Monday, August 16, 2010

Elene XI

Then were those miracles, which the Lord of Armies, the Teacher of Life,
had wrought as a soul-saving for the kindred of humans, for the folk
remembering in their spirit, as they ever must do.* Then there the deceitful
fiend rose hovering on the wind. Then this hell-devil began to cry out,
a terrible demon, mindful of evil things: (894-901)

“What man is this, huh—who again destroys my retinue
through this ancient conflict, increasing the old enmity,
robbing me of my possessions? This is a perpetual strife—
evil-doing souls are not allowed to dwell in my keeping for long.
Now comes this stranger, who I had accounted before fixed in his sins—
now he has deprived me of all of my rights and my rents. This is no fair journey. (902-10)

“The Savior has done me many harms, many grievous grudges,
him who was reared in Nazareth. As soon as he grew from childhood,
he always turned my possessions over to them. Nor may any now
succeed by right. His realm is broad across middle-earth.
Mine is reduced, my authority under the heavens.
I don’t need that cross to be praised in exultation. (911-19a)

“Harumph! The Savior has often closed me in a narrow house,
as miserable pain! I had been hopeful through a Judas before, and
now I am humbled, lacking my goods also through this Judas,
flecked and friendless. Immediately I know how to find
redress afterwards through slanderous words—
from the houses of the accursed I will awake against you
another king, who will persecute your people,
and he will abandon your teachings and follow my wicked practices
and then he will send you into the darkest and worst of terrible torments,
so that you, afflicted with pains, renounce firmly
the Hanged King, whom you once obeyed.” (919b-33)

Wise-minded Judas answered him then, a warrior bold for battle
—the Holy Ghost was firmly commended to him, his fire-hot love
wisdom welling through the wisdom of prophets—
and spoke with a word, filled with wisdom:
“You need not so strongly renew your wounds and raise a conflict,
evil lord of murders, mindful of your sins, so that the Mighty King
he who wakens many of the dead with one word, hurls you,
sin-working and reft of glory, down into the abyss, into the ground of torment.
Know more readily that you have relinquished unwisely
the brightest light and the love of the Lord, that joy more fair
and afterwards dwelled in a flaming bath encircled with torments
and burnt with fire and there you must always, contrary-thinking,
endure damnation, a misery without an end.” (934-52a)

Elene heard how the fiend and her friend raised battle,
on two sides, the glory-blessed and the wicked,
the sinning and the innocent. Her heart was gladder
because she heard that hell-harmer overcome, the dispenser of crimes,
and then she marveled at the wisdom of Judas,
how he was so full of faith in such a short time,
and formerly so ignorant, now endowed with such wisdom.
She thanked God the Glory-King, because her desire
had come to pass through the Child of God in each of two ways
both in the sight of that victory-tree and of the faith that she knew
so clearly, a glory-fast gift in the breast of that man. (952b-66)

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