Sunday, July 22, 2012

Metres IV

This one gave me a lot of trouble -- and without a previous translation from which to get a second opinion, I really had to blaze my own trail through here. Won't be the last time, I'm sure.

Let me know what you think, and if it seems that I'm really heading off in the wrong direction.


O, you the shaper of the stars that shine,
the heavens and the earth. You on your lofty throne
reign for eternity, and you swiftly
orbit the whole universe, and through your holy power
compel the stars to obey you.
The sun is likewise quenched by the shadows
of the dark night through your might.

The glowing stars with their pure light
govern the moon through your magnificence,
while sometimes the sun is deprived
of her own bright illumination, when it can be hidden
and when it is sufficient by necessity.

Likewise the greatest morning-star,
which we also call the Even-star, obeys
that call, when you compel him to attend
to the journey of the sun—every year
he must come before his companion.

Listen Father, you transform
the summer-long days so warm
into winter-days wondrously short
and determine their time.
You give the trees all their leaves,
which, in the south and the west,
the north and the east, that black storm
had earlier seized by its hateful wind.

And lo! all creation hears your command,
and performs it on earth just as in the heavens,
with all their heart and ability,
all except for humanity alone,
who very often works against your will.

Alas! you are the Eternal and the Almighty,
the Shaper and the Director of all creation —
your arms are a mercy, the seeds of the earth
are mankind, all through your magnificence.

Why then, God Eternal, would you ever wish
that fortune should turn upon your desire
toward the evils of all men so prevalent?
She very often injures the innocent.

Wicked men sit throughout the realm of earth
upon high thrones, oppressing the righteous
under their feet. It is unknown to men
why fortune should turn out so perverse.
So these bright skills are hidden
here in this world throughout many cities.

The unrighteous for all time wickedly
possess those things which belongs to them.
Those wiser of right, more worthy of rule—
vain treachery will be theirs for many years,
clothed with trickery. Here in the world
now their wicked oaths are not impaired by men.

If you, Wielder, will not now steer events
but allow them to degrade of your self-will,
then I know that men of the world will know doubt
across the corners of the earth, without one joy.

Alas, my Lord, you who oversee all
the world’s creation, look upon mankind now
with mild eyes, now the multitude here
struggles and strives against the waves of the world,
the miserable citizens of the earth—
be merciful to them now.

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