Monday, May 31, 2010

Elene IV

More Elene for your discerning pleasure. We begin the occupation of Jerusalem by Helena's Roman army and the queen's challenge to the Jewish wise men.


There was clearly visible upon an earl the linked mail
and the tested sword, the magnificent battle equipment,
many visored helmets, the peerless boar-crest.
The ash-warriors were soldiers about their victory-queen,
eager for the journey. Bold warband warriors, the heralds
of the emperor had desired to fare into the Greek lands,
the men of battle, adorned in ornaments.
There was seen many a worthy gem set upon that army-throng
the gift of their lord. Triumph-blessed Elene was mindful,
bold in her thought, of the desire of the prince eager in her heart
so that she, across the army-fields should seek the Jewish land
with her band of proven shield-warriors, her group of men.
Just as it since happened in a little time that the people’s force
the war-bold heroes came unto Jerusalem into that city
in the greatest of armies, earls spear-brave,
amid those nobles their queen (256-75)


Elene ordered then the city-sitters to be commanded,
the wisest among them, broad and wide throughout Israel,
every one among the men, council-talking, to come unto a moot,
those that knew the deepest mysteries of the Lord
through expounding correctly the Law.
Then was gathered from the far-ways no small force,
those that knew how to expound the law of Moses.
There by number were selected three thousand of those nation
to teach. Then the dear woman wordfully spoke to Hebrew men: (276-87)

“I have understood fully through the cryptic words of the prophets
in the books of God that you all in years past were precious
to the Glory-King, dear to the Lord and deed-bold.
Listen! Unwisely you spurned all wisdom in wrath,
then you cursed him so that he through his glorious power
thought to free you all from damnation, from a flaming death,
and a close custody. You all with spittle spewed into the face
of him that made the light of your eyes and made
a cure for blindness with his own noble sputum,
and who often saved you all from the unclean spirits of devils. (288-302a)

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