Friday, June 17, 2011

Genesis A XVII

Then by word the Lord of Glory asked Cain
where on earth Abel was. Then that worthless wright
of killing at once answered him after that:
“I do not know Abel’s start nor his path, my kinsman’s journey,
nor am I my brother’s warden.” (1002-08a)

Then the Virtuous Spirit, the King of Angels, spoke against him:
“Lo! You have struck down your brother with your own
wrathful hands, the pledge-worthy warrior into his slaughter-bed,
and his blood cries out and calls out to me!
You shall suffer for this murder and turn towards exile,
accursed unto the breadth of life. The earth shall not give you
its lovely fruits for your worldly-use, but she will swallow
the blessed blood of the slain from your own hands.
Therefore she shall deny you her favor, the glow of the green earth!
You shall go forth sorrowful, without honor from your home,
just as you did to Abel as a soul-slaying. Therefore you
shall travel the far-path of the exile, hateful to your dear kinsmen.” (1008b-21)

Then quickly Cain answered him: “I need not hope for any mercy
in this worldly realm, but I have given up, Heaven’s High-King,
your grace, your peace and your love; therefore I shall travel
widely the paths of woe in expectation of when he should meet me,
the sin-guilty, who will be reminded of the feud of brother-killing,
whether far or near. I have poured out his blood, gore upon the earth.
Today you have deprived me of prosperity and driven me
from my own country. A certain more wrathful man will become
my life-killer. I must be accursed, turned from your sight.” (1022-35)

Then to him the Lord of Victories himself answered:
“You need not yet dread the terror of death, a soul-killing,
though you may be obliged to wander guilty, far from your free kin.
If any man deprives you of life with his hands,
upon him will come after that sin vengeance sevenfold,
punishment after the deed.” (1036-43a)

The Wielder, the Glory-Fast Maker, set a sign upon Cain,
a warding-mark of the Lord, lest any enemies dared
attack him with warlike violence, far or near.
Then he ordered that he, sin-guilty, turn from mother and kin,
his own family. Cain then departed, going sad-minded
from the sight of God, a friendless wretch, and choose for himself
then a dwelling in the east-lands, a home-land far from his father-yards,
where a beautiful woman, a lady after her kind begat him children. (1043b-54)

The eldest was called Enoch, the first-born of Cain.
Afterwards he began to build a stronghold, a city
with his brothers;* that was the first of all the walled-fortresses
under the heavens that the sword-bearers ordered to be built.
From then his first son was born, a child from woman,
in that city-stead. The eldest was named Irad, the son of Enoch.
Afterwards were born those who increased the progeny
of the family, the kindred of Cain. Mehujael was the guardian
of their inheritance after Irad, the patriarch after him,
until he fared forth. After Mathushael doled out the treasures
of the nobles to his kinsmen, to his own brothers,
child after child, until the life-parting, old with the passing days,
must do, must give up his life. In his day Lamech received
the household property, the family treasures after his father.
His two wives gave birth to his sons, women in his homeland,
Adah and Zillah. The name of one of these was Jubal,
who, first of those living here on earth, the son of Lamech,
with his own hands awakened the voice of the harp,
making music, through his wise thought. (1055-81)

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