Thursday, March 18, 2010

Juliana completed

Hello all,

It only took eleven months, but Juliana is now complete in first draft. The final section, what I'm calling the epilogue is posted below. For the rest of section six, please go to the full Juliana translation from the sidebar.

Following Kennedy and Bradley, Cynewulf's runic signature is translated into likely words and are given in italics. The lines are purposely different from those of the rest of the narrative, broken up into short bursts of thought. I like how this pattern of lineation feels so far, so I think I'll keep it.



There is a great need for me
for that holy woman to effect me help,
when the dearest of all shall be parted
from me, the two brothers united shall
be torn apart, their great heart-love.
My soul shall part from my body
upon a journey—I myself do not know where—
in ignorance of its destination.
From this place I shall seek another,
journeying according to my former works
and my olden deeds. (695b-703a)

Mournful will mankind depart.
The king will be stern, the Giver of Victories,
when, flecked by sins, the sheep,
terrified, await what, according to their deeds
He will adjudge them, as a reward of life.
The watery floods will tremble,
lowering themselves sorrowfully.* (703b-09a)

I remember all that pain,
wounded by the sins that I late and early
have wrought in this world,
what I must lament with mournful tears.
There was one time too late,
so that I was ashamed afore of my evil deeds,
while ghost and body together fared
uninjured upon the earth.
I will have need of mercies then,
that the holy woman intercede
with that highest of kings.

A great heart’s sorrow reminds me
of this need. I pray that every man
of human kindred who recites this song,
earnest and mindful,
will remember me by my own name,
and pray to the Lord, the Helm of the Heavens,
Wielder of Powers, will provide me help,
on that greatest of days, the Father,
the Spirit of Comfort, on that awful day,
the Deemer of Deeds, and his dear Son,
when their Threeness sitting in majesty
as a singularity, the kindred of mankind
through that glorious creation decrees by his works
the reward of every man. Forgive us, Great God
so that we find your aspect, Joy of Nobles,
merciful on that famous day—

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Juliana VI underway

I'm about a hundred lines from the end of Juliana, and I can't express how happy that makes me. Although I am generally happy with the results, this poem has been with me for far too long. The summer was a pretty wretched stretch of bad translating, which I do not care to revisit.

I'm looking ahead with mild excitement to the next target, and I'm beginning to think it should be Genesis A&B. It's long, it's difficult, it really needs to be done.


[MS folio missing]

“… eagerly before
they praised [him] on high and his holy word,*
they said truly that he alone wielded all victories
over all of creation, and eternal blessed gifts.” (559b-63a)

Then came an angel of God, blazing with bangles
and thrust the fire to the side, freeing and fortifying
her clean of guilts, free of vices, and scattering
the ferociously hungry tongues of flame where the holy woman stood,
the maiden more bold, in their midst, unhurt. (563b-68)

That for the rich man was a distress to endure—
he would change it, if he could, for the whole world.*
Heliseus, flecked with many sins, sought how he could
most painfully, through the worst of torments,
devise her soul’s death. Nor was the enemy too slow—
he instructed the nobleman to make an earthen vessel,
by wonder-craft and the terrifying howls of warriors,
ordering it to be set it around with wooden beams
and forest timber. Then the obstinate creature commanded
that men fill that earth-bowl with lead, and then ordered
the pyre, the greatest of fires, be kindled,
surrounded by brands on all sides.
The bath welled with heat. (569-81)

Swiftly then, Heliseus, swollen with rage, ordered the woman
sinless and devoid of fault, to be shoved into the surging lead.
Then the fire became separated and scattered.
Lead burst wide, hot and hungry—
Warriors were terrified, seized by the rush.
There were five and seventy of the heathen host
forburned through the searing sneeze.
Then yet Juliana the holy woman stood
uninjured in her beauty. Nothing of her hem or garment,
her hair or skin, was damaged by the fire,
neither body or limb. She stood in the flames
totally unharmed, saying thanks for all to the Lord of Lords.
Then the deemer became stormy and mind-savage;
he began to tear his clothes and bared and gnashed his teeth.
He raged in his wits as if he were a wild beast,
roaring sad-minded and cursing his gods,
because their power could not withstand a woman’s will. (582-600a)

Juliana, the maid of glory, was resolute and unafraid,
mindful of her strength and the desire of the Lord.
Then the wretched judge ordered her put to death by sword-bite,
holy at heart, deprived of her head, chosen by Christ.
Her death would be no profit to him,
after he further knew its consequences. (600b-06)

Then was the hope of the holy woman renewed
and the mind of the maiden greatly gladdened,
after she heard the hero deliberate his evil counsel,
that the conclusion of her struggle-days must come—
her life released. Then Heliseus, full of sins, ordered
Juliana, chaste and chosen, to be led unto her sinless death.
Then came suddenly that humbled hell-ghast singing a harmful song,
wretched and unhappy—that same cursed devil
whom she had bound and beaten with torments—
he called for the crowd, filled with sorrowful songs: (607-18)

“Requite it with affliction now, that she has despised
the power of our gods, and degraded me most strongly,
so that I became a traitor. Let her obtain the hateful rewards
through the sword’s spoor, achieve your olden enmity,
enveloped in your sins. I remember the sorrow,
how I endured in one night countless afflictions
and sufferings, fast in bonds, innumerable evils. (619-27a)