Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last part of Juliana V

The final stanzas of the fifth section of Juliana are now drafted. These were fairly complicated, and will probably change incrementally as I continue to read them aloud to myself.


“I have borne it all—cruel crimes throughout human nations,
those that have happened in the wide ages from the start of the world
for the kindred of men, the earls upon the earth.
There was none among them that have dared to touch me thus
boldly as you now do, holy with your hands.
There were none of these mindful men across the earth
through holy might, none of the high-fathers or prophets:
even though the God of Multitudes, the King of Glory,
revealed to them the spirit of wisdom, his boundless gift,
nevertheless I might approach the way to them. (506b-518a)

There was none of them who have laden me with bonds so boldly*
or whelmed me over with calamity, before now
when you seized me fast and overcame my great strength,
which my father gave me, the enemy of man-kind,
when he ordered me to venture, a prince from the darkness,
so that I had to sweeten your sins for you.
There sorrow befell me, a heavy hand-struggle.
I need not rejoice over this errand in the company of my kinsmen
after this sore suffering, when I must render unto them
a sorrowful account in our gloomy home.” (518b-530a)

Then Heliseus the noblemen, a cruel-minded man, ordered
Juliana, holy in heart, to be lead out from her narrow house
unto his doom-seat to speak with the heathens.
She, sainted and inspired in her breast, dragged with her
that unbelieving devil, fastened in bonds.
Then he, wretched and careful, lamented his errand,
bewailed his pain, bewept his bad fortune, speaking wordfully:

“I entreat you, my lady Juliana, before the peace of God,
to work me no further insult, no disgrace in front of these earls,
more than you have done already, when you overwhelmed
the wisest under the prison’s shadow, the king of the hell-dwellers
in the city of fiends; he is our father, the evil prince of murder.
So, you have chastised me by your soreful swats!
I know as truth that I have never met, before or since,
in worldly realms a woman like you—more bold in your thoughts,
nor more cross-timbered* of all womankind!
It is clear to me that you have become in all things
unabashed and wise in mind.” (539-553a)

At that moment the woman allowed the devil after his time
of suffering to seek the shadows in the dark earth,
the adversary of souls, in pain of torment. He knew more readily,
that messenger of malice, to speak of it before his kinsmen,
torture’s thanes, how it befell him on his journey. (553b-58)

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