Saturday, April 30, 2011

Genesis B [XI] tumbles forth!

I counted out the limited number of days until I have to return all my Genesis books to Princeton's library. There are not many left and I realize that I will have to work very efficiently to get a good chunk of Genesis done before I move away for Camden. There's no way I can get the whole thing done in a month of course, but at least I can make a dent in it, as well as getting all of Genesis B completed.

In recognition of this exigency, here is a whole afternoon's work, the entire 11th section, from Genesis B, which includes the first temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan's emissary.


[Two leaves are missing, cutting out all of sections IX and X, as well as the start to XI.]

Then the enemy of God began to gird himself, eager into his gear—
he had a lying spirit—he set upon his head his deceitful helm
and fastened it there very tightly, fixed it by its clasp.
He knew many cozening speeches, many crooked words.
He flew up from there, hastening through the Doors of Hell—
he had a strong mind—bouncing on the breeze, bane-minded,
parting that fire in two by the fiend’s craft.
He wished to secretly ensnare the servants of the Lord—
to seduce and corrupt humans with evil deeds,
so that they would become hateful to God. (442-2)

Then he traveled through the power of the enemy
until he found Adam completed upon the earth-realm,
God’s own handiwork, skillfully wrought, and his wife together,
his fairest lady, and they knew how to prepare many good things,
when he appointed them to be his own servants, the Maker of Mankind. (452-59)

And between them stood two trees; they were laden without
with fruits at that time, covered with blossoms, just as the Sovereign God,
the High Heaven’s King had set them there with his hands, so that
the children of men were allowed to choose either good and evil,
each man, either prosperity and trouble. The fruit was not alike! (460-66)

The one was so beautiful, splendid and shining, mild and praiseworthy—
that was the Tree of Life. One who tasted its fruit
was allowed to be in the world for eternity after living,
so old age would not harm one after eating it, nor stern sickness,
but one was allowed to always exist deeply in his desires
and keep his life, the favor of the Heaven-King here in the world.
One truly would have the appointed protection in the high heaven,
when one finally traveled thence. (467-76)

Then the other was entirely black, dark and shadowy—
that was the Tree of Death, it bore many bitter things.
Everybody must know the result of both evil and good in this world.
In knowing, one must live with sweat and with sorrow
ever afterwards, whoever ate of that which grew on that tree.
He must be deprived in his old age of deeds of courage,
joys and lordship, and death has been ordained for him.
A little time he must enjoy his life, seeking then
the darkest land of fire. He must serve devils,
where there is the most danger of all for the people for all time. (477-89a)

The hateful one knows this eagerly, the hidden messenger
of the Devil who struggles against the Lord.
Then he cast himself into the likeness of a snake, and wound
himself all around the Tree of Death through devil’s craft.
There he took up one of the fruits and turned himself again
to where he knew the hand-labor of the Heaven-King to be. (489b-94)

Then he began to ask the first man, the loathsome with lying words:
“Do you ever long at all, Adam, upwards to God?
I am on his errand here and have traveled from afar—
it has not been long since I sat with him.
Then he ordered me to fare on this journey, he ordered
that you should eat of this fruit, he said that your spirit and strength
and your intellect would become the greater,
and your body-case would become much more beautiful,
your shape the more splendid. He said that you should have no need of covering
in this world. Now you have gained the good will,
the grace of the Heaven-King, served to the pleasure of your Master,
you have wrought yourself dear with your Lord. I heard him
to praise your deeds in his light and to speak about your life.
Just as you must fulfill that his messenger brings here to this land. (495-510a)

“These green yards are broad in this world, and God sits
in the highest realm of the heavens, the All-Wielder above.
He will not hold these troubles himself, the Lord of Men,
to go upon this journey, yet he sent his servitor to speak with you.
Now he ordered me to teach you wisdom with these tidings.
Learn eagerly from his servant! Take this fruit into your hand!
Bite it and taste! It will become roomy in your breast,
your form flower more lovely. The Sovereign God sends you,
your Master, the help of the heavens’ realm.” (510b-21)

Adam spoke where he stood upon the earth, the free-willed man:
“When I heard the Victory-Lord, Mighty God speak
with a strong voice, and he ordered me to abide here,
to hold his commandments, and he gave me this woman,
my beauty-shining wife, and he ordered me to be watchful
so that I should not be cast down by the Tree of Death,
seduced too strongly. He said that dark Hell must be kept
for him who by his heart has produced something hateful.
I don’t know whether you come with falsehoods through secrecy
or you are the Lord’s messenger from heaven. (522-33a)

“Listen! I am not able to understand one whit of your commands,
your words nor your intentions, your errand nor your stories.
I know what he bade me himself, our Savior when I last saw him.
He ordered me to worthy his word and keep it well,
to carry out his teaching. You are not like any of his angels
that I have ever seen before, nor do you show me any token
that he dispatched you to me by the tree, my Master through his grace.
Therefore I can not heed you, but you can fare forth.
I have kept myself fixed to my faith up unto Almighty God
who wrought me by his arms, here with his on hands.
He is able to bestow upon me with every sort of good
from his high kingdom, though he sends no servitor.” (533b-46)

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