Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Three more stanzas of Juliana IV

Several more stanzas of Juliana have crept onto the translation page. They are repeated below for your morning-coffee convenience.

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If I meet any powerful or mind-proud champions of the Maker
who against my arrows’ flight will not bend far thence
from the battle but heaves up his board against them,
mind-wise, a holy shield, his ghostly war-dress,
who will not betray his God—but bold in his prayers he makes a stand,
fast in a foot-band so I must flee far thence,
low-minded, deprived of comfort, in the grip of gleeds,
mourning my care, so that I can not with craft of strength
go against him with war, but sad I should seek others
lacking in courage, under the bristle of standards,
the more sluggish warrior who I can puff up with my leaven,
and hinder from warfare. Although he the strength of God
may begin spiritually, I will be immediately ready,
so that I look through all his thought,
how established he might be his inward strength,
built his defenses. (382-401a)

I open up the gate of his wall through reproach;
the tower will be pierced, opened by its apeture,
then first I dispatch to him through arrow-flight
into his breast-self bitter thoughts by varied desires of the mind,
so that it seems better to himself to perform sins
instead of the praise of God, lusts of the body.
I am an eager teacher so that he may live
according to my wicked customs,* averted certainly
from the law of Christ, his heart troubled for me
as power in the pit of his sins. I care more,
and more eagerly about the spirit, the ruin of the soul,
than for the body-house, that which must become in this world
the comfort of worms and is commended to a lair in the earth.” (401b-17a)

Then again the woman spoke: “Speak, wretched shape,
spirit unclean, ruler of darkness, how do you associate yourself
in the company of the clean? You of old, pledge-less, labored
against Christ and drew along a struggle, plotting against holy men.
For you was the pit of hell delved below, where you,
harassed by your misery on account of your over-pride
sought a home. I supposed that you must be the more cautious—
and the more cowardly—in such a meeting against the sooth-fast
one that often withstood your will by the Glory-King.
(417b-28)

* 410. mon-├żeawum: This is usually translated as “human custom” or simply “custom.” However, the possibility cannot be ruled out “mon-” (human) is not “man-” (evil, wicked), especially since the context seems to demand it.

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