Monday, July 23, 2012

Metres I finally

Here is the lengthy preamble, which introduces the situation of the Metres of Boethius.


It was long ago that the eastern Goths
led their shields from Scythia,
hurrying in a horde, into many settled lands,
setting out southward, two victorious peoples—
the realm of the Goths grew year by year.
They had two kings of their own kind,
Raedgod and Alaric. Their rule prospered.
Then many Goths horded over the Alps,
full of boasting, yearning for war
and the struggles between peoples.
Their banners waved, bright upon the bole.
Their warriors thought to overcome
all of Italy and its shielded soldiers.

They so endured even from the Alps
unto the noted shores where Sicily,
a great island in the sea-currents,
makes her illustrious homeland.

Then was won the realm of the Romans,
the choicest of cities broken apart.
Rome was opened by the battle-warriors.
Raedgod and Alaric went into the fortress.
The Caesar fled with his nobles into Greece.

Nor could the survivors resist them by warfare,
the Goths with battle. The home-guards gave up
unwillingly the treasures of their elders
and holy oaths. There was woe everywhere.
Although the pride of warriors was with the Greeks,
if they dared to follow the people’s chieftains.
He stood for a time among that nation.

The people were conquered
for many winters, until events decreed
that the thanes and earls must obey Theodoric.
There was the chieftain dedicated to Christ,
the king himself took on the custom of baptism.
Every child of Rome rejoiced
and swiftly begged for peace from him.

Theodoric firmly commanded that
they should continue to enjoy
all of their ancient rights
in that wealthy city,
so long as God would allow him
to possess power over the Goths.
But he deceived them all.

The heresy of Arrian was preferable
to that nobleman than the Lord’s law.
He ordered that John, the good pope,
would have his head chopped off—
that was not a noble deed.
There were countless other evils
that the Goth performed
against all of the good people.

Then there was a certain wealthy man
in the city of Rome, elevated to consul,
and dear to his lord while
the Greeks held the throne.
That man was righteous; there was not
among the Rome-dwellers
a more generous giver of treasure
for long afterwards.

He was wise in the world, eager for honor,
a man learned in books, Boethius
was he called, who received much fame.
The evil and disgrace revealed by foreign kings
was very much in his memory, at all times.
He was faithful to the Greeks,
remembering the honor and ancient rights
that his ancestors long possessed among them,
the affection and the favor.

He pondered only one desperate desire,
how to convince the Greeks to invade
so that the Caesar would be allowed
to possess power again over the Romans.

He secretly sent a message to his old masters,
and begged them for their former troth to their lord
to come into the city soon, and allow the Greek counselors
to advise the Rome-dwellers, and to allow
the country to enjoy their rights.

When Theodoric Amuling perceived that instruction,
he seized his thegn, ordering that
the nation’s nobles keep fast their consul.
His mind was turbulent, terrified
of that earl. He ordered him to be
locked within a prison cell.

Then was the understanding of Boethius
greatly troubled. He had enjoyed long before
his pride beneath the sky.
He could suffer worse at that time,
when things became difficult.

Then the nobleman grew to despair,
he could not turn towards his former favor
nor could remember the comforts in that fastness,
but he fell upon the floor, stretched out and prostrate,
beneath the hillside, ands spoke many words,
severely despairing.

Nor did he ever turn from there
or come out of his chains.
He called out to the Lord
in voice more miserable,
and sang out in this manner:

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