Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Genesis A 16

Then to Eve God spoke angrily: “Turn yourself from joy!
You shall be in the power of weaponed-men,* and you shall
be sorely constrained by the terror of them,
and miserable suffer the error of your deeds, awaiting death,
and through cries and lamentation and great pain
you shall bring forth your sons and daughters into the world.” (918-24)

To Adam also the Eternal Lord announced a bitter message,
the Light-Creator of Life: “You shall seek another home,
a joyless stead, and turn towards exile, a naked need-wretch
deprived of the glory of Paradise. For you is appointed
the separation of body and soul. So—you brought forth
a hateful deed, therefore you shall struggle
and from the earth you shall obtain your own food,
bear a sweaty face that you may eat your bread
so long as you live here, until a severe sickness grip you
harshly by the heart which you swallowed yourself before
in the apple. Therefore you shall die.” (925-38)

Listen—we have now heard where sorrow-songs
and wicked world-misery were awakened for us.
The Warden of Glory then geared Adam and Eve with clothes,
our Shaper. The Lord ordered that their shame be covered
by the first of garments. Then he commanded they turn
from Paradise-plain into a more constrained living.
Behind them a blessed angel locked away their pleasant home
of delight and joys, with a flaming sword, by the Lord’s order.
Nor can any wicked or stain-guilty man enter there,
but that guardian bears power and strength,
the one who defends that famous [tree of] life*
from the multitudes for the much-loved Lord. (939-51)

Not yet did the Almighty wish to withdraw all honor
from Adam, our father at the beginning, and Eve,
even though they had rebelled against him,
but he allowed the heavenly roof to be decorated nonetheless
with blessed stars as a comfort to them
and he gave unto them the ample riches of the earth.
He ordered the seas and the earth to produce fruits
of every fruitful species for the mortal need of that conjugal pair.
Then they occupied after their sin a sorrowful place,
unprofitable land and country, devoid of every advantage*
when they were driven out of their first home after their deed. (952-64)

They began then to beget children by the order of God,
just as the Maker commanded them. The two sons of Adam and Eve,
the noble first born were conceived as Cain and Abel.
Books declare it to us, how then the first-doer acquired glory,
wealth and sustenance, brothers of one desire.*
The first of them struggled with strength in the earth,
that one was the first-born. The second held property,
an aid to his father, until a great many days had passed forth. (965-75a)

Then they both brought gifts to the Lord.
The Lord of Angels looked favorably upon Abel’s sacrifice
with his own eyes, the King of Created Beings;
Cain’s offering he did not wish to look upon.
That was an anguish to that man, heavy upon his heart.
A mind-welling mounted* within the man inside his breast,
a paling hate, angered with envy. Then he did a terrible deed
with his hands—the kinsman killed his own brother,
and Cain poured out Abel’s blood.
Middle-earth swallowed the slain blood afterwards,
the life-sweat of men,* after the slaughtering blow. (975b-87a)

Woe was raised, the progeny of grief. From that sprig
has grown evil-minded and terrible fruit ever since
for such a long time. They have extended broadly
throughout the tribes of men, the branches of crime,
the sorrowing stems touching harsh and sore the sons
of the multitudes— and they still do—
from the broad leaves began to sprout every sort of wickedness.
We are able to tell that sobbing, that story, that slaughter-grim event,
not without reason—but that noble woman has scathed us severely
through the very first guilt which against the Maker
men have ever performed, the earth-dwellers,
after Adam was increased in spirit by the mouth of God. (987b-1001)

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