(0) The word of Daniel the Prisoner, which he wrote to his prince Iaroslav Volodimerovich.
(1) Let us trumpet, as on gold-forged trumpets, in our mind’s reason, and we will strike on silver organs [in the unwinding of] our wisdom, letting forth God-inspired pipes, so that we applaud you, O soul-profiting thoughts. Arise my glory, arise in psaltery and lutes: I will arise early. I will confess to you, so that I open my riddles in parables and announce among the tongues my glory. For the heart of a thoughtful man becomes strong in his body through beauty and wisdom.
(2) My tongue became like the reed of a quick-writing scribe, and (my) comforting mouth like fast speech. Because of this I tried to write down every link of my heart, and struck them apart evilly, like the bygone infants against the rock.
(3) But I fear, O lord, your censure upon me.
(4) For I am like that accursed fig tree; I do not have fruit for repentance. For I have a heart like a face without eyes, and my mind became like a night raven on a ruin; I watched and my life crumbled like the Canaanite king in haughtiness, and destitution covered me, like the Black Sea the Pharaoh.
(5) Lo, I wrote, fleeing from the face of my craft, like Hagar the slave-girl from Sarah her mistress.
(6) But I saw, O lord, your good-heartedness toward me and I ran to your customary love. For Scripture speaks: give to him who asks of you, open to him who knocks, lest you be deprived of the Kingdom of Heaven. For it is written: cast your sorrow on the Lord, and He will sustain you in the ages.
(7) For I am, O prince, O lord, like pale grass, growing by a wall, upon which neither the sun shines nor the rain falls; thus I too am offended by all, because I am fenced-in by fright of your threat, as by a firm bulwark.
(8) But do not look upon me, O lord, like a wolf at a lamb, but look upon me like a mother at an infant. Look upon the birds of Heaven, as they neither plow nor sow, but hope on God’s mercy. Thus I, O lord, wish for your mercy, like a hart for streams of water.
(9) Because, O lord, to one is Bogoliubivo, but to me it is ferocious bitterness; to one is White Lake, but to me it blacker than pitch; to one is Lake Lache, but to me, sitting there, it is bitter weeping; and to one is Novgorod, but to me even the corner(stones) have fallen, because my lot did not flower.
(10) For my friends and my neighbors, even these cast me off, because I did not place before them a table of multifarious dishes. For many befriend me, bending a hand to the bowl with me, but in adversity I find them like enemies and again they help injure my feet; with their eyes they weep with me, but in their heart they laugh at me. Therefore do not have faith in a friend, nor trust in a brother.
(11) For Prince Rostislav did not lie to me: death would be more fitting for me than the Kursk princedom; thus too it is for a man: death is more fitting than life drawn-out in destitution. For as Solomon said: give me neither wealth nor poverty, O Lord: if I will be wealthy I will assume pride, if I will be poor I will think of theft and robbery, and immorality with women.
(12) Therefore I will cry out to you, grasped by destitution: have mercy on me, O son of the great King Vladimer, lest I weep, wailing like Adam for Paradise; let a cloud upon the earth of my craft.
(13) Because, O lord, a wealthy man is known everywhere, and has friends in a foreign land, but a poor man walks hated in his own. A wealthy man speaks forth and all are silent and carry up his word to the clouds; but a poor man speaks forth and all shout against him. Whose garments are bright, their speech is honored.
(14) O my prince, O lord! Deliver me from this destitution, like a goat from a snare, like a bird from a trap, like a duck from the claws of a hawk carrying it (off), like a sheep from a lion’s mouth.
(15) For I am, O prince, like a tree by the path: for many chop it and throw it into the fire; thus too I am offended by all, because I am fenced-in by fright of your threat.
(16) For as tin is destroyed when poured too often, thus too is a man who receives much misfortune. No one can gobble salt, nor think in sorrow; for every man is clever and wise about another’s misfortune, but cannot think about his own. Gold is tried by fire, and man by adversity; wheat ground much shows forth clean bread, and in sorrow man finds his mind perfected. Moths, O prince, eat garments, and sorrow a man; for a sorrowful man’s bones will dry up.
(17) If someone looks after a man in sorrow, it is as if he gives him cold water to drink on a sweltering day.
(18) For a bird is happy in spring, and an infant with its mother, and we are glad under your grasp; spring beautifies the earth with flowers, and you enliven all men with your mercy; the sun heats the entire world, and you – orphans and widows, burdened by great men.
(19) O my prince, O lord! Show me the sight of your face, as your voice is sweet and your form is beautiful; the comb streams from your mouth and your epistle is like Paradise with fruit.
(20) But when you are glad with many dishes, remember me, eating dry bread; or (when) you drink sweet drink, remember me, drinking warm water and dust that fell from a place downwind; when you lie on soft bedding under a sable blanket, remember me, lying under one linen and dying in winter and in dripping rains, piercing (my) heart like arrows.
(21) Let not, O my prince, O lord, your hand be closed from giving to the poor: neither can one scoop out the sea with a cup, nor can we drain your house by our taking. For just as the sea is filled (by) receiving many rivers, just so is your house, because your hands are like a forceful cloud, taking up water from the sea – streaming out into the hands of the have-nots. For just as a net does not grasp water, only fish alone, just so you, O prince, do not grasp gold or silver, but give it out to the people.
(22) For a brocade, motley with many silks, shows the face beautifully; just so you, O prince, are honored and glorified by many people in all lands. For as king Hezekiah boasted to the ambassadors of the Babylonian King and indicated to them a multitude of gold and silver; and they said: our king is wealthier than you not by a multitude of gold but by a multitude of soldiers; for men acquire gold, but by gold men cannot be acquired. As said Prince Sviatoslav, Olga's son, going against Constantinople with a little retinue, and he said: O brethren, will we be destroyed by the city, or will the city be captured by us? As God orders, so it will be: one will pursue a hundred and ten thousand will be moved by a hundred. He who trusts in the Lord is like the mountain Sion, he will not be moved in the ages.
(23) For it is seemly to pasture horses beyond a hill, as it is to soldier for a good prince. Many times, through disorder armies are destroyed. I saw: a great beast, but it had no head; just so are many armies are without a good prince.
(24) For lutes are plied by fingers, but a body is founded on tendons; an oak is strengthened by a multitude of roots, and so is our city by your grasp.
(25) For a generous prince is a father, as many servants are deprived of a father and mother and flee to him. For serving a good lord one deserves freedom, but serving an evil lord one deserves greater slavery. For a generous prince is like a river flowing without shores through an oak-forest, giving drink not only to men, but even to cattle; but a miserly prince is like a river with shores, and shores of stone: one cannot drink, nor give drink to (one’s) horses. And a generous boyar is like a sweet well: by the path he gives drink to those passing by; but a miserly boyar is like a salty well.
(26) Do not have for yourself a court near the king’s court and do not grasp a village near the prince’s village; for his domestic is like a fire laid on with aspens and his orderlies are like sparks. For if you can guard yourself from fire still you cannot guard yourself from sparks and the burning of (your) raiment.
(27) O my lord! Do not deprive the destitute wise man of bread, nor raise to the clouds the wealthy thoughtless man. For the destitute wise man is like gold in a dirty vessel; but a wealthy man, beautiful and thoughtless, he is like a brocaded pillow stuffed with straw.
(28) O my lord! Do not look at my exterior, but look at my interior. For I am penurious in clothing but abundant in reason; I have a young frame but there is old thought in me; I was soaring through thought, like an eagle through the air.
(29) But stand your heart’s vessel under the dripping stream of my tongue, so that the words of my mouth will drip to you sweeter than honey. Just as David said: sweet are your words, better than honey to my mouth; for Solomon said: good words give sweet drink to the soul, but sadness covers the heart of a mindless man.
(30) For send a wise man, and indicate (just a) little to him, but send a mindless man, and you must not be lazy to go after him yourself. For the eyes of wise men long for blessed things, while those of a mindless man (long for) a feast at home. Better to hear the prohibition of the wise, rather than the admonitions of the mindless. For give blame to a wise man, and he will become wiser.
(31) For do not sow grain in furrows, nor wisdom in the heart of the mindless. For men neither sow, nor plow, nor gather the mindless in granaries, but they bear themselves. Like pouring into a leaky pitcher, so it is to teach a mindless man; neither dogs nor swine need gold or silver, nor does a mindless man (need) dear words. One cannot laugh at a dead man, nor admonish a mindless man. When a bluebird devours an eagle, when stones swim along the water, and when a swine will bark at a squirrel, then will a mindless man’s mind be taught.
(32) Or you will say to me, O prince: you have spoken to me out of mindlessness. Yet I have not seen heavens of felt, nor stars of bast, nor a mindless man speaking wisdom. Or you will say to me: you have lied like a dog. For princes and boyars love a good dog. Or you will say to me: you have lied like a thief. If I had been mindful to steal I would not have been grievous to you at all. For a maiden destroys her beauty through immorality, and a man his manliness through theft.
(33) O my lord! It is not the sea that drowns ships, but the winds; it is not fire that creates the burning of the iron, but the blowing of the leather-bag; and so a prince: he does not fall into a thing himself, but councilors lead him in. For if a prince is counseled with good counsel, he will obtain a high table; but if he is counseled with depraved counsel he will be deprived of (even) the smallest.
(34) As is spoken in worldly parables: a nanny-goat is not cattle among cattle; a hedgehog is not a beast among beasts; a crayfish is not a fish among fish; a bat is not a bird among birds; not a man among men is he whom his wife rules; not a woman among women is she who is immoral (away) from (her) man; not a slave among slaves (is he who) bears a burden under (the command of) women.
(35) Wonder of wonders is he who takes an evilly-formed woman for the sake of avarice.
(36) I saw an evilly-formed woman, stooped over a mirror and smearing rouge, and I said to her: do not look in the mirror, for having seen your unbefitting face you will receive greater sorrow.
(37) Or you will say to me: take a woman from a wealthy father-in-law, for the sake of great honor – there eat and drink. It would be more fitting for me for me to lead a grey ox into my house, than to take an evil woman: for an ox does not talk, nor think of evil; while an evil woman is devilish when struck, but when (treated) meekly becomes high-and-mighty; in wealth she assumes pride, but in poverty she judges others.
(38) What is an evil woman? A hopeless shelter, the devil’s confederate. What is an evil woman? A worldwide revolt, blindness to the mind, the beginning of every evil; in a church the devil’s customs-house, the inciter of sin, an obstacle to salvation.
(39) If some man beholds the beauty of his woman and her kind words and flattery, but does not check her deeds, then may God give him sickness with shaking, let him be damned.
(40) But concerning this, O brethren, behold an evil women – and she said to her man: O my lord, the light of my eyes! I cannot look at you: when you speak to me, then I will look and die, and every limb of my body will shake, and I will sink to the ground.
(41) Hear, O women, the words spoken by the apostle Paul: [Christ] is the head of the church, and a man of his woman. Women, stand at the church, and pray to God and the Mother of God; and that which you wish to learn, learn at home from your man. And you, men, lead your woman by the law, for one does not soon find good women.
(42) A good woman is a crown for her man and not a sorrow, but an evil woman is ferocious sorrow, the exhaustion of a home. A worm spoils a tree, and an evil woman devastates the home of her man. It is better to ride in a leaky boat, than to announce secrets to an evil woman: a leaky boat dampens raiment, but an evil woman destroys her man all his life. It is more fitting to chisel stone, than to teach an evil woman; you will melt iron but you will not teach evil women.
(43) For an evil woman neither hears teaching, nor respects a churchman, nor fears God, nor is modest with people, but reproaches all and judges all.
(44) What is more evil than a lion on four legs and more ferocious than a serpent crawling along the ground? An evil woman is more evil than all of that. There is nothing on earth greater than a woman’s evil. Our great-grandfather Adam was first pursued out of Paradise by a woman; for the sake of a woman beautiful Joseph was locked in darkness; for the sake of a woman Daniel the prophet was cast into the den, and lions licked his legs. O evil, sharp instrument of Satan, and flying arrow with hellebore!
(45) Someone’s woman died; and he after 40 days began to sell his children. And people said to him: why do you sell your children? And he said: if they will have been born to their mother, they too, when grown, will sell me.
(46) Let us again return to the preceding words. For I, O prince, have not gone beyond the sea, nor was I taught by philosophers, but I was like a bee, falling upon different flowers, uniting a honey comb; thus too I, choosing from many books the sweetness of words and reason, have collected (them) like the sea’s waters into a leather-bottle.
(47) And already I will not speak much (more). Do not throw (words) back at a mindless man according to his mindlessness, lest you resemble him. For I will already cease speaking much with him, lest I be like a leaky leather-pitcher, dropping wealth into the hands of the have-nots; lest I resemble a millstone, as those sate many people, but cannot sate themselves with grain; lest I become hateful to the world through much discourse, just like a bird, repeating its songs, quickly becomes hateful. For as it is spoken in worldly parables: a drawn-out speech is not good, but a drawn-out brocade is a good (thing).
(48) O Lord! Give to our prince Samson’s force, the bravery of Alexander, Joseph’s reason, the wisdom of Solomon, the meekness of David, and multiply, O Lord, all men under his hand. Glory to our God, now and forever and in the ages.
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(0) The supplication of Daniel the Prisoner to his prince Iaroslav Vsevolodovich.
(1) Let us trumpet, O brethren, as on a gold-forged trumpet, in the reason of our mind, and we will strike on silver organs, in the affirmation of wisdom, and we will hit upon the bells of our mind, singing on God-inspired pipes, so that soul-profiting thoughts cry out in us. Arise my glory, arise psalteries and lutes, so that I open my riddles in parables and announce among tongues my glory. The heart of a thoughtful man becomes strong in his body through beauty and wisdom.
(2) And my tongue became like the reed of a quick-writing scribe; thus I tried to utter a word; every link of my heart I struck apart evilly, like the bygone infants against the rock.
(3) But I fear, O lord, your censure upon me, like that accursed fig tree.
(4) I do not have fruit for repentance; my mind is like a night raven on a ruin; my life crumbled, like the haughtiness of the Canaanite kings; destitution covered me, like the Black Sea the Pharaoh; abundance did not remain amidst my house, like the sun upon Gabaon.
(5) Therefore I tried to write.
(6) Lo, I fled from the face of my wretchedness, like Hagar the slave-girl from the hand of Sarah her mistress.
(7) Having reckoned, O lord, your good-reason, I ran to your customary love. For Holy Scripture speaks: Ask and you shall receive; David says: There are no speeches or words, in which their voices are not heard.
(8) And we will not be silent, but we will speak forth to our lord, the most gracious prince Iaroslav Vsevolodovich.
(9) O my prince, O lord! Remember me in your princedom, for I am your slave, the son of your slave-girl.
(10) I see all men, as by the sun, heated by your grace; only I alone walk in darkness, separated from the light of your eyes, like grass growing by a wall, upon which neither the sun shines nor the rain falls. Therefore, O lord, incline your ear to my mouth’s speaking and deliver me from all my grief.
(11) O my prince, O lord! All have drunk from the abundance of your house, as from your food in a stream; only I alone thirst for your grace, like the hart for the stream of water.
(12) I became like a tree standing by the path, for all passing by chop it; thus I too am offended by all, because I am fenced-in by fright of your threat, as by a firm fence.
(13) O my prince, O lord! A wealthy man is known everywhere, even in a foreign city, while a poor man walks unseen even in his own city. A wealthy man speaks forth, and all are silent and they carry up his word to the clouds; but a poor man speaks forth, and all shout against him. For whose garments are bright, their speech too is honorable.
(14) But you, O lord, look not at my exterior, but perceive my interior! For I am penurious in clothing, but abundant in reason; I have a young frame, but I have laid in it old thought; and I was soaring through my thought, like an eagle through the air.
(15) O my prince, O lord! Show me the sight of your face, as your voice is sweet and your form is beautiful; from your mouth streams mead; your epistles are like Paradise with fruit; your hands are filled with topaz gold; your cheeks are like a vessel of fragrances; your throat is like a lily dripping myrrh, your mercy; your appearance is like the choice Libanus; your eyes are like a well of living water; your belly is like a heap of wheat, sustaining many; your head raises up my head, and your neck is haughty, like topaz in a necklace.
(16) O my prince, O lord! Do not look upon me like a wolf at a lamb, but look upon me like a mother at an infant. Look upon the birds of Heaven, as they neither sow, nor reap, nor gather in granaries, but hope on God’s mercy.
(17) Let not your hand be closed from giving to the poor; for it is written: give to him who asks of you, open to him who knocks, that you not be deprived of the Kingdom of Heaven; for it is written: cast your sorrow on the Lord, and He will sustain you in the ages.
(18) Do not deprive the destitute wise man of bread, nor raise up the thoughtless wealthy man to the clouds. For the destitute but wise man is like gold in a dirty vessel; but the thoughtless wealthy man is like a brocaded pillow stuffed with straw.
(19) O my prince, O lord! Even if I am not brave in war, still I am strong in words; thus, gather the brave and unite the thoughtful.
(20) Solomon says: better is one wise man than ten brave men without mind; better is one thoughtful man than ten who rule cities. Daniel says: a brave man, O prince, you will soon obtain, while a mindful man is dear, because the counsel of the mindful is good. For (their) armies are strong and (their) cities firm; while the armies of others are forceful, but without council, and victory occurs against them.
(21) For many, massing armies against great cities, are unseated from their own small (cities).
(22) For thus said Sviatoslav, Olga’s son, going against Constantinople with a little retinue, and he said: we have not reckoned, O brethren, whether the city will be captured by us, or we will be destroyed by the city. If God is for us, then who is against us? God says: I will destroy and create again: I will move (men to) battles and establish peace. There is no bravery, nor councils against me; my every word is death and life; on my arm hope all lands. As I say, so it will be; I command to flee, and they flee; I command to pursue, and they pursue. One will pursue a hundred and a hundred will move tens of thousands. He who trusts in me is like the mountain Sion, he will not be moved in the ages.
(23) It is not the sea that drowns a ship, but the winds; just so you, O prince, do not fall into sorrow yourself, but councilors lead you to it. It is not fire that creates the burning of the iron, but the blowing of the leather-bag.
(24) A mindful man is not very brave in war, but is strong in thoughts. Thus it is good to gather the wise.
(25) For it is seemly to pasture horses beyond a hill.
(26) For many times, through disorder, too, armies are destroyed. If armies are established strongly, then even if one is defeated, he will flee having struck strongly. Thus Sviatopolk was to blame, having struck down his brothers, but even so he was strong – only toward evening, it is said, Iaroslav conquered (him) through force. Thus too Boniak, judging cleverly, also defeated the Hungarians at Galich: the latter were ordered for the engagement, while the former, like hunters, spread over the earth; then he killed the Hungarians for the killing and he destroyed them evilly.
(27) O my prince, O lord! For I did not grow up in Athens, nor was I taught by philosophers, but I was falling like a bee upon various flowers, thence choosing the sweetness of words, collecting wisdom like sea water in a leather-bottle.
(28) O my prince, O lord! Do not abandon me like my father and my mother abandoned me, and you, O lord, receive me with your grace.
(29) O my prince, O lord! Just as an oak grows stronger with a multitude of roots, so does our city by your grasp. The helmsman is the head of the ship, and you, prince, of your people. I saw an army without a good prince and I said: this is a great beast, but it has no head. Of women the head is man, of men a prince, and of princes God.
(30) Just as a brocade motley with many silks shows the face beautifully, just so you, our prince, by many men are shown to be glorious and honored in all lands.
(31) Just as a net does not grasp water, but it chooses many fish, thus you too, O our prince, do not grasp wealth, but give out to the forceful, uniting the brave.
(32) For with gold you do not obtain good men, but with men you obtain gold and cities. Therefore, even Hezekiah, king of the Israelites, boasted to the ambassadors of the Babylonian king, (and) indicated to them the multitude of his gold; and they said: our king is wealthier than you not by a multitude of gold, but by a multitude of brave and wise men.
(33) Water is mother to fish, and you, O prince, are to your people.
(34) Spring beautifies the earth with flowers, and you, O prince, beautify us with your grace. The sun alone warms the entire world with its rays, and you, O prince, beautify and enliven us with your grace.
(35) O my prince, O lord! Lo, I have been in great need, I suffered under a slave’s yoke; I tried all that which is evil.
(36) Better would be for me to see my foot in a bast-sandal in your house, rather than in a red boot at a boyar’s court; better would be for me to serve you in a sackcloth, rather than in purple at a boyar’s court.
(37) For a gold loop is not fitting in the nostril of a swine, nor on peasants good raiment. Even if a kettle (has) gold rings in its ears, still its bottom will not avoid blackness and burning. Just so is a peasant; even if he is proud and haughty beyond measure, still he will not avoid his reproach, a peasant’s name.
(38) It would be better for me to drink water in your house, rather than to drink honey at a boyar’s court; it would be better for me to receive a baked sparrow from your hand, rather than a shoulder of mutton from the hand of evil masters.
(39) For many times my slave’s bread is like wormwood in my mouth, and I mixed my drink with weeping.
(40) Serving a good lord one deserves freedom, but serving a bad master one deserves to slave more.
(41) O my prince, O lord! To one is Pereslavl’, but to me it is Goreslavl’; to one Bogoliubivo, but to me it is ferocious bitterness; to one is White Lake, but to me it is blacker than pitch; to one is Lake Lache, but I am full from weeping much, because my lot did not flourish there.
(42) My friends and my neighbors cast me off, because I did not place before them a table beautified with multifarious dishes. For many befriend me, bending a hand to the bowl, sweetening their throat in the bee’s gift, but in adversity I find them worse than enemies and again they help injure my feet; their eyes weep for me, but in their heart they laugh at me. Therefore I have no faith in a friend, nor trust in a brother. If I have something, then they will live with me; if I have nothing, then all will quickly abandon flattering me.
(43) Therefore, O my prince, O lord, I call out to you, grasped by destitution.
(44) For Prince Rostislav did not lie to me: better death for me than the Kursk princedom; thus it is for a man: better death than a life drawn out in destitution. About this Solomon speaks: give me neither wealth nor poverty, O Lord; having become wealthy, I will assume pride and haughtiness, and in poverty I will think of theft and robbery, and immorality with women.
(45) For the sake of this, O my prince, O lord, I ran to your customary love and unfrightful grace, fleeing from poverty, as from an evil warrior, as from the face of a serpent; I call in the voice of the prodigal son, who says: remember me, O savior! Therefore also I will call out to you: remember me, O son of the great Prince Vsevolod, lest I weep, deprived of your grace, as Adam (was) of paradise. Turn the cloud of your grace upon the earth of my wretchedness; and I will become glad in my king, as if finding a profit of much gold, and I will sing forth, as if drunk with wine, and I will become glad, like a giant to run the path.
(46) The earth provides fruit in abundance, and the trees their fruits; and you, O our prince, wealth and glory. For all run to you, as to a blessed protector; they receive deliverance from sorrow: orphans and the wretched, drowned by the rich. Young birds are happy under the wings of their mother, and we are glad under your grasp.
(47) Deliver me, O lord, from my destitution like a goat from a snare, like a bird from a trap; lift me from my penury, like a duck from a hawk’s claws, like a sheep from a wolf.
(48) For if in sorrow someone looks after a man, it is as if he (gives him) cold water to drink on a sweltering day.
(49) O my prince, O lord! Rust eats iron, and sorrow a man’s mind; a moth damages garments, and sorrow a man’s mind. Just as tin poured too often is destroyed, thus too a man, receiving much misfortune, grows wretched; for (misfortunes) dry up a sorrowful man’s bones. For every man sees a mote in the eye of a friend, but in his own does not see a beam. Every man is clever and wise about another’s misfortune, but cannot give thought to his own; for no one can gobble salt, nor think in sorrow.
(50) O my lord, O prince! Just as the sea is not filled (by) receiving many rivers, just so is your house not filled (by) receiving a multitude of wealth, because your hands are like forceful clouds, taking up water from the sea – from the wealth of your house, spilling into the hands of the have-nots. Therefore I also thirsted for your heart’s graciousness.
(51) O my prince, O lord! I am neither Theophrastus or Pindar, the Egyptian wise men, nor Phaedon or Callimachus, the clever Athenians. If I am not wise, yet I have dressed in the garments of the wise and have worn the boots of the thoughtful.
(52) However, hear my voice, stand the vessel of your heart under the stream of my tongue, so that the sweetness of words will drip out, better than fragrant waters.
(52) David says: your words are better than honey in my mouth. Solomon says: honeyed mouths are good words; their sweetness is a healing of the soul. The mouth of a just man drips wisdom, the soul of the mindless is sorrow to the heart; for a mindless man carries up his voice in laughter.
(53) Having found a wise man, speak to him and attach your heart to him. For Scripture speaks: seek out wisdom, and your soul will be alive. Having attached yourself to the wise, you will be wise. Flee from a cunning man and hear not his teaching.
(54) For the eyes of a wise man are in his head, but those of a mindless man are as if they walk in darkness. A wise man is a friend to the thoughtful, but no friend to the thoughtless. For the heart of a wise man is in the house of sorrow, but that of the mindless is in the house of feasting.
(54) Send a wise man, and indicate (just a) little to him, but if you send a mindless man, do not yourself be lazy to go after him. Better for me to hear the prohibition of the wise, rather than admonitions of the mindless. For it is said, give blame to a wise man, and he will become wiser; but even if you strike a mindless man with a whip, having tied him down on sledges, you will not take away his mindlessness.
(55) Indicate a mindless man (to others), and you will receive shame upon yourself: amidst a crowd he disgraces you. Do not sow, it is said, grain in furrows, nor wisdom in the heart of the mindless. Water cannot withstand (being) in the mountains, nor wisdom in the heart of the mindless.
(56) O my prince, O lord! Do not spurn a grieving servant, do not deprive me of my life. Just as the eyes of a servant-girl in the hands of her mistress, thus are my eyes in your hands, as I am your servant, and the son of your servant-girl. When sated with multifarious dishes, remember me, eating dry bread; when glad with sweet drink, remember me, drinking warm water; when dressed in the beauty of your garments, remember me, in unlaundered rags; when lying on a soft bed, remember me, lying under only a sackcloth, dying in winter and in dripping rains, pierced as if by arrows.
(57) O my prince, O lord! The eagle is king over the birds, and the sturgeon is over fish, and the lion is over beasts, and you, O prince, are over the men of Pereslavl’. A lion roars, who is not frightened? And you, O prince, will say (something), and who will not fear? For even as a serpent is frightful with its hiss, just so you, O our prince, are threatening with a multitude of soldiers. Gold is beautiful for women, and you, O prince, are for your people. A body is strengthened by tendons, and you, O prince, are by your grasp. Young birds are happy in spring, and infants – in their mother, and we, O prince, are in you. Lutes are plied by fingers, and our city by your grasp.
(58) For just as a partridge gathers young birds, not only its own, but carries eggs even from other nests – a partridge, it is said, sings to call young birds, those that she bore and those that she bore not; just so you, O prince, have united many, not only from your household; but you have united even (those) from other lands – those running to you, reckoning your customary grace. For a gracious prince is like a quiet stream: it gives drink not only to cattle, but to men as well.
(59) O my prince, O lord! Neither can one scoop out the sea with a ladle, nor can we drain your house by our taking.
(60) For I am not wise, because I have met little wisdom at the gates, I have worn the boots of mindful men, and I am dressed in the garments of the thoughtful.
(61) Do you say, O prince: He has said such a word from mindlessness? Yet I have not seen heavens of felt, nor stars of bast, nor a mindless man speaking wisdom.
(62) Neither a stone swims in water nor a mindless man (in) wisdom; neither for dogs or swine is gold necessary, nor for the mindless – wise words. One cannot laugh at a dead man, nor admonish an immoral man. When a bluebird devours an eagle, then will a mindless man’s mind be taught. For just as to blow in a leaky pitcher, so it is to teach a mindless man; as to fit together a broken vessel, so it is to admonish an immoral man. For (men) neither plow, nor sow, nor weave, nor spin the mindless, but they bear themselves.
(63) O my prince, O lord! It is for every courtier to have honor and grace from his prince. How long must he rush following (this) in grief, as around a bull with an ax, or after a devil with a mitre, until he can see good (from this)? And no one can, without having feathered his arrow, shoot straight, nor with laziness obtain honor. He who has not seen evil will not achieve good; he who has not fought with a dog over one marrowbone will not see the good; just so, he who has not withstood even bitter smoke will not see warmth.
(63) For gold is tried by fire, and man by adversity; wheat ground much shows forth clean bread, and a man, tolerating misfortune, seems thoughtful and wise. For whoever will not have been in much misfortune, like at the devil in his fumes, in him there is no reckoning. For no one can shoot the stars with an arrow, nor think in adversity. For without having pursued a wasp with a broom over a crumb, or having jumped off a pillar for a single pea, he will not see the good.
(64) Or you will say to me, O prince: "you have lied like a thief." If I had been mindful to steal, then I would not have been so grievous to you. For a maiden destroys her beauty through immorality, and a man his honor through theft.
(65) Or you will say to me, O prince: "take a woman from a wealthy father-in-law – there drink, there eat as well." Then better would it be for me to be sick with shaking than to be with an evil, unlovable woman: for the shaking, having shaken you, lets you go, but an evil woman dries you out even unto death.
(66) As it is spoken in worldly parables: a bat is not a bird among birds; a hedgehog is not a beast among beasts; a crayfish is not a fish among fish; a nanny-goat is not cattle among cattle; not a peasant among peasants is he who works for a peasant; not a man among men is he who listens to a woman; not a woman among women is she who is immoral with a man; not a slave among slaves (is he who) bears (burdens) for women.
(67) Immorality of immoralities, that one take an evilly-formed woman for the sake of avarice, or a father-in-law for the sake of wealth. Then better would it be for me to see a grey ox in my house, than an evilly-formed woman.
(68) I saw gold on an evilly-formed woman and said: "you do need this gold!"
(69) Better would it be for me to melt iron, than to be with an evil woman.
(70) For an evilly-formed woman is like an itch: where you scratch, there you ache.
(71) Again, I saw an old, evilly-formed woman, cross-eyed and like an imp, big-mouthed, big-jawed, evil-tongued, stooped over a mirror, and I said to her: “do not look in the mirror, but look into the grave”; for it is not proper for an evilly-formed woman to bend over a mirror, lest she fall into great sorrow, having looked at her unbefitting face.
(72) Or you will say, O prince: “be tonsured among the monks.” I have not seen a dead man riding on swine, nor an imp on a wench; nor have I eaten figs from willow, nor grapes from a linden.
(73) Better for me thus to end my life, than to lie, taking on the angelic form. For lies, it is said, are for the world, not for God: one cannot lie to God, nor play with the Highest.
(74) For many, having left this world, turn back, like dogs to their own vomit, to worldly pursuits; they go around to the villages and the houses of those praised in this world, like kindhearted dogs. Where there are dishes and feasts, there are monks and nuns and lawlessness: taking upon themselves the angelic form, their habits are immoral; taking on themselves the priestly rank, in their customs they are undignified.
(75) O my prince, O lord! For rogues and pipers, dancers, knights, masters, dukes, mummers and cavaliers – they take honor and grace from pagan sultans and from kings. One, having fallen upon a charger, flees across the Hippodrome, risking his life; and another flies from a church or from a high palace with brocaded wings; and another casts himself, bare, into the fire – (all) indicating the strength of their hearts to their kings. And another, having cut through his calves, having bared the bones of his shins, indicates them to his king, and shows forth his bravery; and another, having jumped, casts himself into the sea from a high shore upon his horse, having covered the eyes of his chargers, hitting them on their flanks, speaks: “Victory to the Blues! For the honor and grace of our king, we risk our life!” And another has tied a string to a church ear, and the other end to the earth, and has carried it far from the church; thus he flees down, having taken that string by the end with one hand, in the other hand grasping a bare sword; and another, having wound himself in damp linen, fights bare-handed with a ferocious beast.
(76) I will already abandon speaking much, lest in much speaking, I carry off my mind; I will be like a leather pitcher, spilling wealth in the hand of another, and I will resemble millstones, which sate people, but cannot fill themselves with grain; lest I become hateful through much discourse, just like a bird, repeating a song, becomes hateful. For as it is spoken in worldly parables: a drawn-out word is not good, but a drawn-out sausage is a good (thing).
(77) Therefore even I, dull-minded, have stopped (speaking): I fear, O lord, your censure upon me, having wretched reasoning. For I am like an ancient wind-bag, going on in the ways of my soul, stepping back to my mind, crawling in thought like a serpent along the stone, not reckoning the saving gain, nor having gained the wings of repentance. I tried to speak, having an unadmonished mouth, nor bridled (is my) tongue by the fear of God.
(77) I began to speak, boasting of wisdom, not very (far) from mindlessless.
(78) I have not eaten oil from sand, nor milk from a billy-goat, nor (... from) a mindless man speaking wisdom.
(79) How will I speak forth? He who has a bast mind, a felt tongue, thoughts like hemp fiber, could he speak reason sweetly?
(80) A bitch cannot bear a foal; even if she bore (one), who would ride it?
(81) For a boat is one thing, and a ship another; and a horse is one thing, and a pony another; and a mindful man is one thing, and a mindless man another. For the mindless neither forge, nor pour, but bear themselves.
(82) Or you will say, O prince: You have lied like a dog. But princes and boyars love a good dog.
(83) Lo, already we will abandon speaking and we will say this: Arise, O Lord, judge the earth! Move the prince, awaken the boyars; make great our prince’s force; strengthen us and make us firm, and harden the lazy; lay courage into the hearts of the frightened. Do not, O Lord, give our earth into captivity to the tongues that do not know God, lest the other tribes say: Where is their God? Our God is in Heaven and on the earth. So give them, O Lord, victory over all rising up against us!
(83) Give them, O Lord, Samson’s force, Alexander’s bravery, Joseph’s mind, Solomon’s wisdom, the meekness of David: multiply the people in the ages under Your grasp, that all lands praise You with every man’s soul. Praise be to God in the ages. Amen.
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