Friday, April 20, 2012

More Exodus

Still going forward slowly. I'm writing an article on material objects in Beowulf that's been taking most of my free time, so the translation has been dribbling out until the summer brings more free time.


There in their masses, a fearful message was come,
pursuit from inland. Fright stood tall, slaughter-terror of the army.
The exile expected the hateful pursuer, who had long before
assigned them homeless oppression, woe affixed in torments.
They reckoned not the pledges, although before their king of old… (135-141)


Then one became the keeper of the patrimony for his people,
for the men after their treasures, so that he received so much.
The kindred of Egypt forgot all of this after they became cruel
without hesitation. So then they made murder upon his kin-friends,
brought about crimes, devouring their compacts.
There were battle-waves banded about their hearts,
the strong-minded men. With evil troth they wished to repay
life’s reward with wickedness, so that they would purchase
their day’s work with blood, with the people of Moses,
wherever Mighty God had given them success on that fatal journey. (142-53)

Then the heart of the earls became distrusting of them
after they had seen the horde of Pharaoh moving forth
from the south-ways, carrying boar-spears, their cavalry shining—
their pikes arrayed, approaching battle, the cover of their shields
shining, their trumpets singing—their standards were raised,
treading the borders of their tribe up to the whale[-road ...] (154-61)

The battle-birds screamed out, greedy for carnage, dewy-feathered
over the fallen soldiers, the dark ravens. Wolves sang
a terrible evening-song, hopeful for food, the reckless beasts,
awaiting scavenger-brave the fall of the people’s power
on that hateful trail. The border-guards screamed out in the middle
of the night, their fated spirit flew: the people were troubled. (162-69)

Sometimes from that army proud thanes cross the mile-paths
upon the backs of their horses. There in front of the border-army
the banner-king, the prince of men rode against the banners.
The battle-warden of men fastened his grim helmet,
the king clasped his chin-guard, his standard shining,
in the hopes for war, rattling his slaughter-links,
and ordering his vanguard to eagerly hold his troopers fast.
His allies witnessed with hateful eyes the coming of the land-men.
About Pharaoh warriors unafraid moved, grey killing-wolves
seeking warfare, thirsty for violence and the lord-faithful. (170-82)

He had chosen from the multitude of people two thousand
of the glory-blessed for himself, so that there were kings
and their kinsmen, in the customs of that common wealth,
dear to the noblemen. Therefore each led out all of his male
warriors of which he could find in that space of time. (183-89)

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