[TOBIT’S BACKGROUND, FAMILY, AND CHARITY (1:1–22)]
Of trew Thoby now tell wyll we,
of whom the word hath went full wyd,
How he was born in Galalé,
a cuntré nere the est seesyd,
And noryscht in a ryche cyté
that Neptalym was named that tyde;
And of that same kynred come he,
als connyng clerkes hath clarefyde.
Who wyll take tent ther tyll
by this tale may be kend
To love God lowd and styll,
what soynd so He wyll send.
Jeroboam we have herd tell
of the Ebrews was crowned kyng,
And all the land of Israel
had he to led at his lykyng.
And whyls he wold with God dwell,
he had welth of all werdly thyng;
Bot sythyn in fowle folys he fell,
so dyd his pepyll, old and yyng.
He made them calfys of gold
and sayd tho myght them mend,
Bot sythyn that bargan bold
broyght hym to have yll end.
Jeroboam wyll we leve at hame
and nevyn another nere therby.
Salmanaser was his name,
and he was kyng of all Assery.
Als Jeroboam dyd, he used the same,
maynteinyng his men in mawmentry.
Therfor gud folke he shent with schame,
bot God saved His servant Toby.
Thys ylk Kyng Salmanaser,
his foylies to fulfyll,
Wold wyt yf any were
that wold not werke his wyll.
He commawnd all men lese and mare
that hym with sewt or servyce soght
That thei suld cum furth hym before
and wrschep goddes that he had wroght.
Bot Toby kyn wold not come thore,
therfor in bondag were thei broyght.
And he, all yf he yongest wore,
ever wrschept God with wyll and toyght.
He fled fro his enmys
to Jerusalem in hye
And made therfor sacrafyce
to God Allmightye.
The kyng of wyll was so otrayge,
all tho that wold groch hym agayn,
All wore yt man or woman or page,
he commawnd that thei suld be slayn.
Then Toby went withoutyn wage,
to bery them he was full bayn,
And all that lyfes of his lynag
forto dyffend was he full fayn.
Bot sone fro frendes he fled
of ferre for dred of dede,
And thore a wyf he wede
comyn of his awn kynred.
That wyfe heyght Ana, as I herd say,
that ever in hyre trewth was trew,
And unto God so con thei pray.
scho bayre a sun semly of hew.
The fader, that lyfyd by Moyses Lay,
wold make his sun aftur hym to sew
And named hym Toby; then ware thei
two of an name, both old and new.
The fader with luf and aw
lernd hym, whyls he was yyng,
To lyfe by Moyses Law
and luf God over all thyng.
Sythyn was the kyng assent certayn,
ryght evyn als God wold that yt were,
That Toby suld com home agayn
and have his sted and all his store.
Of that fayre was his frendes full fayn,
and Toby ordand fast therfore.
So was he putt in power playn
als mekyll os he ever was before.
The kyng commawnd to loke
that he had his all hale,
And unto hym he toke
tresour withoutyn tale.
When Thoby thus had gettyn grace
and gold was gyfyn hym grett plenté,
He went abowt fro place to place
to cumforth folke of his cuntré.
And no spense spared he in that space
to tho that ware thrall to make them free.
Tho folk ware fayn to folow his trace,
for all that sorow had socurd he.
He beryd all that ware ded
whore he them fand before;
Into the provynce of Mede,
and thus befell yt thore,
In the rych cyté of Rages,
a frend of his before he fand
That lely lyfyd withoutyn lese.
Than had he lorn both lyth and land.
Toby hym saw and myght not sese,
bot for his sake he was sorowand
And bed his comforth to encrese
at his power with hert and hand.
Gabell heyght that gud man
that was so stratly sted.
Tyll Thoby told he than
how his land was layd in wede,
And he had noyght therfor to pay,
wherfor he trowd yt forto tyne.
Then to Toby thus con he say,
“Ser, save me and yt sall be thine.”
Thor Toby toke to hym that day
ten talentes of gold fayr and fyne.
Sevyn hunderth and twenty libras weyd thei
forto be wayred in wax and wyne.
For ylke talent of tho,
forto tell by trew payse,
Weyd twenty libras and two;
Catholicon yt so says.
This gud toke Toby to Gabell
by sewrty mad betwyx them two,
And Gabell sett therto his seall
by wyttenesyng of mony moo.
Both in ther law thei ware full lele,
as afturward was fundun so.
Than wund Thoby with werdly wele
and warescht all that ware in wo.
And so betyd that tyd,
als God ordand therfore,
Kyng Salmanaser dyed
and past with payns sore.
When Salmanaser so was deyd
and broyght unto his bereyng bowne,
Hys sun Senacheryb on hed
resayved the kyngdom and the crowne.
Tho that the fader with wekyd red
mad to be ponyschyd in presown,
The sun wold byd no bettur bede,
bot bad that men suld dyng them down.
So ware full mony slayn
of Ebrews old and yyng,
And Toby was full bayn
at bere them to bereyng.
When the kyng herd that he dyd so,
he had no daynteth of that dede.
He commawnd that men suld hym slo
and all that Ebrews lyf con lede.
Bot Toby was wernd of that wo
and conseld forto flee for dred.
So was he fayn to flytt them fro;
his wyfe and his sun with hym yede.
And allway was he bowne
to helpe all that had nede,
And namly his nacion
both forto cloght and fede.
The kyng persewyd with payns strang
all Ebrews kynd, wher he them kend,
That to his fals goddes wold not gang
to wrschep them with hert and hend.
Therfor God wold not suffer hym lang
in wekyd lyf so forto lend.
He mad hym with his warkes wrang
at pase to wo withoutyn end:
With his suns was he slayn.
Than be commun acorde
Was Thoby gettyn agayn
and of hys guddes restored.
eastern seaside (i.e., Dead Sea)
family (the Naphtali); (t-note)
Whoever will also listen
publicly and privately; (see note)
then in foul foolishness
work against him
Regardless if it were; child
of fear for dread of death
was called Anna; (t-note)
beautiful of appearance
his [old goods] in full
placed in such straits
believed it to be lost; (t-note)
720 pounds weighed; (see note)
Weighed twenty-two pounds
departed; worldly possessions
it happened at that time
Those; wicked counsel
punished in prison
wherever he knew of them
[TOBIT’S CHARITY RESULTS IN HIS BLINDNESS (2:1–10)]
Then was he sted withoutyn stryf;
full fayn were all his frendes fre
With his yyng sun and with his wyfe
and other mo of his awn meneye.
He rewled them by reson ryfe
and governd them in gud degré
Aftur the law to lede ther lyfe
and to Goddes bydyng bowsom to be.
So fell on a dere day
Thoby ordand to make
A fest of gud aray
for his gud frendes sake.
Thei had daynthes of drynke and mette;
he mad them myrth with all his myght.
Hymselfe wold ocupye no sett,
bot to his sun thus sayd he ryght,
“Gud sun, go loke yf thou may geyte
any of our lyne to make us lyght,
And bryng them in with us to ete.”
The chyld to werke his wyll was wyght.
He went and com agayn
and sayd he fand ryght none
Bot on sodanly slayn
and levyd lygand alon.
“And, ser,” he says, “I herd men tell
that he of myse nothyng had made,
Bot for he was of Israel,
with fals Phylysteyns was he fade.”
Then Thoby wold no langar dwell.
He left gud men his geystes to glade.
He and his sun, them two omell,
toke the body withoutyn bade.
In a howse thei yt hyde
and mad ther geystes gud chere.
At evyn dewly thei dyd
to bery yt in best manere.
Allthof Thoby were well ocupyd,
yett other wayte to werke hym wo;
And all his counsell thei ascryd
and in grett teyn thei told hym to,
“This ylk that thou helpes to hyde,
he had his ded for he dyd so;
And thou was fayn before this tyde
therfor to flee thi frendes fro.
And yett thou dose the same;
and bot thou lefe yt soyne,
Thou sall beyr byttur blame
for dedes that thou has doyne.”
Bot for oght thei cowth to hym say,
to bery this ded ay toyght hym best.
And so fell on a somers day,
when he of swylke werke was werest,
In his howse syd a lytter lay,
theron he reid hym forto rest.
And thor hym fell a full grett affray:
abowve hym was a swolws nest.
Als he lyft up his eyelyddes
to loke agayns the lyght,
Hate fylth of swolows brydes
fell down and lost his syght.
This werke was wroyght withoutyn wene,
for God wold so his pacience prove,
Wheder he wold turn for any teyne
or to be lastand in hys love.
Sum of his frendes fast con hym meyne,
and sum to malyce wold hym move.
Thei sayd, “Now is thi servyce sene
that thou the ded so gladly grove
And dyde grett almus dede
tyll all folke that wold frayn.
Lett se now in thi nede
who gyfes thee oght ogayn!”
Thei say, “We hald them wers then wode —
and so thiself sall say certayn —
That gyfes away his werldly gud
and puttes hymself to povert playn.”
Bot Thoby ever full stably stud,
of ther faygyng he was not fayn.
Ther malyce moved nothyng his mode;
he loved ay God with all his mayn.
He sayd, “Ye do on myse
in vayn your speche to spend.
My Lord that sent me this
has myght me forto mend.
“This wo I wott I am worthy
for weked werkes that I have wroyght.
I do me hale in his mercy
that mad me new when I was noght.”
Thei left hym thore and lett hym lye.
He thanked God with wyll and toyght.
His wyfe and his sun were redy
to mend his myrth all that thei moght.
Thus when men have dysesse,
both kynred and counsayll
That in welth wold them plese
wyll then full fayntly fayll.
glad; (see note)
left lying alone
guests to gladden
unless you stop it soon
Hateful filth; birds; (t-note)
dead; buried; (t-note)
ask [for it]
anything in return
worse than crazy
attention; glad; (t-note)
know; (see note)
put myself completely
heart and head
[TOBIT SENDS HIS SON TOBIAS TO GABAEL (4:1–5:3)]
Thus was Thoby in langor lent.
He loved ay God both lowd and styll
Of all the saynd that He to hym sentt,
and groched never in word ne wyll.
Then on that mone has he ment
that Gabell borowd of hym by byll.
Therfor he wold that sum man went
to feche yt and forward to fulfyll.
He cald Thoby hym to,
his sun, and sayd thus suyn,
“I have errandes to do
qwylke I wold were wele doyne.”
The sun answerd full curtasly
and sayd, “Fader, I am all bown
To werke your wyll, als is worthy,
bothe nere and fere, in feld and towne.”
The fader was full fayn forthi
and sayd, “Sun, in my benesowne
All myn entent tell thee sall I,
take gud reward to my reson.
Sun, Salmanazer the kyng,
or tyme that thou was born,
He ordand in all thyng
to have our lynge lorn.
“Thore saw we mony sakles slayn,
for of sere sydes thei ware out soght.
To bery them I was full bayn,
bot to the lordes that lyked noght.
Then forto flee I was full fayn
tyll all that bale tyll end was broyght.
Then gatt I gud enoght agayn;
evyn als God wold, so was yt wroyght.
Full yapely then I yode
abowt to cytes sere
To helpe them that had nede
and of our nacion nere.
“And sone aftur thi bryth yt befell
I fand on in a fare cuntré,
Born of our blod and heyght Gabell.
In preson herd haldyn was he.
Thore made we menyng uus omell
how my monay myght make hym free.
Ten talentes con I to hym tell
to gyf agayn by gud sewrtyé.
He made a lettur lele
of that payment exprese,
And selyd yt with his seall
befor full gud wyttenese.
“That same lettur withoutyn lese
have I here forto send certayn.
I wott full wele he wyll not sese
thorwith to make my payment playn.
For I here tell of his encrese,
how he hath gotyn his gud again.
In a ryche cyté, Rages,
ys his wonnyng withoutyn trayn.
Thidder wold I that thou wende
and thou couth ken that place.
That monay now myght mend
to spend whyls we have space.”
The sun sayd, “Ser, so God me sayve,
I wold full gladly do this dede.
Bot aftur that cuntré forto crave
I wott not whore my spech suld spede.”
“Gud sun,” he sayd, “go seke sum knave
that wyll wend with thee for his mede,
That thou of hym may helpyng have
into that land thee forto lede,
And that con understand
the way tyll ye come thore.”
Thoby went furth and fand
a fare chyld hym before.
remaining in illness
publicly and privately
Gabael; bill (promissory note)
which; done rightly
very glad therefore
before the time
lineage destroyed; (t-note)
from many sides
promptly; journeyed; (t-note)
a man; (t-note)
without a lie
dwelling without doubt
There I want
[RAPHAEL WILL GUIDE TOBIAS TO GABAEL (5:4–6:1)]
Iff he ware fare of flesch and fell,
no ferly, for God had hym sent,
His awn archangell, Raphell,
tyll yong Toby to take entent,
And mornyng that was them omell
forto amend, so has he ment.
He sayd, “I knaw full wele Gabell,
for to Rages oft have I wentt.”
Yong Toby was fayn than,
and to his fader he sayd,
“Fader, I have fun a man
to gang all redy grayd.
“He says he knaws that cuntré clere
and the gud man and that same cyté,
And all the way he wyll me lere.”
Toby sayd, “Sun, God leyn so be!
Bot sen thou says he is so nere,
pray hym come and speke with me,
So that I may the sothe enquere
of this that he hath told to thee.”
Yong Thoby saw unsoght
the angell hym to byd,
And so in he hym broyght
to his fader bed-syd.
So als thei stod that bed before,
the angell thus unto Toby bade,
“Be myrry, man, and mowrne no more,
bot in thi God thou suld be glad.
All yf thou sytt and sofer sore,
sone may He seyse thi sorow sade
And to thi state thee wele restore
to have more hele than ever thou had.”
When the angell thus had sayd,
yf Thoby febyly ferd,
In hert he was wele payd,
bot all thus he answerd:
“What myrth may unto me avayle
that syttes in derknes evyn and morn?
I byde here blynd as best in bale
that bettur ware have bene unborn.
All folke I fele now fayntly fayle
that ware my frendes full fast beforn.
Tho that then com me to consayle,
now come thei more me forto scorn.
Thus am I sett certayn
in dole both nyght and day;
Therfor I wold full fayn
be fro this werld away.”
The angell sayd, “Thoby, take tent,
swylk maters may non mend to move.
God hath this seknes to thee sent
thi pacience so forto prove.
Yf thou Hym love that it has lent
and be lele lastand in His love,
I hette thee than in hast to hent
full gud hele to thi sawle behove.”
Thoby sayd, “Graymercy!
This is full frendly red,
Bot grett hast now have I
of thyng I wold wore sped.
“My sun says that thou wyll wend
and teche hym to the land of Mede.
Thor dwels Gabell, my faythfull frend,
and unto hym I wold ye yede.”
The angell then with wordes hend
sayd, “To that land I sall hym lede.
For in Rages thor can I lend,
and to Gabell than toke I hede.
I sall bryng thi sun ydder
and sayve hym sownd in qwerte,
To he com agayn hydder.
This hete I here with hert.”
Than Thoby says, “Ser, yf thou may
bryng me my sun withoutyn blame,
I hete thee trewly forto pay
thi hyre in hand when thou comys hame.
And also, ser, I wold thee pray
that thou wold tell to me thi name,
That I may, whyls ye dwell away,
thynk on my sun and on that same.
And thi kyn more and lese
wold I have in my mynde.
For wele I wott thou ys
cumyn of full curtase kynd.”
The angell sayd, “Ser, for certayn,
now thynke me selcowth of thi saw,
And thi wordes thynke me wroyght in vayn
by sere resons to red by raw.
I hette to bryng thi sun agayn
werly and wele withoutyn aw.
Thee nedes no ferther forto frayn
my kynred, ne my name to knaw.
Bot neverthelese yett,
ser, to fulfyll thi fantasy,
I reke not who yt wytt:
my name is Azary.
“My fader in his lyfe was leve
to love his lord both lowd and styll.”
Toby says, “Take yt to no greve,
for sertes I asked yt for non yll.”
He toke them a boyst with that brefe
that thei suld beyre Gabell untyll,
And sayd, “God sayve yow fro myschefe!
Wendes now furth when so ye wyll.”
Yong Thoby than kneled down;
his fader and moyder he prays.
To blese hym were thei bown,
and so thei wend ther ways.
A lytyll hund at hame thei had
that went abowt not bun in band.
What yong Toby unto hym bad
he wold take hed unto his hand;
And to wend with hym was he glad
bycause that he hym frendly fand.
In ylka a stede wher thei ware sted
the hound wold stably with hym stand.
Now leve we Raphaell,
that yong Thoby furth lede,
And of old Thoby tell,
that was full stratly sted.
The moyder drowped ever ylka day
when scho wyst wele hyr sun was went;
And to Thoby oft con scho say,
“All our sele has thou fro us sent,
Our sun, that suld us wysch all way
when we in any bales war bent.
Thou told ther was monay to pay,
bot other maters has thou ment.
Yt was never for moynay
that thou so sone suld send
Hym that our beld suld be
“Alas, that ever thou lerned that lore
at send our sun so to Gabell!
That man may say, when he comys thore,
he knaws of thi noyte never a dele.”
Thoby sayd then, “Wyfe, mowrne no more,
for sertanly all sall be wele.
He sall fynd gud frendes hym before,
so that he sall no fawtes fele.
I trow withoutyn trayn
that Goddes angell sall hym lede
And bryng hym save agayn
full fayre als thei furth yode.”
among them; (t-note)
grant [it] so [to] be; (t-note)
Even; suffer sorely
such matters (complaints)
know you are
courteous (noble) family
I think your speech strange
many; counsel in turn
care; knows it
publicly and privately
box; letter; (t-note)
prays [for]; (t-note)
dog; (see note)
not bound in confinement
each place; lodged
in such straits
with any problems are humbled
no part of your troubles
believe without doubt
[ANNA AND THE GOAT (2:19–3:6)]
Thus mekly mesyd he hyr mode
and was full fayn hyr forto styll;
And ever he thanked God of all gude
and of all the saynd He send hym tyll.
The wyf to wefyng craft scho yode
and wroyght that werke with full gud wyll;
And thorwith fand scho thayr fode
hyr husband and his folke to fyll.
So in a tyme betyde,
for monay evyn to marke,
Hyr was gyfyn a yong kyd
in reward for hyr werke.
That broyght scho home unto ther mette
in hope to have gud thanke forthi.
Thoby lay blynd and herd yt blette,
and in his hert had he grett ferly.
“Bese ware,” he sayd, “both small and grett,
of that best how ye com ther by.
Yt is not lefull us to ete
nothyng that falys to felony.
I warn yow yt is full wath
with stolne fode forto dele.”
Than was the wyfe full wrath,
and langer hyr lyst not hele.
Bott out scho brast with byttur brayd
and sone begane barett to brew.
With a sowre sembland scho sayd,
“Aftur thi dedes thi saws persew
That trowes that we have thee betrayd,
whom thou has fun full trest and trew.
And God ware of thi pennans payd,
thou wold nevyn non swylke note of new.
Bot be thi sawys is seyn,
aftur this tale is tald,
That thou before has bene
mystrowand yong and ald.
“Thou releved all men lese and more,
now hath thou mornyng to thi mede.
For all folke that thou fed before
now fyndes thou few thee forto fede.”
When Thoby this herd, his hert was sore,
bot softly spake he for his spede,
“Sertes, woman, and thou wytty wore,
thou wold not deme so of my dede.
For yf I wroyght Goddes wyll,
to welth He wyll me wys,
And all thof I dyd yll,
He may amend all myse.
“And, Lord,” he sayd, “sen Thou me wroyght
to wander in this werld so wyde,
Now in myn eld forsake me noyght,
bot take entent to me this tyd.
Sen sorows sere ar to me soyght
with sere assawtes on evere syd,
Vochsave that I myght sone be broyght
out of this bale that I in byde.
I wott I am worthy
with more dole to dele,
Bot, Lord, in Thi mercy
ys all my hope of hele.”
women’s work she went
thereby she found there food
(i.e., in lieu of money)
young kid (goat)
heard it bleat
is stolen; (t-note)
she desired to keep silent no longer
If; pleased; (t-note)
speak no such words anew
by your words is seen
for your reward
few to feed you
if you were smart
heed to me at this time
Since many sorrows
[SARAH AND THE DEMON (3:7–17)]
Now in the same tyme so befell,
als men may rede by resons ryfe:
Sara, the doyghtur of Raguell,
that aftur was yong Thoby wyfe,
With hyre than dwelled a damsell
that styrd hyr maystryse oft to stryfe
By tenfull tayles that scho wold tell
of hyr that lad ever honest lyfe
For sevyn husbandes all sere
weded that worthy wyyght,
And or thei neghed hyr nere,
thei ware ded the fyrst nyght.
And this was the encheson why
the fend of them had swylke pausté:
Thei wede for lust of lechery,
and in that sted them strangeld he.
Hyr servant was full fell forthi.
“Thou sall,” she sayd, “not fare with me
Als thou has done sevyn husbandes dy,
qwylk I wott wele were wed with thee.”
And clarkes declarys yt thus:
that fend that foles so fels
Ys named Asmodyus.
of swylke maters he mels.
Bot Sara was full sory then
that hyre servand so to hyr sayd.
Into a prevay place scho wan.
Ther prevely to God scho prayd:
“Lord God, of whom all gud began,
Thou bryng me owt of this upbrayd,
Als I never cofuett erthly man
with me in lust forto be layd.
Have mercy, Lord, on me
to sese my grevance grette.”
Thus dyd scho days thre
withoutyn drynke or mette.
So when thre days tyll end war went,
full sore wepand withoutyn weyne
To Myghty God hyr mayne scho ment:
“Lord, sen Thou has ay keped me clene,
Lett never my sawle to syn assent
bot als Thi servand to be seyne
And to Thi Laws trewly to tent,
or to take me sone owt of this teyne.”
Thus ware thei sore assayd,
both Sara and trew Thoby.
Therfor God has purvayd
to mend them with mercy.
afterwards; Tobias’ wife
stirred her mistress
wedded that worthy person; (t-note)
before they had sex with her; (see note)
demon; such power; (t-note)
[to] die; (t-note)
demon that so killed the fools; (t-note)
weeping without doubt
[TOBIAS AT THE RIVER TIGRIS (6:1–9)]
To them He sent His archangell
als a man semand to ther syght.
Bot in ther dole we lett them dwell
to aftur that we rehers them ryght;
And of yong Thoby wyll we tell,
how he went with the angell bryght,
And what ferlys to them befell,
whore thei ware loged in the fyrst nyght.
Thei had harber full gud
and beld, whyls thei wold abyd,
Evyn fast besyd a flode
that heyght Tygres that tyde.
Thor went Thoby to wesch his fete;
his felow folowd full fast in fere.
A mekyll fysch thore gart hym grette,
that rose up owt of that ryver.
That it wold lose that chyld yt lette.
He cald fast, “Azari, com nere!
Bot yf thou helpe my bale to bette,
this fysch is lyke to lose me here.”
The angell sayd, “Be styll!
Wherfor is thou dredand?
Take hym boldly by the gyll
and lay hym up to the land.”
Als the angell bad he dyd ylk dele;
ane other craft than he hym kend:
“Undoo his wome warly and wele
and take hys hert owt in thi hend.
His gall and his maw men may fele
for medsyns may thei mekyll amend.
Salt the fysche than for thi yele
furth in our fare forto be spend.”
All this was done in dede,
and thore thei rest that nyght;
And on the morn thei yede
the way to Rages ryght.
looking like a man
There (into the river); wash his feet
together [with him]
A mighty fish; did him greet
instructed; each part
another; showed him
gut carefully; (t-note)
gall; stomach; eat; (see note); (t-note)
[RAPHAEL INSTRUCTS TOBIAS AS THEY JOURNEY (6:10–22)]
And als thei cayred so in cuntré,
Thoby sayd, “Tell me, I thee pray,
The vertu of ther thynges thre
thou bad me yeme yisterday.”
The Angell says, “Thiself sall see
in what maner thei medsyn may
Both to thi fader and to thee
and to Sara, als I sall say,
And to hyr fader Raguell,
that wuns here fast beforn;
For with hym wyll we dwell
this nyght or els tomorn.
“Thor be we sted withoutyn stryfe
and ryght welcom, I wot full wele.
For he has rent and ryches ryfe
and hape and hele fro hed to heyle.
His doyghtur sall thou take to wyfe
and be his heyre of ylka dele.
And same sall ye lede your lyfe
with mekyll myrth at ylka mele.
I undertake to thee
this forward sall not fayle,
And, ser, than sall thou se
qwat medsyns may avayle.”
Thoby than hard and thynkes in hye
this bargan all tyll end is broyght.
He says, “My brother Azari,
this is nedlese, nevyn yt noyght.
For of that woman hard have I
what wo be hyr wedyng was wroyght.
I pray thee, gud felow, forthi:
putt all swylk thyng outt of thi toyght.
Yt is not myn entent
forto be weded so sone.
Thynke that we ware for sent,
that wold I fyrst ware done.
“This woman that I here thee nevyn
at fang to fere wold I be fayn.
Bot scho was wed with husbandes sevyn,
and sodanly all were thei slayn.
And thou hath heyght with stabyll stevyn
at bryng me to my fader agayn.
Me thynke thou ordance all unevyn
that wold I were put to slyke payn.
I knaw not that man
that hyr fader suld be.”
The angell answerd than
and full sothly sayd he:
“Thoby,” he sayd, “to me take hed:
thi fader sall no fawtes fele,
For safe agayn I sall thee lede
and do his desyre ylka dele.
My spekyng is all for thi spede
and sal be for thi soveran sele.
For all that weddes with luf and dred
withoutyn fayle thei sall fare wele:
With lufe both lowd and styll
to lyf in Goddes Lay,
And with dred to do yll
both by nyght and day.
“Of hyr sevyn husbandes wele wott I
how thei were for done with a fende.
And his ryght name is Asmody;
he has power swylke scherwes to shende
That weddes for lust of lechery
and takes weddyng unto non other ende.
For that werke ware thei wele worthy
furth with that warlow forto wende.
Of thos sevyn was none seyn
in bed with hyr to be.
So God has keped hyr cleyne
to be weded with thee.
“Therfor take kepe to my counsayle,
and styth than sall thou graydly go.
When thou is broyght within hyr bale
and non togeydder bot ye two,
To have a fyre lok thou not fayle,
and loke that thou flytt not ferr therfro.
Thor sall my medsyn mekyll avayle,
and therfor take gud tent therto.
Take the hert and the maw,
of ather a remnand ryght,
And in the fyre them thraw
when yt is byrnand bryght.
“And the vertu sall I thee tell,
how yt sall be beld to yow bathe:
The smoke therof and als the smell
with reke that sall ryse up full rath,
May dryfe owt all the dewls of Hell,
that thei do nother scorne ne scath.
Dewle Asmody then may not dwell;
so sall ye wun withoutyn wath.
And what ye sall do more,
now sall I tell thee tyll.
And loke, when thou comys thore,
that ye both yt fulfyll.
“When this is done thus als I say,
owt of all bale ye both ere broyght.
Then sall ye go your God to pray
with hertly wyll and stabyll toyght
That He ordand your werke all way
aftur His wyll forto be wroyght.
Comforth that maydyn now wele thou may,
bot loke yett at thou neght hyr noyght.
Thre nyghtes ye sall lyf chast
and be in prayers prest
Evyll wyghtes away to wast,
and God sall be your gest.
“Sythyn may ye do all lefull dede,
as course of matrimon hath kend.
Whyls ye your God wyll lufe and drede,
fro all defawtes He wyll yow fend.
Then sall He multyplye your sede
and in this erth slyke socour send
To have enogh and never nede
and sythyn the welth withoutyn end.”
When Thoby herd this tale,
hym lyked yt wounder wele
And sayd, “Forsoth I sall
do this ever ylka dele.”
these three things
dwells; close before [us]
know [it] very well
happiness and health from head to toe
heir of every part
hear you name
that catch to espouse; glad
have promised; speech
good fortune; (t-note)
for love and fear
public and private
I know well
such rogues to destroy; (t-note)
warlock (demon); (t-note)
heed; (see note)
undeterred; quickly; (t-note)
start a fire
leave not far from it
take good heed
take care not to have sex with her yet
lawful deeds; (t-note)
[TOBIAS, WELCOMED BY RAGUEL, DEMANDS SARAH AS HIS WIFE (7:1–20)]
To Raguell howse thei com in hye
whore the angell sayd thei suld be.
He cald them in full curtasly
and welcomed them with wordes free.
And als sone as he saw Thoby,
unto his wyfe sothly sayd he,
“This chyld be face forto dyscrye
is lyke to Thoby of Nynevé,
My cosyn. And he lyf yytt,
than wold I be full fayn,
And, sertes, the sothe to wytt
his felow sall I frayn.”
He toke the angell on the morne
and sayd, “Sun, tell me, and thou may,
Of what kynred this chyld was born,
and als wher he hath wund allway.”
The angell sayd, “His frendes beforn,
in Nynevé wunand wer thei.
Thor were thei lyke forto be forlorn,
for thei wold maynteyn Moyses Lay,
His fader befor hym
and other of his kynred.
Of the lyne of Neptalym
ware thei both born and bred.”
Raguell says, “Sen ye thore wun,
knaw ye oght on Thoby be his name?”
The angell says, “That bus uus kun,
for we dwell in his howse at hame.
The chyld ye se here ys his sun,
and I am servand to that same.”
Then Raguell thynkes here ferleys fun
and cald his wyf, “Com hydder, dame!
Our cosyn have we here,
the sun of Thoby trew.”
Then made thei all gud chere
when thei ther cosyn knew.
Sara was ever of sembland sad
for grevance that scho had full grette.
Bot of this gam scho was full glad,
and ylkon hertly con other rehete.
Then Raguell to his servand bad
to sett up bordes and go to mette.
Bot Thoby sayd other hast he had
“That bus be done or ever I ete.”
Raguell says, “Tell me!
Yt sall be done be lyve.”
He says, “Then aske I thee
thi doyghtur to be my wyfe.”
Raguell unto hym answerd noyght
bot stod styll stodeand in that sted.
He wold full fayn his doyghtur myght
be maryed in hyr awn kynred.
Bot on that other syde he toght
he wold not yong Thoby were dede.
For and thei were togeydder broyght,
he trowed to here no bettur bede.
And when the angell saw
how that he stud so styll,
He sayd, “Ser, have non aw,
for yt is Goddes wyll
“That this man sall thi doyghtur wedd
and weld hyr wynly to his wyfe.
Full blessed frut bees of them bred,
als men sall red be reson ryfe.
Tho sevyn that fyrst with hyr ware sted,
no wounder yf thei went with stryfe,
For dome of God nothyng thei dred
bot ever in lust to lede ther lyfe.
That was wele on them seyn.
God wold that yt ware so,
And He hath keped hyr cleyn
in maydynhede this man unto.”
Then were thei full fayn all in fere
that God wold gare ther grace so grove.
Bot Sara mad most mery chere
to be relessyd of hyr reprove.
Raguell bad them both com nere.
He layd hyr hand in Thoby love
And sayd, “Fully I feyst yow here
to wun same for your sawles behove.
Grett God, that sum tyme spake
tyll our elders beforn,
To Abraham and to Ysaac,
He yeme yow evyn and morn
“And bynd yow same in His blessyng
lely to lyf aftur His Law
And thrugh this blessed band yow bryng
His Commawndment clerly to knaw.”
Then were thei blyth, both old and yyng,
and sayd Amen all to that saw.
When thei had endyd all this thyng,
to mette than satt thei ryght by raw.
With all kyns daynthes dere
full fayre thore were thei fede,
And sone aftur sopere
ylkon busked to bede.
Raguel’s house; haste
by the face to be described
If he still lives
if you can
[one] must be our kin
each one heartily did the other cheer
wedded; kindred; (t-note)
hear no better news
will be from them bred; (t-note)
Those seven [men]
maidenhood (virginity); until
meal; as was proper
prepared themselves for bed
[TOBIAS AND SARAH, WITH RAPHAEL, DEFEAT ASMODEUS (8:1–24)]
A chambre was wynly wroyght
for Thoby and for his wyf in fere.
And when thei were togeydder broyght,
he mad hyr myrth on his manere,
And sone he told to hyr his toyght,
how that his gud frend con hym lere
The fyrst thre nyghtes to do ryght noyght
bot be in pennance and prayer.
In hert grett joy scho hade
when scho herd hym say so.
For Goddes sake was scho glad
to do that and swylke two.
He toke the hert then in his hend
and furth also of the fysch maw.
In myddes the fyre he lett them lend,
and to Sara he sayd this saw:
“This medsyn is made us to mend
all dewls werke away to draw.
Fro all ther fare yt wyll us fend
ay whyls we luf God and His Law.”
That nyght thei ware full prest
to do pennance and pray.
In schort tyme toke thei rest
noyght fere befor the day.
Bot als the fend so fled for schame,
the angel werly with hym mette
And asked hym what was hys name
and for what servyce he was sett.
“Asmodeus we hatte at hame,
a multitude when we are mett.
Our offyce is of wyld and tame
that wedes for lust ther lyfes to lett,
And shamly them to shende
that ar noyght ferd therfor.”
Then the angell gart hym wende
never forto noye man more.
Bot Raguell, that gentyll Jew,
and his gud wyfe sore hertes thei have
For yyng Thoby, ther cosyn trew,
for thei wyst not what suld hym save.
And als sone as the kok crew,
he gart his men go make a grave
To hyd hym als thei costom knew;
non other counsayle cowd he crave.
Evyn as he demed was done;
the costome wele thei knaw.
And aftur then full sone
the day begane to daw.
The mother sent then prevely
unto the chambre a fayr servand
Ther countenance thor forto spy
and tell to hyr what fare scho fand.
Scho went and com agayn in hy
and sayd scho saw them sownd slepand.
The wyf then was full glad forthi
and told that tale to hyr husband.
Then Raguell was full fayn
and bad, whyls yt was derke,
“Go fyll the grave agayn
that none wytt of our werke.”
Then loved all God with hert and hend
that fro the fend had mad them free.
Then Thoby lykyd thor forto lend
and lyf in prayers tho nyghtes three.
He prayd his felow forto wende
unto Rages, that ryche cyté,
And to Gabell, that he wele kend,
to foche home his fader monye.
The lettur he toke hym tyll
how all ther maters ment.
The angell with gud wyll
that way full wyghtly went.
did him instruct
the [fish’s] heart
their fare; defend
For [a] short time
are called; (t-note)
made him leave
well knew; (t-note)
fetch; father’s money
[RAPHAEL BRINGS GABAEL TO TOBIAS (9:1–12)]
To Gabels howse full herd he hyde,
and to hym sone he bed his boke.
Then Gabell wold no langer byde,
bot ten talentes to hym he toke.
The angell told to hym that tyde
how yong Thoby was wed that woke.
Then radly he rayd hym to ryde
and sayd he suld onys on them loke.
And so ryght furth he rode
evyn with the angell ydder.
Full mekyll myrth thei made
when thei were all togeydder.
And Raguell made grett fest forthi
with mette and drynke when thei ware mette,
With all maner of mynstralsy
and other game that thei myght gete.
Then to the angell sayd Thoby,
“Sen we have done dewly our dette,
My fader wyll have full grett ferly
and we oversytt the tyme that was sett.
I wold we hasted us hame
for ferd hym forto greve.”
The angell sayd the same:
“Sone sall we take our leve.”
offered his letter
quickly he arrayed himself
feast therefore; (t-note)
duly our duty
if we overstay
for fear; upset
[TOBIAS TAKES HIS LEAVE WITH SARAH, RAPHAEL, AND NEW RICHES (10:1–13)]
Sone on the morn thei made them bown,
no lenger forto lend thei lete.
Then Sara softely kneled down
befor hyr fader and moyder fete
And mekly asked ther benysown.
Then other frendes full fast con grete,
Bot Raguell, or thei trusse of town,
ordandes bettur ther bale to bete.
Thresour withoutyn tale
he toke them or thei yode,
And muls with mony a male
with them furth forto lede.
He gaf them catell, schepe, and nete
and all maner of foran fee,
And servantes graydly them to gete
and bryng them safe whor thei suld be.
With all ryches thei them rehete,
and unto Thoby all thus says he,
“Sun, all my gudes, both small and grette,
when I am gone I gyf them thee,
And my blessyng allwas
in werld myght with yow wend.”
“Graymercy, ser,” he says,
“and fayrs wele, ylka frend.”
Now here we how this angell,
that Azary to his name chese,
Of whom the ryght name is Raphaell,
send fro his Lord withoutyn lese
Forto bryng yyng Thoby unto Gabell
in the ryche cyté that heyght Rages
And forto releve gud Raguell
and sett Sara in parfytt pese,
Now sall we here in hy
how he, or ever he sese,
Ordand for old Thoby
his comforth to encrese.
Als thei went furth in ther jornay
with wyf and servandes and ther store,
The angell con to yyng Thoby say,
“I rede we two wende home before,
For yt is sum dele past the day
qwylke we heyght forto have bene thore.
Lett our meneye com als thei may,
for that may ese them mekyll more.”
Then Thoby was wele payd,
and for he wold sho wyst,
Unto Sara he sayd,
“Cums aftur als yow lyst.”
before they left the town
sorrows to beat down
before they went
exotic livestock; (t-note)
Azariah for; chose
was called; (t-note)
perfect peace; (t-note)
before he ceased [his work]
advise; go; before [the others]
[RAPHAEL ADVISES TOBIAS; THEY RETURN HOME (11:1–21)]
The angell says, “Thoby, thou sall
tent to my sawys now for thi sele.
Now is tyme to take the fysch gall,
thi fader of yt sall favour fele.
Enoynt his eyne wele ther with all,
so by Goddes saynd he sall se wele.”
He was full fayn so suld be fall,
and sayd yt suld be done ylk dele.
His lytyll hund toke hede
his herber was nere hand.
Before full fast he yede
and wold no lenger stand.
Old Thoby lay and lyked yll
because that tyme was so overpast.
The wyf was wrast outt of hyr wyll
and sayd hyr welth away was kast.
Ylk day sho went to a hegh hylle
to loke als lang os scho moght last.
Ther come the hund evyn hyr untyll
and fayned hyr with his tayle full fast.
Then gradly sho aspyde
and saw wele how thei come.
To hyr husband sho hyed
and sayd, “Our sun cums home.”
Than was that husband hert full glad
and for gladnes begane to wepe.
“Do lede me furth belyve,” he bad,
“my blessed sun I wyll go kepe.”
Thei mett als thei ware massed and made,
so ylkon wold on other crepe.
So sone was all ther sorows sad
turned unto wele and to wrschepe.
The sun his medsyn layd
unto his fader eyne in hy.
Than had he syght and sayd,
“I love God Allmighty,
“That ay sall be, and ever was,
fulfylled of gudnese and of grace.
I have not lufed Thi Law, alas,
ne trewly tent to take Thi trace.
And Thou mekly for my trespase
hath ponyscht me here in this place,
And now thus hendly heled me has
forto loke in my lyfes space
On my sun that was sent,
and here his course declared,
And the man that with hym wentt
forto be wele reward.”
Full mekyll myrth thei mad omell.
then the sun to his fader sayd
Of all ther fare how yt befell:
fyrst with the fysch how he was flayd;
And sythyn of the gud man Gabell
how he ther monay full prestly payd;
Then how thei rested with Raguell
and how ther wedyng was arayd.
“Thus all that myght avayle
was done withoutyn dystance
By my felows consayle
and his gud governance,
“Wherfor he is wele worthy his wage.”
The fader sayd, “Els God forbede!”
Sone aftur then come ther careayge
with the yyng wyf worthy in wede,
With charged mulys and mony a page
ther catell forto fend and fede.
Thei ware mendyd by this message
in grett lykyng ther lyf to lede.
So when thei neghed nere
with all this ryches ryght,
The fader and all in fere
had ferly of that syght.
Bot sone als he couth Sara see,
he welcomd hyr and with hym lede.
Grett gladnes in his hert had hee
that his yyng sun so wele had spede.
Scho had servandes in sere degré
that wund with hyr or sho was wede,
And with hyr come to that cuntré
to beld hyr both at burd and bede.
Old Thoby wyfe, Dame An,
that are lyfyd full heve lyf,
With all comforth sho can
welcomyd sho hyr sun wyfe.
And derly dyght sho them to dyne,
ther travell toke sho tent untyll.
Sho broyght them furth both bred and wyne
and other fode all folke to fyll.
Old Thoby asked of his sun syne
who aght tho guddes by ryght and skyll.
He sayd, “Ser, thei ar Goddes and myne
and sall be yours evyn at your wyll.”
Then on his knese he kneled
and loved God of all thyng,
That so wold be his beld
and owt of bale hym bryng.
And for he wold Sara were seyne
and knawn with all his kynred clere,
He gart make a fest fayr and cleyne
and bad therto his frendes in fere.
The angell ordand all be dene,
both mete and drynke with meré chere.
Thor wanted noyght, wele may we weyne,
qwer swylke stewerd was to stere.
And when this fest was done
dewly in all degré,
Ylkon were ordand sone
whore them likyd best to be.
listen to my words now for your own sake
Anoint his eyes; (t-note)
God’s grace; see well
dog; (see note)
home was near at hand
Before [them]; went
wrested out of her wits; (t-note)
promptly she looked
amazed and astonished
eyes in haste
God forbid [it be] otherwise
young; worthily clothed
came near; (t-note)
of many kinds
dwelled; before she was married
travails; attention unto; (t-note)
believe; (see note); (t-note)
when such a steward; direct [matters]; (t-note)
[RAPHAEL REVEALS HIMSELF (11:1–22)]
Then sayd old Thoby, “My sun, take hede
and tell me now betwyx us two
What we may gyf this man to mede
that went with thee thus to and fro.”
Yyng Thoby sayd, “For his gud dede
he hath servyd ther gudes and mo.
Bot the on halfe we wyll hym bede
and vowche them safe yf he wyll so,
My wyfe and hyr meneye
to have the tother half clere.
That is enogh for me
to fynd them fayre in fere.”
Thei cald the angell prevely,
and old Thoby thus to hym sayd,
“We thanke thee hertly, Azary,
for all our hele has thou purvayd.
We wott that thou were worthy
to have all guddes that here ar grayd,
Bot we pray thee, my sun and I,
to take thee half and hald thee payd.
And all that fallys us tyll
of mobyls more and lese
Sall ever be at thi wyll,
als full wele worthy ese.”
The angell then with wordes playn
sayd, “All the soth I sall yow tell,
Me lykes no langer forto layn:
wytt ye wele I am an archangell.
Fro God thus was I send certayn
to mend all myschefes yow omell.
Now is tyme I turn agayn
in blyse of Hevyn with Hym to dwell.
I sayd yow here at hame
my name was Azary.
Raphaell is my ryght name,
this sall ye trow trewly.
“In all aray I have bene ryght
als erthly man of flesch and bonne
To ete and drynke both day and nyght,
bot of your mete I ete ryght none.
For my mete is the verray syght
of the Godhed that sall never be goyne,
And my cloghyng is hevenly lyght,
and my werke is lovyng allon.
All that lelly lyfe has led
and endes in Goddes servyce,
Thei sall be cled and fed
and werke in that same wyse.
“And for thi werkes were to His pay,
in all wathes was He thi warrand
And sent His saynd thee to assay
yf thou wold fayle or stably stand.
And for thou groched noyght nyght nor day
when thou sych fell defautes fand,
Now has He wast thi wo away
and sent thee welth to weld in land.
Do os thou dyd beforne:
gyf almus with gud chere
And that yt be up born
with pennance and prayere.
“Also, yyng Thoby, to me take tent,
sen thou has wyf and welth at wyll.
Luf thou thi Lord that yt has lent,
and love His Law both lowd and styll.
And loke that thou never to syn assent
bot ever have drede forto do yll,
And kyndly kepe His Commawndment,
els may thou sped thiself to spyll.”
Thus lernd he als hym lyst
how thei suld trewly trow,
And then he was ravyschett
away, thei wyst not how.
the one; (t-note)
food I ate
publicly and privately
[TOBIT LIVES WELL AND DIES HAPPY, AS DOES TOBIAS (13:1–14:17)]
Thoby was sevynty yeres of eld
when he began blynd to be.
That same defawt then furth he felyd
all fully fyfty yere and thre.
Then was he broyght to bettur beld
in two and faurty forto wele see.
So in this werld he myght hym weld
fyfe score and two in sere degré.
Then saw he that he suld dy
and the tyme to fulfyll.
He cald his sun Thoby,
and thus he told hym tyll.
He sayd, “Sun, I sall sone make end,
to bere me loke thou not byd.
Thi moyder, sun, sall eftur wende,
and bere hyr then me fast besyde.
Pray thou then God with hert and hend
that He fro harme thee hape and hyde.
And kepe His Law als I have kend,
then sall no torfure thee betyde.
Full grett defawttes sall fall
to folke of Nenevyé,
And therfor, sun, thou sall
do als I consayle thee.
“This cyté sone sall synke certayn
for syn bot thei ther myse amend.
Therfor, when we ere past with payn,
no lenger here loke that thou lend,
Bot wende unto Raguell agayn
with all the gudes that God has yow send.
All Israel folke wyll be ful fayn
that our kynred with them be kend.”
Old Thoby and his wyfe
thus ferd als folke may fynd.
His tym and his trew lyfe
mun ever be made in mynd.
Yyng Thoby wold no langer dwell
for tayls his fader told hym to.
He dyd to carry all his catell,
his wyf, and ther servandes also,
And all that to his fader fell
were then his awn, so were thei mo;
And raked ryght to Raguell,
his wyfe fader, that thei went fro.
Thor ware thei welcomd fare,
both man, wyfe, and page.
Then was Thoby sun and ayre
of all ther herytage.
For Raguell be reson ryfe
sone aftur out of this werld was tone.
Then Thoby and his worthy wyfe
had chylder fayr and welth gud woyne,
And when he had lyfed in his lyfe
one hunderth wyntur all bot one,
He went away withoutyn stryfe.
We trow he had full graythly goyne.
His wyf sone aftur sesyd,
als God wold behoved to be.
His chylder furth encressed
and governd grett degree.
Full blessed barns furth of them bred,
als sythyn was sene on ylka syde.
And so ther lynag sprang and spred,
als ys wyttenest in werldes wyde.
This story is rehersed and red
us forto tech in ylka tyde,
Yf we in stourys be stratly sted,
all bowsomly all bale to byde
And love God of His grace,
what saynd so He wyll send.
God graunt us spech and space
our myse here to amend!
Tobit; years of age; (see note); (t-note)
to see well
102 [years]; (t-note)
protect and conceal; (t-note)
ninety-nine winters (years); (see note)
believe; a very quick passing
to teach in each place
hardships; placed in straits
obediently; grief to endure