Monday, September 5, 2011

Genesis XXVIIb

So it was a short one and fell out quickly...


They dwelled in their camps, having plenty of good things,
Abraham and Lot. They passed around prosperity,
until they in that land could not enjoy its fruits
for long together nor keep both their possessions there,
but their men must, honor-fast, seek then for a more roomy realm
elsewhere. Often there were injuries of pledge-fast men
in bands, on both sides in stern harm-play. (1890-98a)

Then the sainted man began, mindful of his honor, Abraham
spoke fairly to Lot: “I am blood relation to your father,
and you are my nephew. There must not be strife growing
betwixt us, an increase of enmity—God does not will it!
Yet we are kin. There must not be anything common to us
otherwise, except a long-lasting love so perfect. Now Lot
consider that mindful men are seated about our borders,
a people glory-fast with their servants and kinsmen
the folk of the Canaanites and the Perizzites, and their bold warriors.
They do not desire for us a wider claim to their lands.
Therefore we must take this hostility from this place, and seek
for ourselves a more roomy establishing-ground. I speak counsel,
son of Harran, for us both, and say the truth. I myself offer you
a choice, dear man. Consider your self and examine your heart
in any direction you wish to take course, take yourself
with your cows, now as I command you choose.” (1898b-1919)

Then Lot departed, looking at the land by the Jordan,
the green earth. It was cooled by waters and covered by blossoms,*
watered by river-streams, and like the Paradise of God,
until the Savior God gave dark flames in surges to Sodom
and Gomorrah for the sins of men. Then he chose his country
and native-seat, the son of Harran in the city of Sodom.
All his possession he led there, bracelets from Bethel
and a wealth of household goods and wound gold.
He lived afterwards by the Jordan for many years.
There were favorless men in that fair folk-stead,
hateful to the Measurer. (1920-34)

They were the kin of the Sodomites, crazed by their sins,
led astray by their deeds. They busied themselves in perpetual harm.
Lot never wished to take up the people’s customs
but he flew from the man-habits of that tribe, their evil and sin,
and held himself to the fair, virtuous and patient in that nation,
just as if, mindful of his teachings, he knew not what these people did. (1935-44)

Abraham dwelled thenceforth in the homeland of the Canaanites.
The King of Angels, the Measurer of Mankind held forth
his protecting hand for him, for the fruiting of good things
and world glory, for his love and his mildness. Therefore
he said his praise wide under the skies, for his generation of men,
the children of the covenant.* He obeyed the Lord for his grace
on the ground so long as he enjoyed the earth, holy and heart-wise.
— Never will anyone bearing his spirit, lacking protection,
become fearful and terrified at anything before his Measurer,
who wishes to serve him always through the strength of his memory
in mind and deed, word and wit, wisely by thought, until his life-parting. (1945-59)

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