Sunday, May 13, 2012

Exodus finit

Here is the last section of Exodus finally. Happy MOther's Day!


The folk were affrighted, the flood-terror descended
upon their sorrowful souls; the ocean threatened death.
The mountainous slopes were steaming with blood,
the sea spewed gore, a tumult was in the waves,
the water full of weapons, a slaughtering fume arising.
The Egyptians were soon turned back, flying fearful,
experiencing terror, wishing cravenly to find home again,
their boasts became less boastful. Against them it grew dark.
the surging rolls terrible, nor would any of the army there
return home, but bad fortune clasped them in from behind
with waves. Where before the ways were laid out,
the sea raged and the battalions were drenched.
The currents stood up, a storm mounted up
high to the heavens, the greatest army-cry. (447-61)

The hateful ones cried out, the breeze blew darkly
with the fated voices, the waters churned with blood.
The shield-walls were broken, the skies lashed
the greatest of sea-deaths, killing the prideful,
the kings in their assembly, their clamor decreased
at the end of the sea. War-boards glittered
high over the heroes, the ocean-wall rose,
a proud sea-stream. The army was firmly fastened in death,
the way of the vanguard cruelly bound, the sand awaited
the ordained events, when the course of waves,
the ever-cold sea accustomed to veering their direction,
the naked bringer of doom came to seek out the everlasting
foundations with its salty surgings, the mottled spirit of war
who had overwhelmed its enemies. (462-76)

The blue sky was blended with gore, the bursting sea
menaced with blood-terror, the course of the sea-farers,
until the True Measurer manifested his mind
through Moses’ mindful hand. It hunted widely,
rushing with its slaughtering embrace.
The floodwaters seethed, the fated fell down dead.
The sea fell down upon the land, the breeze was churning,
the ramparts were giving way, the waves bursting,
the sea-towers melting away, when the Mighty,
the Warden of Heaven’s Kingdom with his holy hand
of the pledge-pillar, struck down upon the proud nation.
Nor could they restrain the path of the helpers,
the mind of the sea-currents, but he destroyed many of them
with shrieking horror. The spear-waves raged,
they drew themselves up, gliding on. The terrors stood
the deadly bands boiled. The hand-work of God
fell upon the battle-path, high from heaven,
the foamy-bosomed flood-guard struck the unsheltering wave
with his ancient sword so with that death-blow
the army was killed, the sinful companies. (477-97a)

They were parted from their souls, surrounded and transfixed,
the flood-blanched host after they had bowed
to the sea’s expanse, the greatest of the moody waves.
Their power perished entirely when the army of Egypt
was drowned, the Pharaoh with his people. He swiftly
discovered, after the adversary of God reached the bottom,
that the Warden of the Sea-Floods was more mighty;
that he wished to decide the battle with gory embracings,
angry and terror-filled. For the Egyptians it happened
that the retribution of that day’s work was too deep,
because none of that whole measureless army
came home again as survivors, who would be
allowed to tell the tale of their final journey,
and announce the worst of news through the cities,
the death of the hoard-watchers, to those heroes’ women,
but a sea-death had swallowed up those mighty troops,
and their heralds as well. He who owned the victory
poured forth those men’s boasting. They had struggled against God! (497b-515)

Then he spoke to the Israelites an everlasting counsel
and a deep message on the seashore, Moses that illustrious man,
with holy speech. This day’s work is related,
as people still find in the scriptures, to each of the ordinances,
that the Lord had commanded them to do upon their journey
in the truest words, if the interpreter of life wishes to unlock,
bright in the breast the guardian of the bone-house
that plenty of good with the keys of the spirit. (516-25)

The mystery is explained and wisdom shall go forth:
it keeps wise words in its embrace and earnestly wishes
to teach our minds so that we may not be deprived
the partnership with God, the mercy of the Measurer.
He may grant us more now that scholars can speak
of better, more long-lasting life-pleasures. Here is a borrowed joy,
corrupted by sins, granted only to exiles, the hope of wretches.
Homeless and sorrowing we hold a hall of visitors,
mourning in our minds, knowing this wicked house
firmly under the earth where is fire and the worm,
a grave perpetually open of every evil, so now
reigning thieves dole out their power, age or an early death.
The Final Judgment is coming, the greatest majesty over middle-earth,
a day flecked with deeds. The Lord Himself shall judge many
in that place of meeting when he conducts the soothfast souls,
the blessed spirits into the heights of heaven where is light and life,
as well as the fruits of grace. The multitude in mirth
shall praise the Lord, the Glory-King of Armies, for ever and ever. (526-48)

So spoke the mildest of men, mindful of counsel, mightied by powers,
in a loud voice. The stilled army awaited the will of the ordained—
they recognized the miracle, the healing word of the proud.
Moses spoke to the many: “Great is this multitude,
strong is their leader, the greatest of help who leads this voyage.
He has granted us the folk of Canaan, their cities and treasures,
a broad kingdom. He wishes now to accomplish what he promised
us long ago with an oath-swearing, the Lord of Angels,
in the days of yore, to the kindred of our forefathers
if you will hold fast to the holy teachings
so that you will overwhelm every one of your enemies,
occupying that victorious realm between the two seas,
the beer-halls of warriors. Your profit shall be great!” (549-64)

After these words the army was elated, their victory-trumpets
singing out in a fair voice, their banners standing tall.
The people were on land. A tree of glory had conducted the host,
the holy heaps, into the keeping of God. They rejoiced
when they had been brought away their lives from the power
of their enemies, though they had boldly risked it,
men under the watery roofs. They witnessed there the walls
standing, all the ocean seemed bloody to them, through which
they had borne their battle-gear. They exulted with a war-song,
after they had escaped that army. The battalions heaved with a loud voice,
praising the Lord for those deed-works, men singing of glory,
the women among the others—the greatest folk-band sang
a marching song upon the many wonders in an awed voice. (565-79)

It was then easy to find an African woman on the ocean shore
worthied with gold. Their hands heaving up a necklace,
they were blithe, seeing their reward, possessing the war-booty—
their captivity was broken. The sea-surviving began to dole out
among the tribes on the shore the ancient treasures, spoils and shields.
She divided up the gold and good cloth by rights, Joseph’s riches,
the glory-possessions of men. Their keepers lay in the death-field,
the greatest band of people—