayld same and sayd, ‘We sall
   gare slay the kyng be our assent.’
And on Merdocheus herd this tale,
   all how thei of swylke maters ment.
Unto the kyng he told yt hale,
   and els he had bene shamly shent.”
The kyng asked what reward
   Mardocheus had here fore.
The clerke saw noyght declared
   be word ne wryttyng thore.

1402.
By this was done, then was lyght day.
   Ser Aman hoped to have his bone,
And in he come the kyng to pray
   that Mardocheus were hanged soyne.
The kyng hym cald and bad hym say
   what dede suld to that man be doyne
That the kyng wold have wrschept all way:
   “This wold I wytt with wordes foyne.”
Aman thynkes, “That am I
   that the kyng wyll wrscheped be.
None is so wele worthy.”
   Therfor thus ordand he.

1403.
He says, “Lord, this sall be his mede
   that the kyng wyll reverence with renown:
He sall be cled in kynges wede
   and crowned with a kynges crowne.
He sall sytt on the kynges awn sted,
   and the best bachelar sall be bown
His brydyll bowsomly to lede
   and crye with trumpeyttes thrugh all the towne:
‘Thus is the kynges wyll!
   Whom he wyll wrschepe wele,
That thus be done hym tyll
   and all men unto hym knele!’”

1404.
The kyng was of this purpase payd
   and sayd, “Loke that thou tarry not lang,
Bot sone thou loke all this geyre be grayd,
   and take on of our stedes strang,
And make Merdocheus be arayd
   aftur thi wordes that noyght be wrang.
And als thou hath assygned and sayd,
   thiself sall be his brydyll gang.
And when thou has done so,
   to mete we sall go soyne.”
Then was Aman full wo,
   bot wyghtly was yt done.

1405.
Mardocheus had grett mervell then
   what all thier maters myght be meyne.
Bot wele he toyght the ground began
   of his cosyn, the kynges qweyne.
Full sorely lett Ser Aman
   be all ther dedes were doyne be deyne.
Unto his howse wyghtly he wan,
   and thor was sorowyng sadly seyne.
Als thei so mornyng made,
   on come hym to rehete
And sayd the kyng abade
   to he come to his mete.
 

promised
scheme
awake; (t-note)
many; so did he think

(see note)
tales
marvels
reading
(t-note)




remain [loyal] due to evil
there by the road (i.e., the gate) once
together
cause; (t-note)


entirely
otherwise; killed

for this





reward

at once
(t-note)
done

few

(t-note)




reward
who
clothes

place; (t-note)
young knights; bound
humbly







pleased
(t-note)
this material be gathered
horses
arrayed


by his bridle go

banquet





these
foundation [of them]

passed
until all these deeds


mourning
one [man]; comfort; (t-note)
was waiting

 
[ESTHER’S SECOND BANQUET; HANAN EXPOSED AND KILLED (7:1–10)]
 





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1406.
Then went he furth with syghyng sore,
   bot he behoved chaunge his sembland soyne.
So when he come the kyng before,
   he sayd his wyll was dewly doyne.
Thei went to mete withoutyn more,
   and mery mad the kyng that noyne.
The qweyn, for hyr frendes wepand wore,
   thynkes eftur mete to aske hyr boyne.
Syr Aman thynkes hym shent,
   no mete myght make hym glade,
For he dowtes hym to hent
   more harme then he yett hade.

1407.
The qweyne was fayn them forto fyll
   with alkyn bestes and fowls fyne,
With spycery to spare or spyll;
   and when the kyng was glade with wyne,
The kyng sayd then the qweyn untyll,
   “Wyf, aske of me oght that is myne,
For half my kyngdom yf thou wyll!
   Aske yt and yt sal be thine.”
Then down to knese sho kneled
   sum dele with drery mode,
And sayd, “Lord, God yow yeld!
   Me nedes none erthly gude.

1408.
“Bot of this boyn beseke I thee:
   his strengh to stroy and to gayn stand
That wyll confownd my kyn and me
   and stroy our lynag in this land.”
The kyng askes, “What herlott is he
   that swylke heghtnes dere take on hand?”
Sho says, “Lord, yf thi lykyng be,
   Ser Aman has this care cummand.”
When the kyng herd this word,
   yt merveld all his mode.
He rayse up fro the burd
   and into a garthyn he yode.

1409.
Thore went he hym forto avyse
   what ware to carpe in slyke a kynd.
The qweyn seke on hyr bed sho lys,
   for scho was moved all out of mynd.
Ser Aman then full spedely spyse
   how he myght any favour fynd.
Before the qweyn he knelys and cryes
   to pray hyr that he be not pynd.
The kyng com in with that,
   for greved both gull and grene,
And sees whor Aman satt
   at the bed besyd the qweyne.

1410.
That moved hym more to tene that tyd,
   bot Aman withdrew hym for drede.
Unto the kyng another cryde,
   “This day is doyne a dolefull dede:
Aman has sett his howse besyd
   a gebett, large of lengh and brede,
Mardocheus ther with rewth to ryde.
   Thus has he heyght, who wyll take hede.”
The kyng asked other mo
   yf he swylk maystrys meyve.
Thei sayd all he dyd so
   Mardocheus to myschefe.

1411.
The kyng then cummand his meneye,
   “Ser Aman tyte I byd yow take
And hang hymself on that same tre
   that he mad for Mardocheus sake.”
Thei were full blyth yt suld so be,
   and sone that maystry con thei make.
And Jews that soyght to that cyté,
   then mott thei wende to wynly wake.
And qweyne was glad and blyth
   with Merdocheus and mo.
Thei thanked God oft sythe
   that them had socurd soo.
 

(t-note)
appearance quickly

dutifully

noon

food; reward
himself destroyed; (see note)

worries he might suffer



pleased






(t-note)


(t-note)








pride dares

(t-note)
(t-note)
(t-note)
table
garden he went


consider
say in such a situation
fainting; she lies

wonders


executed

yellow and green [with rage]; (t-note)

(t-note)


anger at that time




a gallows 
with grief to hang
sworn

intended; (t-note)




(t-note)
quickly


glad

journeyed; (t-note)
may they go to merry festivities


often times
succored

 
[THE JEWS SAVED (8:1–10:3)]
 



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16955     

 
1412.
Thus was his blyse all broyght in bale
   that to Merdocheus mened full yll.
His wyf and barnes, both grett and smale,
   were flemed ferre for that same skyll.
Hys howse and all his howshald hale
   was gyfyn to the qweyne to weyld at wyll,
And his tressour to tell be tale
   to Jews that were spoled forto spyll.
The wryttes that were enseled
   at putt the Jews to payn,
By wrytte thei were repelyd.
   Then were tho folke ful fayn.

1413.
So was fals Aman hanged at hame,
   als he tyll other had yll ordand.
Mardocheus was made in hys name
   stewerd in his sted to stand.
Thus whoso wyll the sakles shame
   for any lordschep in this land,
Apon themself sall fall the same
   or wers. This may we wele understand.
God graunt us grace to end
   in luf and charité
And all our myse to mend!
   Amen. So mott yt be!
 

to sorrow
intended
children
driven far away
completely; (t-note)
were given; wield; (t-note)

plundered
letters; officially made
death
repealed
those people very glad




(t-note)
steward in his place
innocent; (see note)


worse

(t-note)
misdeeds to amend
may

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