Sunday, May 8, 2011

Genesis B XII.1

Wrath-minded he turned himself to where he saw the woman
standing upon the earth-realm, shaped splendidly,
and he spoke, that one, it would become the greatest of harms
unto all of her descendents in this world forever after:*
“I know the Sovereign God will become angered at you both,
if I should speak to him this very message, when I come before him
from this journey across the distant way, that you will not
attend to the messages that he sends eastwards to here
at this time. Now he should venture himself for your answer;
nor can his messenger deliver his reply; for that I know that
he will be enraged at you both, mighty in his mind.
Though if you wish to heed my words, lusty woman,
then you can consider his capacious counsel. (547-61)

“Consider in your breast what you can do to ward
yourselves from punishment, as I direct you.
Eat these fruits! Then your eyes will become so bright
that you can afterwards see so widely across the whole world,
and the throne of your Master itself, and ever have his grace.
You could lead Adam after—
if you had his will and he trusted your word.
If you spoke to him the truth of what command you have
in your breast, that you keep God’s bidding and teaching.
Adam will forgo in his breast-coffer this hateful strife
and evil reply, as both of us may speak to his advantage.
Entice him eagerly so that he carries out your precept,
lest you two should merit the hatred of your Sovereign God. (562-77)
“If you would perform this deed, best of all women,
I will cover up the many harms Adam spoke to me
from your Master, his many evil words.
He accuses me of bad faith, he says that I am eager for injury,
a servant of the Hostile and not at all an angel of God.
Yet I know so readily the origin of all the angels,
the high vault of heaven. The time was long after
that I eagerly served God by a loyal spirit, my Master,
the Lord Himself. I am no devil.” (578-87)

He led her with such lying words and with skillful enticings,
the woman into that unright, until the serpent’s thought
began to be moved within her—the Maker had marked her with the weaker mind—
so that she allowed her heart to be stirred by that instruction.
Because of this she took the disastrous fruit from the Tree of Death
from that hateful one over the Lord’s word. There could be no worse deed
appointed of humans! It is a great wonder that Eternal God the Prince
would ever endure it, that so many thanes became beguiled
by those deceptions which came from his precepts. (588-98)

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