Sunday, December 2, 2007

A bit of translation to start things off...

To get things moving, I will provide the first 58 lines of Andreas. I will set out some my considerations and values next post, but this should get things moving.

(1-18: Invocation & Introduction)

Listen to what we have learned in former-days—
of glory-blessed heroes, twelve under the stars,
the thegns of the Lord? Their force did not fail
in the war-reckoning when the banners clashed together —
afterwards they separated as their lord himself,
Heaven’s High-King, had assigned their lot.
Those were illustrious men upon the earth,
bold folk-leaders on the fate-plain,
doughty warriors and battle-brave, when shield
and hand defended their crown on the harrying-field.

There was among them a certain Matthew,
who, first among the Jews, began to write
the Gospel in words with wondrous skill.
Holy God had decreed the portion for him:
out to the island of Mermedonia where they did not allow
any strangers to enjoy the prosperity of their native land.
Often he had encountered stoutly
the hand of slayers in the harrying-field.

(19-39: The Land of Mermedonia)

That whole march-land was wound in murder,
the enemy’s deceit, the dwelling-place of men,
homeland of heroes. There was neither bite of bread
nor drink of water for Mermedonian men to enjoy.
Instead they consumed blood and skin, throughout the nation
the flesh-homes of foreign-coming men.
Such was their custom that they made all strangers,
who sought their island from outside, into meat for the meat-lacking.
Such was the peace-less token of these people,
the violence of the wretched, that the gore-grim enemy,
sad-minded, destroyed the sight of the eyes,
the head-gems, with the point of spears.
Afterwards, druids bitterly mixed together
a frightful drink through error-craft for their victim—
their wit was perverted, the conscience of men,
the heart in breast, mind changed,
so that their victims mourned no longer for the joys of men,
the bloodthirsty heroes, but, exhausted, tormented by hunger,
they ate hay and grass instead.

(40-58: Matthew arrives in Mermedonia)

When Matthew was come to that notorious city,
into that fortress, there was a great clamor
throughout Mermedonia: a band of the wicked,
the defiled's tumult, after the devil’s thegns
had learned of the noble one’s arrival.
Then they went against him, swiftly under shield,
armed with spears —none were late—
the enraged ash-bearers, towards the fight’s flame-point.
They bound the hands of the holy one there
and fastened Matthew by the fiend’s craft,
those hell-hastening heroes. His head’s flags
they burst with the sword’s edge. Nevertheless he honored
the guardian of the heaven’s realm in his breast,
even though he accepted the terrible drink of poison.
Blessed and single-minded, Matthew with courage still
worshipped the Prince of Glory wordfully,
the heaven-kingdom’s guardian with a holy voice,
from his prison. For him, Christ’s praise was
wound up tightly in his soul-enclosure.

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