Thursday, July 7, 2011

Genesis A XXI

This section contains a most vexing passage, which if any of you could help me shed some light upon I would be grateful. The passage is lines 1400-1 and it goes like this:

Þam æt niehstan wæs nan to gedale,
nymþe heof wæs ahafen on þa hean lyft,

I have had to add a few things to make it make sense to me (see the translation below). Like I said, if you have a suggestion for how to translate it more effectively, let me know!


Then our Savior spoke to Noah: “I will give you,
dearest of men, my pledge, that you will take up a way
and this vessel of life shall carry you across the deep water
many a day-count in the bosom of this ship.
Bring forth, so I order you, under the decks of the Ark your sons,
first-spears three, and your four wives. And take seven
into that sea-house told by count of every creature which
exists as meat for men, and two of all the rest.
Likewise bring all the fruits of the earth as food
under the wave-boards for your people, who
must survive with you upon the sea-flood.
Feed them freely, the progeny of living things
until I wish to make abundant under the heavens
food for the survivors of the water-journeys again. (1327-44)

“Go forth now with your family, go into that house
with the host of living things. I know you are good, fast-minded;
you are worthy of my protection, of favor with your sons.
I will let fall in my face now over seven nights
a slaughtering rain down upon the broad earth.
For forty days I will avenge my feud upon men
and with an army of waves I will destroy possession
and possessor alike which are outside the boards of the Ark
when the dark stormclouds begin to gather.” (1345-55)

And then Noah went, just as his Savior commanded,
leading his sons under the deck of the Ark, men
on the wave-plank and their wives as well and all
that the Lord Almighty wished to have as offspring
to their food-giver under the roof of the journey-ship*
just as the Almighty Lord of Hosts ordered by his word.
At his heels, the Warden of Heaven’s Realm locked up
the mouth of the sea-house with his own hands,
the Wielder of Victories, and blessed those within the Ark
with his own power, our Savior. (1356-67a)

Noah, the son of Lamech, was six hundred winters old
when he with his sons went down under the deck,
wise with his children, by the order of God, precious to the multitude.
The Lord sent rain from the heavens and allowed likewise
a welling gush to press upon the roomy world from every spring,
dark water-streams rushed. The seas rose up over the sea-cliffs.
Strong and fierce was he who controlled the waters.
The children of the wicked feud, of middle-earth were covered
and concealed by the black waves, the homelands of men.
The house of earth was harried, the Maker avenged
the willful crimes upon mankind. The strong sea grabbed
onto the fated folk for forty days, and forty nights as well.
The hate was ferocious, slaughter-cruel towards men.
The waves of the Glory-King drove out the spirits
of the dishonored from their flesh-homes.
The Flood covered them all, the high mountains stormy
under the heavens throughout the wide earth and heaved up
onto the seas the Ark from the ground and with it the nobles.
Then the Lord himself signified, our Shaper,
when he had closed up that ship. (1367b-91)

Afterwards the best of houses floated widely under the sky
over the ring of the waves, faring with its cargo.
The terrors were allowed to touch the wave-sailors
of the water in their ship violently, but the Holy God
carried them and preserved them. The drench-flood stood
fifteen man-cubits deep over the mountains. That is a well-known event!
Finally there was nothing of that death for them
except lamentation lifted up on the high breeze*
when the watery host wasted all the stock of the earth,
except what the decks of the Ark held up by the Lord of Heaven,
when God, holy and eternal, allowed the obedient flood
to mount up in streams, the stiff-minded King. (1392-1406)

No comments: