Sunday, July 17, 2011

Genesis XXIII (& part of XXIV)

Then with a holy voice our Savior spoke to Noah,
the Ward of Heaven’s Realm: “For you is a country-seat
again provided, delight on land, a rest from your ocean-paths,
fair upon the earth. Depart in my peace and go out of the Ark,
and lead your family from this high house into the bosom of the earth
and all your progeny which I saved in a ship from the water-throes
while the ocean held that third homeland and majestically covered it.” (1483-92)

Noah did so and obeyed the Lord, going up over the stream-wall
as the voice commanded him, very joyfully, and lead out then
from that wave-plank the survivors of that wicked race.
Then Noah firm in counsel began to prepare a gift for his savior,
and the wise man quickly took a part of all his possessions,
which the Lord had given to him for his prosperity, as a sacrifice,
and to God himself, the King of Angels, the bright-minded hero
made his offering. Indeed our Savior made it known,
when he blessed Noah and his children together,
that he had given that sacrifice thankfully and that he had
merited it by his good deeds in his youth. Then the Almighty God
was gracious to him of all his favors, powerful of his prosperity.
Once again the Lord, the Prince of Glory said a word unto Noah: (1493-1511)

“Now multiply and be fruitful, enjoy the glory
amid the peace of joy. Fill the earth. Increase all things.
Into your power is given the country-seat and the seas’s burden
and the heaven-fowl and the wild beasts, the all-greening earth
and the abundant cattle. Never eat the food of your table
with blood, shamefully polluted with sin’s soul-blood.
Each one deprives himself of the glories of the soul who first
destroys the life of another with the point of a spear. Nor needs he
by that repayment to rejoice in his mind-counsel, but I will declare
that man’s soul as a slayer and a brother-killer very loudly
after that bloodshed, a slaying of man with weapons is effected,
a deadly sin with his hands. Man was first shaped to God’s likeness. (1512-29)

“Everyone has the form of the Maker and the angels who would
keep these blessed customs. Prosper and grow, enjoy your
desires, honor upon the earth. Nobly fill the corners of the earth
with your descendants, line and stock. I shall give to you my pledge,
that I will never bring the watery armies back to middle-earth,
waters over the wide-lands. You can be shown a readable sign
very often in the sky, when I reveal my shower-bow, that I will fulfill
my promise to men, so long as the world stands.” (1530-42)

Then the wise son of Lamech came forth from the vessel
from the tracks of the flood with his three sons, the keepers
of his heritage (and their four wives: they were named Percoba,
Olla, Olliva, and Ollivani),* pledge-fast to the Maker,
survivor of the waters. The mind-brave heroes were called,
the sons of Noah: Shem and Ham and Japheth the third.
From these warriors grew the people and all middle-earth
became filled with the sons of men. (1543-54)


Then with a renewed voice Noah began with his near-kin
to establish a home and till the earth for his food, dark
and done over, setting up a vineyard and sowing many seeds,
eagerly seeking the beautiful blossoms they brought to him,
the year-bright gift, the green earth. (1555-61)

Then it came to pass that the blessed man in his home,
drunk upon wine, sleeping feast-weary, and his clothing
was moved from his body. It was not so appropriate,
lying there limb-naked. He hardly noticed what had
so miserably happened to him in his house, when in his heart
a head-swimming had seized his thought in that holy house.
Strongly in his sleep his mind narrowed so that he could not,
dazed in his mind, cover himself with his garment by his own hands
and hide his shame, as the genitals were for men and women,
since the servant of glory, our father and mother were locked out
of our homeland, with a fiery sword behind them. (1562-76)

Then came Ham first, moving inside, the son of Noah,
where his lord lay, deprived of his wits. There he did not wish
to observe so familiarly the honor of his own father,
nor truly to conceal the shame of his close kin, but he laughing
said to his brothers, how the man rested himself in his hall.
Then they stepped to him at once, their faces skillfully covered
in their cloaks, so that they, dear men, could provide help.
They were both good men, Shem and Japheth. When he started
from sleep, the son of Lamech, and then immediately understood
that Ham did not wish to show him, the noble man,
any favor or troth for him in his need. For that, the holy man
was sore in his heart, he began to curse wordfully his own child,
saying that Ham must be miserable under the sky,
the servant of his own near-kin on earth. And this curse
has harmed him and his descendants terribly. (1577-97)

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