Thursday, April 14, 2011

Genesis B VII (in part) *NOW in full*

Hello all,

Here is part VII of Genesis B. Work is proceeding much more slowly than I anticipated, as the poem presents a different sort of challenge than the others. Most notably, it is more repetitive than the rest of the Anglo-Saxon poems I've translated, which leads to long self-discussions about whether to preserve the repeating language or seek the variety that a modern ear finds more appealing. Sometimes I do, and sometime I don't, based solely on the feel from instance to instance.

But, while you're waiting for the Genesis to be updated, please go visit Juliana. Seriously, she is getting lonely.


At that moment the other fiends lay upon the fire, who before
had kept so many struggles against their Sovereign.
Torments they endure, heated war-surges in the middle of hell,
torches and broad tongues of flame, likewise the bitter fumes,
darkness and shadow, because they heeded not their servitude to God.
Their lust deceived them, the over-mind of the angels,
they would not worship the word of the All-Wielder.
They now had great torment, plunged to the fiery bottom
in that hot hell through their want of thought and arrogance.
They sought another land—devoid of light, filled with licking flames,
the great fearful fire. The fiends understood that they had exchanged
torments innumerable by their overweening thought and the might of God,
and through the greatest of all arrogances. (322-37)

Then spoke the arrogant king, who was the brightest of angels before,
most brilliant in heaven and dear to his Master,
beloved to the Lord, until they turned to foolishness,
so that God himself, mighty in his mind, became enraged
at his depravity and threw him within that murderous stead,
down into that corpse-bed, and wrought him a name ever since,
saying that he must thenceforth be called Satan.
He bade him rule over that black abyss of Hell,
instead of struggling against God. (338-46)

Satan said, speaking and sorrowing,
he who should thenceforth keep Hell,
and have charge of the deeps. He was God’s angel before,
bright in the heavens, until his pride seduced him
and his greatest of all arrogances,
so that he wished to obey the word of the Lord of Armies no longer.
His thought welled within him about his heart,
hot was the bitter torment from without.
He spoke then in word: (347-55)

“This narrow place is much unlike that other home*
that we knew previously, high in heaven’s kingdom,
which my Master had granted to me, though we were not permitted
to keep it from the All-Wielder, or strive for our realm—
nevertheless he had no right to do what he has done, to strike us
down in the very bottom of the fire, in this hot Hell, and deprive us of heaven’s-realm.
He has been determined that it shall be settled by mankind. (356-64a)

That is of most sorrow to me, that Adam, who was shaped from earth,
shall possess my strong-set throne, and dwell there in joy,
while we must suffer this torment and injury in this Hell.
Wellaway! Had I the power of my hands
and were allowed to come out for one moment, be it a winter’s hour,
then I with this force—
But iron bonds lie about me, I swing in looped chains.
I am without power—
These harsh fetters of hell have been clapped fast about me.
Here is a great fire from above and below.
I have never seen a more loathsome region;
the flame does not move away. It is hot throughout hell. (364b-377a)

A tormenting chain of rings has prevented me from moving,
depriving me of my power to fare forth—my feet are fettered,
my hands are bound. The ways to these Hell-doors are barred,
so I can not escape at all from these limb-chains.
Huge bolts lie about me, heated and hammered of harsh iron
and with them God has chained me by the neck,
thus I know that he knows my mind and the Lord of Armies
also knows that it must ill become us, Adam and me,
regarding that heaven-realm — if only had I the power of my hands. (377b-88)

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