Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cleaning house

The Blogspot pages for the individual poems (except the Metres of Boethius) have been taken offline, so if you had any bookmarked, you'll need to find their new location through the sidebar (at the right) and update them.

Also I received some encouraging news which could possibly turn into some good news (nothing I can really share yet--but stay tuned).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another status update

The main poems of the ASNPP have all been moved over to Rutgers webspace (poor, inadequate Metres of Boethius...). Now there is a snazzy new theme for the pages there, and the work of revising the poems is underway (The Phoenix is next upon the block). The links at the right are all updated to get you to the right pages. Comments will continue to be available through this page, or addressed to my Rutgers email directly (address is on the main page).

I am much happier with the look of the poems in their new home, and the process of moving has been good for inspiring the great deal of pruning and re-evaluation that has needed to be done since the poems' first posting over the years. Happy days!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Another update

Genesis A&B and Christ and Satan have been moved to the new Rutgers site. They will be corrected and updated soon--there are some discrepancies in reading between the ASPR and Doane's editions that are holding me up from getting Genesis revised. As soon as I can get my hands on Doane's two books, I will get started.

C&S probably will be revised this weekend.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Further updates

Please follow the links at the sidebar for updated versions of Guthlac A & B, as well as Daniel (now corrected too), Christ III, and St. Christopher. Coming soon, a new theme and appearance for the poems so they don't look so temporary.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Progress on the move

An update on the move.

Andreas, Juliana, and Christ I & II are now live on the new pages. The texts there have been thoroughly proofread, corrected, and updated, so if you're looking for the latest version of these translations, check there. The links on the sidebar for the individual texts have been updated to send you to the proper site.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Location for the ASNPP

The Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry Project translations are in the process of being transferred to their new home:


Please be patient as I get everything moved over and reformatted, which will take a while to get just right.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Christ III finit

Here are the final few lines of the Final Judgment. They need work, and will improve over time, but the first draft is fully online.

Whatever am I going to do with myself? There's only Judith left to do among the narrative poems, and after that just a hell of a lot of revision and editing to do.

Information on the ASNPP poems' new location will be coming soon, in the next few weeks.


He will be wretched who wishes to commit crimes.
so that the guilty man must be separated from his Shaper
at the Day of Judgment, downwards into death,
under the kindred of hell in that hot fire, within a prison of flame,
where they will stretch out their limbs for the binding
and the burning and the scourging in torment for their sins.
Then the Holy Spirit with lock down hell, the greatest
murder-house through the might of God,
filled with fire and an army of demons at the word of the King. (1615b-26a)

That will be the greatest killing for devils and men!
That is a joyless house, where none can ever loose
their cold chains. They broke the commands of the King,
the bright words of Scripture—therefore they must abide
in everlasting night, a sorrow without end, stained
by criminal deeds, suffering forever, those that
despised the majesty of the Heavenly Realm. (1626b-33)

Then the chosen will bear before Christ their bright treasures.
Their glory will endure at Doomsday, keeping their joy
of a mild life with God, which will be permitted
to all of the holy in the realm of heaven.
That is the homeland that will never be completed,
but there the sinless will ever from now
ward over the happiness, loving the Lord,
the Beloved Warden of Life, wound up in light,
wrapped up in peace, parted from sorrows,
magnified in pleasures, made dear to the Lord.
Forever and always they will brook with bliss
the camaraderie of the angels, bright with mildness,
and love the Guardian of the People. The Father
will hold power over all and maintain the multitude of the holy. (1634-48)

Where there is the singing of angels, bliss of the blessed—
there is the precious countenance of the Lord, lighter
than the sun to every one of the overjoyed.
There is the love of beloved, and life without death’s end,
a happy multitude of humans, youth without age,
the majesty of the heavenly host, health without pain,
for the right-performing, rest without struggle,
for the doom-blessed, day without darkness,
brightness full of splendor, bliss without sorrow,
peace between friends from now on without envy,
for the blessed in the skies, love without malice
in the company of the holy. There will be neither
hunger nor thirst, neither sleep nor dull bed,
nor the burning of the sun, neither chill nor care,
but instead there the company of the blessed will always
enjoy the grace of the King, the most shining hosts
the glory amid the Lord. (1649-64)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Closing in on Christ III

He shall swing the victory-blade with his right hand
so that into the deep dale the devils shall fall
into the darksome flame, a host of the sinful
under the lap of the earth, the fated ghasts
into that stead of the wrathful, a shoal of the stained,
the ruin of the accursed in that house of suffering,
the death-hall of demons. None of them will seek
the Lord’s memory afterwards, nor will they break
from their sin where they are stained with crimes,
bound up in flame, enduring death. The penalty for sin
shall be manifestly present—that is an eternal death. (1530-40)

Nor can the hot portion burn away the sins
from the kindred of the damned in eternity,
to the width of life, the stain from their souls
but there the deep, bottomless pit shall be fed
and fostered by the dreary spirits in the shadows,
and it will kindle them with an olden flame, and with the terrible frost,
and with angry worms and with torments innumerable,
and with fearsome deadly jaws, it shall destroy these people. (1541-48)

We can appreciate this and pronounce at once
speaking the truth, that he has lost the Warden of Souls,
the Wisdom of Life, he who cares not now whether
his soul be wretched or blessed, where he must
eternally be home-fixed after its hence-going.
Nor is he anxious about committing a sin,
this fool-headed man, nor does he have any regret at all
in his heart that the Holy Spirit is lost to him
through his crimes in this loaned time. (1549-58)

Then the evil-doer will stand, fearful before the Lord,
darkened at his doom, and guilty to death,
cursed for his stains—the pledge-breaker
will be filled with fire. Unworthy of life,
menaced with terror, in the presence of God
pale and without beauty, he has the hue of the damned,
the living symbol of evil. Then the children of crimes
will shed their tears and cry out for their sins—
when the time for that is no more—
yet they do their spirits aid too late,
after the Wielder of Multitudes no longer
wishes to be concerned how these sin-scathers
grieve sorely their formerly treasured possessions
in that patent hour. That hour of suffering
is not granted to those people so that they might
locate their leechdom there, who does not wish
to obtain the cure for their health now
so long as they are living here. (1559-74)

There will be no sorrow shown there by any good man,
in no evil man well-being, but everyone present there
will be weighed according to their singular desert.
Therefore he must hurry, who wishes to own
life before the Lord, while light and soul
are seen together in him. Let him attend eagerly
to the appearance of his soul in the desire of God,
and be aware of his words and deeds,
practices and thoughts, so long as thus world,
hurrying through the shadows, is allowed to shine for him,
so that he does not lose it in this loaned time,
his joyous profit and the count of his days,
and the beauty of his works and the reward of glory
that the Heaven-King in that holy hour,
truth-fast, will grant as the recompense of victory
to those who have assiduously obeyed him in their souls. (1575-90)

Then heaven and hell will be filled
with the children of men, the souls of humankind.
The bottom shall swallow up the enemies of God,
the flickering flame shall torment hate-minded men,
the greatest scathers, and will never let them
go from there into joy as a soul-saving,
yet the burning shall bind them into a fixed mob,
torturing the children of crime. Wicked it seems to me
that these soul-bearing men did not wish to care for
in their hearts, when they performed evil acts,
what the Sovereign had established as an punishment
for that hateful people. Then life and death shall swill down souls. (1591-1603a)

The house of torturing shall be opened and revealed
against the oath-breakers; crime-eager men must fill it
with their swart souls. Then as punishment for sins,
the school of the guilty shall become separated,
the humiliated from the holy, in that harmful inferno.
There thieves and mighty offenders, liars and rapists
must never expect life, and ill-swearers shall observe
the deserts of their crime, harsh and deadly fierce.
Then hell shall pluck the pledge-less pack
the Wielder shall grant them guilty to the fiends—
they shall suffer a deadly bale, stained and terrifying. (1603b-15a)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Plans/the future for the ASNPP

Hello all, So things are changing quickly around here.

First up, is that a relocation is coming up soon. Rutgers is providing webspace and a Wordpress interface for my translation work, so things will be shifting over there in the next few months. I'll keep you posted on the URL when I get started on the transition, but this site will be live for a while until all the poems are moved over.

Secondly, the book proposals for the ASNPP translations are drafted and will be ready to send out in the next few months. What that means for the status of the poems which will be included in the two volumes I proposed is uncertain. Certainly if either of the proposals are accepted, then the press will probably prefer that the online versions of those poems be taken down. This is a long-term change, so I wouldn't expect anything to move there for the next year or so.

The process of putting the proposals together has only proven to me that there is merit in the project, and that the final steps of revision of the poems will finally push them into the place where they should be. I'm excited to see where these creations will turn, and somewhat in awe of the challenge that converting these blog entries into books will present.

Almost done with Christ III!

Just one more section of the Final Judgment to go, about 135 lines left. Whew! Won't this world end already?


“For what reason did you besmirch uncleanly
with wicked lusts and foul sins that tabernacle,
that beloved house that I hallowed inside you as my joy?
Why did you sully with shame by sin-working
the body-home which I released for myself
from the embrace of enemies, and forbad it crime?
For what reason do you hang me more heavily
with your hands upon the cross than you once hanged me?
Listen! This seems more severe to me! (1480-88)

“Now it is more grievous to me, the cross of your sins,
which I am unwillingly affixed upon, than the other was
which I once ascended, of my own desire—
when your woe most forpined me at heart,
then I tugged you out from hell, provided that
you would afterwards keep yourself out—
I was a beggar in this world so that you would have plenty in heaven.
I was miserable in your homeland so that you would be blessed in mine.
For these things you knew not any thanks in your heart to your Savior. (1489-98)

“I entrusted you to cheer my brothers well
in this worldly realm with the plenty that I gave
to you on this earth, to help the destitute.
You have followed that feebly, forbidding
the needy from being allowed to come inside
under your roof, and you drew away every bit
through the hardness of your heart, of garment
from the naked, or food from the meatless.
Although in my name they begged for water,
for themselves, weary and poor in health,
tormented for a drink, without means,
eaten up with thirst, you boldly withdrew it from them.
You did not seek out the suffering, or one sweet word
did you speak to them in comfort, so that they might
take up a state of mind more free. All those things you did to me,
as an injury to the Heaven-King. For that you must suffer
severely torment forever, enduring an exile among devils.” (1499-1514)

Then over all those there, a terrifying sentence
filled with pain, the Warden of Victories himself,
will pronounce forth over that fated folk,
saying unto that horde of sinful souls:
“Begone now, accursed, shorn by your will
from the pleasures of angels, into the eternal fire
that was made ready for Satan and his siblings,
for the Devil and his dark school, hot and fearsome.
In that terrible place you must tumble!” (1515-23)

They will not be able to ignore the command
of the Heaven-King then, deprived of their powers.
They must fall quickly into the grim ground,
those who struggled before against God.
The guard of the realm will be savage then and mighty,
wrathful and terrifying. Nor can any enemy
abide, present on these earthly ways. (1524-29)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Final Judgment XVI, pt. 1

“It was not for pride, but I endured in my youth
misery and merciless body-pain, so that through it
I would be more like you, and you could become
more like my image, separated from evil.
And for the love of humankind my head suffered
harmful blows, my cheek and face often endured
the spit spat from the mouths of pitiless wicked-doers.
Likewise they blended together for me
a bitter drink, unsweet, of vinegar and gall.
Then before the people I received the malice of my foes,
they persecuted me with sins, they recked not of their feud,
and they beat me with scourges. All that pain I suffered for you
with a humble mind, the scorn and the sharp words.
Then they ringed my head about with a hard, sharp wreath,
cruelly they crammed it on—it was wrought of thorns.
Then I was hanged upon a lofty tree, fixed upon the rood.
Next they poured out blood from my side with a sharpened spear,
gore upon the ground, so that you may be delivered
from the constraining power of the devil.
Then I, without sin, suffered torment and evil affliction,
until alone I gave up my living soul from my body-home. (1428-53)

“Now see these mortal wounds that you inflicted before
into my hands and my feet just the same, through them
I hung, severely fastened—you can see here, manifest to this day,
in my side this bloody wound. How there was
an uneven account made between us there!
I took on your agony so that you would be allowed
to enjoy my native realm, blessed and prosperous.
And in my death I dearly purchased you enduring life
so that you would be allowed to abide afterwards,
free from blemish, and beautiful in that light.
My flesh-home lay, engraved into the earth,
hidden down below in burial, that which never harmed a soul,
so that you would be able to exist upwards,
brightly in the heavens, mighty among the angels. (1454-68)

“For what reason did you abandon that shining life
that I bargained for faithfully and lovingly with my own body,
downcast as a help to you? Why did you become
so bereft of sense that you knew no thankfulness
to the Wielder for your redemption?
I shall ask nothing for my bitter death
which I suffered for you, but repay me your life,
because I once gave you mine in ransom
through brutal torment. I remand your life
which you have criminally killed off
with wicked deeds, much to your own shame. (1469-79)

Christ III, section xv

With the conclusion of Christ III, section xv, we are officially within two sections of completion. Hooray!


“When I had shaped you to be so lovely and made you
so pleasant, and gave to you the prosperity
so that you might command the creatures of the world,
when that I established you upon the fair earth
in order to enjoy Paradise-plain, its radiant fruiting riches,
blazing with blooms, then you wished not to follow
the living word, but you broke my commandments
at the word of your slayer. You heeded further
that criminal fiend, that scathing scather, than to your Shaper. (1386-95)

“Now I shall omit from that olden narrative
how you first conceived of evil and by wicked works
relinquished what I given you to your advantage.
When I had granted you so many good things
and it seemed in your heart too few blessings
in all these things, if you were not allowed to have
plenty of power, even as much as God—
then you were thrown out far away from that joy,
to the delight of devils, now an alien. (1396-1404)

“The beauty of Paradise-plain you had to renounce
by force, sad-minded the homeland of the spirit,
gloomy and miserable, separated from every joy and glory,
and then you were driven out into the dark world,
where afterwards you have suffered mighty toil
a great while, a painful and protracted struggle
and dark death, and after your hence-going,
you must collapse humiliated into hell, without helpers. (1405-13)

“Then I rued that my handiwork should pass
into the power of demons, and the stock of mankind
see a wicked killing, should try out the unknown earth,
a painful journey. Then I came down myself,
a son into its mother, though her maidenhead
stayed entirely whole. I alone was born
as a comfort to the people. I was wound by human hands,
covered up with poor clothing, and laid down in darkness,
wound in dun swaddling. Listen! I endured this for the world’s sake!
I seemed insignificant to the sons of men, lying on the hard stones,
child-young in my crib. By this I meant to distance you from death,
the bale of hot hell, so that you would be allowed to shine holy
and blessed in this eternal life, because I suffered this hardship.” (1414-27)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Final Judgment XV, 1 of 2

Finally broke through the obscurity surrounding the end of my interminable Beowulf paper, and decided to celebrate with little translation and some Charles Kennedy.


Now must we eagerly and wisely penetrate
with our heart-sight the faults within our breast-coffers.
We cannot with those other eyes, the head-gems,
peer into the soul of our inner thoughts by any means,
whether evil or good abodes therein, so that it may please
God in that grim hour, when he over his every host
shines in splendor from his high-throne with the purest flame. (1327-35)

There, before his angels and before these strangers,
he will speak first to the most blessed of all,
and bid them peace lovingly, heaven’s high-king.
With a holy voice he will comfort them fairly
and command his protection over them,
bidding them to venture forth, sound and sign-blessed,
into the homeland of angels’ pleasures,
and enjoy it delightfully to the width of their life. (1336-43)

“Take up now with friends the realm of my father—
that was joyfully made ready for you since before the ages,
the riches among blisses, the brilliant beauty of this homeland,
when you would be allowed to witness that life-weal
among those most dear to you, and your own skyward delights.
You have earned them when you graciously took in
wretched men, those destitute in the world, with a mild soul.
When they in my name begged you, humble-minded,
for favor for themselves, then you helped them
and gave them shelter, bread to hungering, and clothes to the naked,
and those who lay sick in soreness, abased unsoftly,
bound up in disease, you faithfully supported their hearts
with your mind’s love. You did all these things unto me
when you sought them with peace, and strengthened
their spirits with comfort. Because of this you shall
enjoy fairly your rewards long and fairly with my dear ones.” (1344-61)

Then he begins to speak unto the evil, unlike in words,
who will be there upon his left hand, through a terrible threat,
the All-Wielding God. They need not expect the mercy
of the Measurer at that time, neither life nor leniency,
but there will come their recompense to humankind
according to the results of their words and deeds,
the speech-bearing—they must suffer alone
his righteous doom in the fullness of his terror.
There the mighty mercy of the Almighty
shall be separated from the nation-dwellers on that day,
when he charges that fretted folk with their crimes
with hateful words, ordering them to reveal right now
the rectitude of their life that he granted
to them before, the sinning for their happiness. (1362-76a)

He himself shall begin to speak, the Master Almighty,
as if he were speaking to just one, and yet he intends them all,
these crime-sinning people: “Listen! I first wrought you
with my own hands and gave you understanding.
From clay I set down your limbs, and gave you a living spirit,
honoring you above all creation, giving you a face and figure
like to myself. I gave you as well plenty of might,
weal over all the wide lands, though you knew no part
of the woe or the shadow that you must suffer—
and you understand no gratitude for these things. (1376b-85)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Final Judgment, part XIV (2 of 2)

Then his will shall be recognized as different for those others.
They shall be able see too many woes for themselves—
sins enough, the terrible hardships once committed.
There, sorrowing pain will attach itself to them,
a grievous agony on three sides.
One of them is that they will see for themselves
too many miseries and the grim fire of hell
present and ready as torment, from which they must
eternally suffer damnation, struggling in exile.
The second curse upon them is when
in their disgrace for the guilty, that ruined people
shall endure the greatest shame. In them the Lord sees
not at all a few, but their every crime-bales and hateful deeds,
as well as seeing the all-bright host of heavenly angels
and the children of men, every earth-dweller—
and the terrifying devil shall be able to suss out
in their souls with his dark and powerful skill,
right through their body-homes, their every wicked blemish
and their disgraceful faults. Their sinning flesh
shall be transfixed shamefully just like the shining glass,
so that one can scanned entirely with ease.
Then that third sorrow for the needful, the crying care,
will be that they may observe in the pure
how they exult gladly on account of their good deeds,
which they, miserable, once disdained to perform
as their days lasted, and weeping sorely for their deeds,
that they had freely committed unrighteous acts before. (1262-90)

Then they will see the better ones richly glow—
their miseries will not only be a torment to them,
but the bliss of others will be to their sorrow,
because they abandoned such fair joys in the days of old
and such singular ones, through the frivolous delights of the body,
and the empty lusts of their vile flesh-homes.
Ashamed there and shamefully afflicted,
they will stagger about drunkenly, bearing their sinful burden,
their criminal works where the people will see it.
It would have been better for them at that point
that they blushed in shame earlier for their baleful deeds,
every unrighteous act and vile works before any one man
and spoken before God’s messengers that they knew
to their regret of the sin-deeds upon their shoulders.
The shriver may not see through the flesh into their soul,
whether someone is speaking the truth or a lie upon himself,
when he abases his sins then—even though someone
may be healed of every fault, every unclean evil
if he tells it to one person—but no one can conceal it
on that stern day, the stain unabated, where the host will see it. (1291-1311)

Alas! There can we now see these wrathful crimes
in our souls, the wounds of sin, and in the eyes
of our body-houses, the diseased ponderings,
these unclean thoughts! No one can speak to another
how with great vigor anyone would strive after
life and spirit by every art fearfully, to endure longer,
to cleanse the smut of sin and castigate himself,
and heal the wound of that prior fault,
within that brief space that there is in life here,
so that he can, before the eyes of earth-dwellers,
unashamed, brook his abode among mortal men,
free from corruption, so long as body and soul
are allowed to dwell together, two as one. (1312-26)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Christ III, section xiv, part 1

What are they thinking who will not remember
in their wits the mild teachings of the Measurer,
and all the miseries that he endured for the benefit
of mankind, because he wished that we might be allowed
to possess a glorious home for all eternity?
So it will be forlorn for them on that forbidding day
of mighty doom, for them who must, undone by their deadly crimes,
be shown the scars of the Lord, the wounds and the torments.
In their sorry souls they will see the greatest of sorrows,
how the King himself released them from their crimes
with his own body’s house, by the mercy of his mind,
so that they might live on liberated from their wicked works
and possess the eternal fruits of glory. Thanks for this homeland
they knew not to give unto the torments of their Sovereign.
Therefore to punish them, they will see manifest markings there
upon the body of God, unblissful people, when Christ sits
on his majestic throne, his high seat, God of Heaven’s Powers,
the Father Almighty. Unto every one of his peoples
the shining Shaper shall inscribe each of them
by their deeds, according to justice, the Ruler of the Skies. (1199-1220)

Then shall be gathered on the right hand of Christ himself
the pure folk, chosen for their excellence,
those who had earlier followed his teachings
eagerly and with delight in their life-days,
and there the stain-scathers into the worse half
before the Shaper shall be ordained,
ordering them to depart onto his left hand,
the True-King of Victories and the multitude of the sinful.
Judged truly there, they shall weep and quiver
before the fear of the Lord, as foul as goats,
a filthy folk—they should not expect any mercy. (1221-31)

Then shall the judgment of souls be decided before God
upon the generations of humankind, just as they had
previously merited—there will be readily visible to the blessed
three tokens together, because they kept the Lord’s will
well by their words and their works.
The first one manifest there is that they will glisten
with light before their people, splendid and shining
over the houses in the city. Their earlier deeds will sparkle
in every one of them more brightly than the sun.
What’s more, the second is highly visible as well—
that in glory they will know in themselves
the Sovereign’s grace and see it in their eyes joyfully
that they may possess the clear pleasures
of Heaven’s realm, blessed among the angels.
Then the third will be: how, in the bale of darkness,
the blessed multitude shall see the corrupted
suffer pain, as torment for their sins,
the welling flame and the attacks of worms
with bitter jaws, the shoal of the burning. (1232-51)

From these three a winsome joy will grow
when they observe the second part suffer that evil
which they, through the Measurer’s mercy, have been spared.
Then they will thank God all the more eagerly
for both the fruits and blisses that they will see,
that he saved them from the malice-killing
and gave to them eternal pleasures.
Hell will be locked off for them, and heaven’s kingdom
granted them. So must it be exchanged between them—
those who previously kept well the Lord’s will through heart-love. (1253-61)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Christ III.xiii

All this they will be able to see for themselves then,
open and plain to perceive, that for the love of humankind,
of crime-workers, he suffered many things.
The sons of men will be able to understand clearly
how destitute they denied him in their thoughts,
taunting him with harmful words and also spat their spittle
into his face. They spoke their scorn against him
and also struck, the hell-hurrying men, his blessed countenance
with their hands, with fingers outstretched and fist as well—
and about his head bent a harsh and thorny ring,
blind in their thinking, foolish and led astray.
They observed mute creation, the ever-greening earth
and the high-heavens, feel the sufferings of the Lord
fearfully, and mournfully pronounce, though they lived not,
when the harmers seized the Shaper with sinful hands. (1115-32a)

The sun was washed out, smothered with sorrows—
when the folk in Jerusalem were looking up the best
of good weaving that once must be looked upon
as decoration in that holy house—it burst apart from above
and lay upon the earth in two patches. The sails of that temple,
wrought in wondrous hue to beautify that house,
rent itself in two, as if the sharp blade of a dagger
had passed through it. The glistening walls and many stones
burst apart across the earth and upon the ground as well,
wasted in terror, trembling at the sound of the voice,
and the broad sea revealed the power of its skill
and broke its bonds, angry, rising up from the embrace of the earth,
and in their shining orbit, the stars let go of their proper beauty.
In that same moment, the clear heavens understood him
who had loftily established the brightness
in the gems of heaven—therefore he had sent his herald,
when the shining king born first of all creation. (1132b-52a)

Listen as well! Guilty men have seen as a true token,
upon the same day that he suffered, a great miracle,
that the earth gave up those who lay within her.
Living again, they stood up, the ones who had been swallowed
up fast inside her, the buried dead, who kept in their breast
the Lord’s commandment. Hell also understood,
the wreaker of sin, that the Shaper had come,
the Wielding God, when the earth had given up that throng,
its spoils, from its fiery bosom. The hearts of many
were blessed, and sorrows slid away from their souls. (1152b-63a)

Listen as well! The sea revealed who established it
on its broad basin, the glory-mighty king—
therefore it made itself firm to walk upon,
when God wished to go across its waves.
The watery streams dared not submerge the Lord’s feet
in its flood. And the trees as well announced who
had shaped them with their fruits—many of them,
not just a few—when Mighty God mounted upon
one of them, where he suffered miseries
for the sake of the nation-dwelling,
a loathsome death as a help to humankind.
Then many trees became bedewed with bloody tears
beneath their bark, red and thick, their sap turned to gore. (1163b-76a)

This fact no earth-dweller can speak through wise understanding,
how many things, which cannot perceive, became aware
of the suffering of the Lord, these inanimate creations.
Those that are the most ennobled of the earth’s kindred,
and also the high-timbers of the heavens were fearful
because of that lone man, and seized by fright.
Although from their innate virtues they knew nothing
of spiritual understanding, even so they knew by a miracle
when their Sovereign journeyed from his body-house. (1176b-86a)

The people did not know how to perceive,
their Measurer, these mind-blinded men,
harder than flints, that the Master had saved them
from a hell-death by his holy powers,
the All-Wielding God. This fact, at the earliest,
forward-thinking men from the first of the world,
through their wise perception, the prophets of the Lord,
holy through their heart’s insight, have spoken to men
often—not just once—about that noble child,
that the dearest gemstone must enter into the world
as a shelter and comfort to all of the kindred of men,
the Driver of Glory, the Start of Blessings, by way of that noble queen. (1186b-98)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Christ III, section xii, pt. 1

These sections have gotten really long, so it seems good practice to break them into two for ease of use.

In other news, I have started cobbling together a twin book proposal for the ASNPP translations to be shopped around to various publishers.


There these sin-flecked men will see themselves,
with sorrowful spirits, the greatest of pains.
It will be no favor to them who stand in the presence
before those strangers, of the Cross of our Lord,
the brightest of beacons, steaming with blood,
the pure gore of the Heavenly King,
looking out with the life-sweat that shines clearly
across this broad creation. The shadows
shall be concealed where the radiant tree
glows over the nations. Yet that will be ordained
a shame and a threat upon these sin-working peoples
who knew not how to thank God for his torments,
when he was hanged on the Holy Tree
for the wicked crimes of mankind.
There he purchased dearly our lives,
the Prince of Mankind, on that day
and by that price—he whose body-house
was never stained by blameworthy crimes,
and through this he ransomed us. (1081-99a)

Afterwards he will earnestly admonish
all of us for repayment, when that ruddy cross
blazes in the sky over all, rather than the golden sun.
Upon that signal those seduced by sins,
the darkened wicked-workers, shall look upon
sorrowfully and with great fear—
they will see for themselves to their suffering
what has come forth to their best end,
were they willing to perceive it to their good.
And also the ancient scars and the open wound
they shall witness, dreary-souled, in their Lord,
just as malice-minded men had impaled
those white hands and holy feet with nails,
and also caused blood to flow from his side,
where blood and water together both emerged
before the sight of their eyes, running out
in front of the warriors, when he was on the Rood. (1099b-1114)

All this they will be able to see for themselves then,
open and plain to perceive, that for the love of humankind,
of crime-workers, he suffered many things.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Final Judgment XII, pt. 2

Then Mighty God shall come into the famous mountain
the King of the Heaven-Angels, and shine out holy
amid the greatest host of majesty, wonderfully
across the armies, the Sovereign God—
and the best of noble multitudes shall sparkle
clearly about him, a holy massed infantry,
a blessed battalion of angels. Within our inmost thoughts
we shall be shivering with fear before the terror of the Father.
It is no wonder therefore that the unclean family
of worldly-men, sorrowing with their cares,
will harshly dread when the family of the holy,
white and heaven-bright, a power of high angels,
are fearful for the terror of that face.
His bright creation trembling shall await the Lord’s doom. (1007-21a)

The most terrifying of days shall come into the world,
when the Glory-King in his majesty chastises
every nation, commanding the speech-bearing to arise
from their earth-graves, and every single person,
each one of mankind to muster at the moot.
Then all of the kindred of Adam shall quickly
take up their flesh, which has come to the end
of this earthly pause and habitation.
Then every one must rise up alive before the coming of Christ,
assume their limbs and bodily home, and become rejuvenated.
They shall have all upon them, which he once weighted upon his soul
in bygone days, all of the good and the folly,
over the course of the year—they shall hold both together,
body and soul. Everything must come into the light,
the face of their own deeds and the memory of their words
and the thoughts in their hearts before the King of Heaven. (1021b-38)

Then shall mankind be increased and renewed
through their Measurer. A mighty host of men
shall be risen to judgment, after the Life-Origin
looses the bonds of death. The breezes will scorch,
the heavenly stars will tumble to the earth, widely
will the glutton flame lay waste, and souls will depart
into an eternal home. Open shall the deeds of man
be made throughout middle-earth. Nor can the hoard
of humans, the thoughts of their hearts
be concealed one whit before the Wielding God.
Nor shall their deeds be kept secret from him,
but will be known there by the Lord
on that greatest of days—how every man
had before earned eternal life, and all will be present
which they, early or late, had wrought in the world.
Nor shall be there anything concealed of the minds of men,
but that famous day shall reveal all the hoards
of breast-locks, and the thoughts of the heart.
One must consider the needs of the soul before,
who intends to bring before God a clear face,
when the burning, hot and greedy for blood,
shall prove how preserved the soul has been
against its sins before the Deemer of Victory. (1039-60)

Then the voice of the trumpet and the bright symbol,
and the heated flame and the high multitude,
and the majesty of angels and the threat of terror,
and the severe day and the high cross
rightfully reared as a beacon to the realm,
shall summon the human hosts before him,
every soul which has, early or late,
taken up limbs into its body-home.
Then the greatest of armies, eternal and ever-young,
shall go into the presence of the Sovereign,
by desire or constraint. Called forth by name,
they will bear their breast-hoard before the Child of God,
the adornments of their soul. The Father will judge
how many sound souls his sons have brought
from their homeland where they have lived.
Then they shall be bold who bring a clear face
unto their Measurer. Their power and joy
shall be so blessed as a repayment to their souls
a glorious recompense for their deeds. It will be well
for those who are allowed to be pleasing to God
in that most grim of seasons. (1061-80)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Christ III, section XII, part 1

Going a bit more slowly now that the semester is in full swing -- here are the first two stanzas of section 12 of Christ III (The Final Judgment). Hope you enjoy the end of the world as much as I have!


So the greedy spirit shall search out the world,
the ravaging flame felling the tallest buildings
on the fields of the earth with the terror of fire,
and the widely-known blast, hot and hungry for blood,
in the entire world. The city-walls shattered
shall tumble to the ground at once.
The mountains shall be melted, and the high cliffs as well,
which previously shielded the land firmly
against the waves, against the flood,
firm and shore-fast, a foundations against the tide,
the bouncing waters. Then shall every creature,
beast and fowl, be taken by the deathly flame,
the darkened fire shall be ferried across the earth,
a welling warrior. As before the waters flowed,
the agitated tides, at that moment in the fiery bath
the sea-fishes shall be burned—deprived of their swimming,
every weary wave-beast shall be wasted,
the water burning like wax. (972-88a)

There shall be more marvels than any man in his mind
can imagine: how the collision and the storm
and the strong winds shall break this broad creation.
The warriors will wail, weeping, roaring with weary voices,
humbled, heart-sick, and humiliated with lamentations.
The swarthy flame will seethe the sins of the perished,
and glowing coals swallow up their adornments of gold,
all of the ancient treasures of the tribal kings.
There will be outcry and sorrow, a struggle for life,
weeping and loud cries by the heavenly clatter,
a miserable tumult of mortal men.
Thenceforth no one stained by their sinful deeds
shall be able to struggle to gain sanctuary,
or escape the burning fire in any land,
but that flame shall seize through whatever nation,
grimly dig up and eagerly root out the regions
of the earth, both inside and out,
until the limbs of fire have burned up in its welling
all of the smirches of this worldly impurity. (988b-1006)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Final Judgment XI, pt. 2

He shall be glad-hearted in sight to the good:
beautiful and winsome to the holy multitudes,
fair in his rejoicing, pleasant and gracious
it will be for his beloved people to look upon
that shining figure willingly, the sweet arrival
of the Sovereign, the King of Powers,
for those who had previously pleased him well
in mind with their words and their works. (910-17)

To the evil he shall be terrifying and grim to see,
to the sinful men who come forth condemned by their crimes.
This can be a warning of retribution for those who
have sagacious forethought—that he dreads nothing at all
who does not become terrified at that visage,
frightened in his soul, when he witnesses
the presence of the Master of All Creation
faring amid mighty marvels to judge the many,
and on his every side a throng of heaven-angels
revolving about him, a shoal of the ever-brilliant,
armies of the hallowed, flocking in squadrons. (918-29)

The depths of creation shall resound, and before the Lord
the greatest of whelming flame shall flare out
across the broad earth. The heated fires shall crash,
the heavens burst—brilliant and true, the stars will tumble down.
Then the sun will be darkened, turned the color of blood,
which once shone brightly over the world before
for the benefit of the children of men.
And so the moon itself, which lighted mankind before
by night, will fall out of the sky and the stars
just the same will be strewn from the skies
by the strong breezes of a battering storm. (930-40)

The Almighty with his company of angels,
the Measurer of Great Kings, will come to the moot,
a Prince Fast in Majesty. There will be there as well
a triumphant mass of his thanes. The souls of the holy
will fare with their Master, when the Watchman of the People
with a terrible convulsion will seek out the tribes of the earth.
The voice of the heavenly trumpet will be heard
loud across the broad earth, and from seven directions
the winds shall roar, blowing, breaking with the loudest voice,
weakening and enervating the world with its storms,
filling the creatures of the earth with fear.
Then will a terrible crash, loud, measureless,
leaden and powerful, the greatest clamor of noise,
terrifying to the people, be revealed.
There the weary multitude of man-kind
shall turn in their masses into the wide fire,
where the destroying flame meets the living,
some will go up, some down, filled with burning. (941-59)

Doubtlessly then the kindred of Adam will be there,
filled with cares, lamenting, afflicted—a people wretched
not at all on behalf of the small things, but for the greatest
and most powerful miseries instead. Then all three together
shall be widely seized by the whelming of a black fire,
the swart flame: the seas with their fishes, the earth
with its mountains, and upper heaven bright with its stars.
The ravening flame with burn all three together at once,
grimly and powerfully. All middle-earth, pained so sore,
shall lament at that notorious moment. (960-71)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Final Judgment (Christ III), part XI

And then the mighty day of the Mighty Lord
shall overmaster the earth-dwellers with fear
in the middle of the night, and with his power
the radiant creation—just as a corrupt harmer,
a bold-coming thief, who often comes in darkness,
in the black night, suddenly seizes those bound in sleep,
sorrowless men, unready earls assailed with evil.
So upon the mountain of Sinai there will come
a great and powerful people, true to the Measurer,
bright and blissful. To them the fruits shall be given! (867-77)

Then from the four corners of the earth,
from the utmost of the earthly realm,
angels all-bright shall blow trumpets
together with one voice. Middle-earth shall tremble,
the ground below men. They shall resonate together,
strong and brilliant, with the course of the stars,
singing and reverberating in the south and the north,
in the east and the west, across all of creation.
The children of the multitude of men shall be awakened
from death, all of mankind terrified from the olden earth,
into their measured fate—by this they will order them
to stand up at once from their fixed sleep. (878-89a)

There one can hear the sorrowing people,
miserable at mind, hurrying harshly,
carefully crying out over the deeds of their lives,
affrighted by fear. That shall be the greatest foretokening
which was ever, before or since, shown to men—
there shall be commingled an entire commotion
of angels and devils, both the brilliant and the black.
There will be a coming together of both white and swart,
just as there are unlike homes made for each,
the angels and the devils. (889b-98)

Then suddenly upon Sion’s peak from the south-east
the light of the sun shall come shining from the Shaper
more brilliant that humans can perceive in their minds,
blazing brightly, when the Child of God is revealed
here through the vaults of heaven.
The wonderful form of Christ shall come,
the Noble-King’s face, eastwards from the skies,
sweetly into the understanding of his own people,
yet bitter to the baleful, marvelously flecked with beauty
to the blessed, yet different altogether to the wretched. (899-909)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Christ II is finished

Here is The Ascension, section X, the final part of Cynewulf's section of the Christ poems, complete with his runic signature.


None of the kindred of man on earth needs dread
these diabolical arrows, spear-paths of the fearsome,
if God shields him, the Lord of Multitudes.
It is near to that judgment that we must acquire
our appropriate recompense just as we have burdened
ourselves with our deeds through the course of our lives,
throughout the broad earth. Books speak to us
how in principio the Humble One climbed up
into middle-earth, the Gold-Hoard of Every Power,
into the female’s fathoming embrace the Free-Born Son
of God, holy from the heights. Indeed I believe for myself
and dread as well the more severe judgment
when the Prince of Angels arrives once again,
I who have not held close what my Savior
has commanded me in his books. For this I must
look into terror, the wrack of sin, for this I shall make
a true account—where many will be conducted
to the meeting before the Eternal Deemer. (779-96)

When the keen ones (C) quake, hearing the King,
the Righter of the Heavens, affirm and swear a harsh word
upon those who listened only weakly to him in the world,
so long as they could have discovered their comfort
most easily through the blowing horn (Y) and its urges (N).
There must be many affrighted waiting there,
weary in that terrible place, for what he wishes to allow them
according to their deeds, what wrathful torments.
The joy (W) in mortal adornments shall be departed.
Our (U) share of living joy was long encircled by flooding waters (L)
and our wealth (F) on earth. Then all those trappings
must burn in the pyre and brightly shall the swift red flame rage—
quickly it shall race throughout the wide world.
The plains will crumble, the city-steads burst.
The torches shall be on the move, kindling
the ancient treasures without remorse,
the most greedy of spirits, that men once kept
so long as glory was theirs on the earth. (797-814)

Therefore I wish to instruct every one of my beloved friends
so that he should not neglect his soul’s needs,
nor affirm in his boasting that, so long as God wishes,
he is allowed to dwell here in the world,
faring forth, soul united with body in its guest-house.
Every man must eagerly take care in the days of his life
to remember that the Wielder of Powers came to us
mildly in the beginning through the angel’s word.
But when he comes again, he shall be grim, dreadful,
yet righteous. The skies will be stirred
and the greater part of middle-earth then will quake.
The brilliant King shall pay them back who have lived
on earth with sluggish action, stained with sins—
afterwards they must long receive wrathful retribution
in the fire’s bath, beaten around by its welling. (815-31)

Then the powerful King shall come to the moot,
in his greatest majesty. The loud human-terrors
will be heard along with a heavenly clatter
a wailing of mourners—carefully they will lament
before the face of the Eternal Deemer,
those who trusted weakly in their works.
There will be revealed a greater terror
than ever was heard on the earth from its early inception.
There will be for every one of the sin-workers
in that quickly approaching hour something
much more dear than all this loaned creation,
where he himself in that victorious crowd
can be concealed when the First of the Armies,
Start of Noblemen, judges them all,
both the beloved and the despised,
rewards according to right, for every person.
There is a great need for us to ponder eagerly
our soul’s beauty before that moment
of awful terror in that dying time. (832-49)

At this moment it is most like this:
that we are sailing across the cold waters in ships,
beyond the broad sea in steeds of the deep,
ferried in flood-wood. The course of water is perilous,
waves beyond measure on which we bounce here
throughout this fragile existence, the windy waters
over the deep ways. Our way of living is harsh
before we had sailed to land over the stormy spine.
Then help comes to us, that haled us to health in harbor,
the Spirit-Son of God, and gave to us grace
so that we could recognize over the sides of the ship
where we must moor our ocean-horses,
the olden chargers of the waves, with our anchors fast. (850-63)

Let us plant our hopes in that harborage,
that the Sovereign of the Skies opened up for us,
holy from the heights, when he ascended to heaven. (864-66)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christ II, part IX (finished)

Thus here on the ground the Eternal Child of God
jumps leaping across the lofty hillsides,
mindful over the mountains. So we humans must
leap our hearts in jumps through our thoughts—
from power to power, aspiring to glories—
so that we may climb up to the highest roof
with our holy works, where there is hope and bliss,
the notable throng of teeming servants.
There is a great need for us to seek our salvation
with our hearts, where we eagerly believe
with our spirits, that the Son of Health will rise upwards
with our body-home from here, the Living God. (744-55)

Therefore we must always renounce empty lusts,
the wounds of sin, and celebrate the better part.
We should keep the Father as our comfort,
almighty in the heavens. He dispatches his heralds
holy from the heights from there to here,
and they shield us against the showers of hideous arrows,
sent by scathers, lest the devils work our wounding
when the crime-bearer sends forth bitter missiles
into the people of God from his braided bow.
Therefore we must always hold watch fixedly
and warily against the devil’s distant shots,
lest the poisonous point should sink in
under the bone-locks, a bitter war-missile,
the sudden trap of our foes—
and that would be a perilous injury, a most ghastly wound. (756-71a)

Let us shelter ourselves then, so long as we keep
a home on this earth—let us entreat the Father
for peace, beg the Child of God and the Blissful Spirit
to shield us against the weapons of the harmers,
the hateful deceiving devices. He who gave us life,
limbs, body, and soul. Eternal praise be to him
all glory in heaven, world without end. (771b-78)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Christ II part IX (first half)

I'm back from vacation, but it is uncertain whether posts will be more frequent, at least until I get my pre-semester things taken care of. Here's the first part of section IX of Christ II (The Ascension).


Thus Almighty God, the King of All Creatures craftily
honors the stock of the earth with bountiful gifts—
likewise he gives the fruits to the blessed in heaven,
rearing eternal peace for angels and men forever.
So he worthies his workmanship.
So the prophet spoke about this, saying that
the holy gems were heaved up on high,
the bright stars of heaven, the sun and the moon.
What may those gems so splendid be but God himself?
He is the sooth-fast rays of the sun, a noble burning
for both angels and the dwellers on the earth.
Over middle-earth the moon radiates, a ghostly light,
so the church of God brightly shine through
truth and righteousness united.
So it says in the book, after the God-Child ascended
from the earth, the King of All Cleanness,
then the church of the law-dutiful here endured
persecution within the power of heathen princes.
Those sin-scathers heeded not the truth,
the requirements of the soul, yet they broke and burned
the temple of God, wreaking bloodshed, hating and slaying. (686-709a)

Still the glory of thanes of God was realized
through the soul’s grace, after the mounting up
of the Eternal Lord. Solomon sang about this,
the son of David, readily wise in verses,
the sovereign of human nations, and spoke
these words of spiritual mystery: “It is known
that it shall come to pass—that the King of Angels,
the Measurer of such great power, shall jump the mountains,
leaping the tall hills, surmounting the heights and knolls
with his glory, loosing the world and all
its inhabitants, by those noble springings.” (709b-19)

The first leap was when he went inside that woman,
the virgin undefiled, and there took on mannish shape
without marring so that he could become a comfort
to all earth-dwellers. The second leap was his birth
as a child, when he was placed in a manger,
in the form of a baby wound up in cloth,
majesty of all majesties. The third leap was
the rushing of the Heavenly King, when he climbed
onto the Cross, the Father, the Comfort of Souls.
The fourth leap was into his grave, when he gave up
that tree, fast in his earthen hall. The fifth leap
was when he humiliated the heap of hell-dwellers
in the living torment, bound the king within,
the enemies’ intercessor, in flaming fetters,
malignant, where he lies to this day fastened
with chains incarcerated and sealed in his sins.
And the sixth leap was the Holy One’s playing of hope,
when he ascended into the heavens into his ancient people.
Then was the thronging of angels become blithe
with jubilant celebrations in that holy season.
They saw then Glory Majestic, the Origin of Noblemen,
seeking his homeland, the brilliant halls.
Then the games of that Noble Son became
a perpetual delight to the dwellers of the blessed city. (720-43)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ascension VIII (concluded)

Here's the end of section eight of the Christ II (The Ascension), which includes a breathtaking sequence of anaphora that mirrors the "Gifts of Men" catalogue poem.


They could not know then of that bird’s flight,
who made denial of his climbing up, and did not believe
that the Origin of Life was taken up in the shape of man,
holy from the earth, across the Power Majestic.
He who shaped the world honored us then,
the Ghostly Son of God, and gave to us his grace,
eternal foundations upwards among the angels,
and also sowed and established the manifold
wisdom of the heart throughout the minds of men. (654-63)

To some he sends wise articulation into the memory
of his mind through the aspiration of his mouth,
noble perception. One man can sing and tell of all things
in whom the craft of wisdom is committed in his soul.
Some can vibrate the harpstrings with his fingers
very well and loudly before other men, touching the mirth-wood.
Some can reckon aright the laws of the people of God.
Some can tell of the mysterious orbit of the stars,
the broad creation. Some can craftily write statements of words.
To some he grants success in warfare in their battles,
when the spear-corps and shooters send the flickering
of wrought missiles over the covering of locked shields.
Some very bravely can drive the swimming wood
over the salty sea, stirring the agitation of the ocean.
Some can climb the highest and steepest of trees.
Some can create weapons, the sword of steel.
Some know the course of plains, the wide-spreading ways.
So the Sovereign dispenses his many gifts to us
on earth, the God-Child. He does not wish to give
all his wisdom of spirit to any one man,
lest boasting over others should harm him
due to his unique talents. (664-85)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ascension VIII (mostly)

Here is as much as I could get through today -- maybe I'll finish the last few stanzas later today, we'll see.


It is worthwhile that the human tribes should speak
thanks to the Lord for his every glory, which have
before and since have been performed
through the mysteries of manifold might.
He has given us food and plenty of possessions,
wealth across these wide lands and pleasant weather
under the sheltering skies. The sun and the moon
most noble of all the stars which are shining,
the candles of heaven, for the heroes on earth. (600-08)

The dew and rain falls, waking glory for the children
of men to nourish their souls, increasing their share
of earthly wealth. Therefore every one of us must
speak our thanks and praise for our Prince,
and indeed for the healing that he gave to us,
our hopeful joy, when he transformed our misery
at his ascension, the sadness which we suffered before,
and he interceded for the dwellers of nations, the King Sole-Born,
with his own father, in the greatest of feuds. (609-18a)

The terrible sentence he turned around again,
peace for every soul, which was sung earlier
with an angry purpose to sorrow all humanity:
“I had created you upon this earth, and there
you must dwell in constant struggle, suffering
my vengeance, and to the delight of fiends,
sing a song of hurrying hence and towards that same
death you shall soon experience—welling with worms,
and to that place you must be forced to seek
the fires of punishment, away from the earth.” (618b-26)

Listen! This princeling has made our lot easier
when he assumed the limbs and the lineaments
of the stock of mankind! Since the Son of Measurer
wished to climb up to the homeland of angels,
the God of Armies, his desire came as a help
for us in our humiliation in that holy season. (627-32)

Job recited a song about this, as he know how,
praising the Helmet of Men, celebrating the Healer,
and with his peaceable love conceived of a noble name
for the Son of the Sovereign, naming him a bird,
which the Jews never could comprehend
in the strength of the Godhead’s spirit.
This fowl’s flight was secretive, concealed
from his enemies on earth, who had dark thoughts
in their breasts and hearts of stone.
They did not wish to perceive these bright tokens
which the Free-Child of God performed before them,
many and manifold, throughout middle-earth. (633-44)

And so the faithful fowl tested his wings in flight—
sometimes he sought the homeland of angels,
that famous home, proud and secure in his powers,
and sometimes he swooped down upon the earth,
through the grace of his spirit seeking the world’s corners,
venturing into this realm. About this, the prophet sang:
“He was heaved upwards in the embrace of angels,
in the plentitude of his great puissance,
high and holy, over the majesty of heaven.” (645-53)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christ II (the Ascension), section VII

Here is section seven. This contains on those great Cynewulfian runs of internal rhyme (ll. 591-6) which I have tried (perhaps a bit overhard) to preserve.


With such a company, we wish to ferry
the Lord across the vaults of heaven
to the bright city with this blissful band,
the best and most noble of all the Sons of Victory,
who you all look upon here and see
glistening with adornments in comfort—
even though he will seek out the earth again
with an enormous army, and the he will judge
the folk’s every deed committed under the heavens.” (517-26)

Then was the Warden of Glory taken upwards
over the roofs, the King of the High-Angels,
into the clouds, the Helmet of the Holy.
Joyous expectation was renewed—
bliss in the cities, by the coming of that Child.
Victory-exulting, he was seated at the right hand
of his own Father, the Eternal Origin of Blesings. (527-32)

Then they departed to go to Jerusalem
heart-eager heroes, into that holy city,
sad-minded, from where they had just seen
God rising up with their own eyes,
their Giver of Good. There was a ring of cries—
covered over by grief. Their true love
was hot about their hearts, chests welling within,
breast-boxes burning. The magnificent thanes
all awaited there ten more nights the promise
of their Lord, as the Owner of the Skies
had commanded them himself before
the Sovereign of All had ascended upwards
into the keeping of heaven. (533-45a)

They came down to the noblemen’s Giver
of Blessings, the shining angels—
that is well attested, as the Scriptures say—
that the all-bright angels came down to him
in that holy season in a great mass,
draining from the sky. Then the great feast
was held in glory. That behooved well
that his thanes entered into that bliss,
covered by brightness, into the Lord’s city,
an army shining beautifully. They made welcome
to the Giver of the People’s Life
upon his lofty throne, the Wielder of Heaven,
the Wielder of all Adornment,
of middle-earth and the Power Majestic. (545b-57)

“The Holy One has bereaved hell of its thralls,
who succumbed to the unrighteous warfare
of years gone by. Now the overthrown,
oppressed and made captive in living torment,
shall be deprived of their glory in the depths of hell,
the devil’s champions. Nor can his opposing foes
find success in war, in the tossing of weapons,
since the King of Glory, Helmet of Heaven’s Realm,
has made his battle against his olden adversaries
with one single power—there he drew forth
most of their captives from their imprisonment
in the fiend’s city, a innumerable people—
this same crowd which you all stare upon here! (558-70)

“Now the Preserver of Souls wishes to seek out now,
the giving-throne of spirits, God’s Own Child,
after the play of war. Now you readily know
who this lord is who leads forth this army,
Now go forth glad-minded to meet your friends boldly! (571-76a)
“O Gates of Heaven, open up!
The Wielder of All wishes to enter into you,
the king into his citadel with no small company,
the Author of Olden-Works, leading his people
into the Joy of All Joys, who he seized
from the devil by means of his own victory.
Peace shall be shared by angels and men alike
henceforth and forever, to the extent of life.
A pledge is created between men and God together,
a ghost-holy troth—love, the hope of life,
and all the joys of light.” (576b-85)

Hey! We have now heard how the Child of Salvation
through his coming hither has given us good health again,
liberating and defending his people under the skies,
the famous Son of the Measurer, so that all of mankind
now living may now choose while they abide here
hell’s abasement as well as heaven’s aggrandizement,
the light of lights as well as the hateful nights,
the majestic thrack as well as the shadows’ wrack,
with the joy of the Lord as well as the devil’s agonized sword,
punishment with wrath as well as glory with grace
life as well as death, just as it is more precious to him
to perform, so long as flesh and spirit dwell in the world.
May the glory and gracious thought of the majesty
of the Trinity endure without end! (586-99)

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Ascension VI, pt 2

“Rejoice in your souls!
I shall never depart,
but I shall attend you
all with love always,
and give to you my strength
and dwell with you
forever and evermore,
so that there will never be
a want for God
through my grace. (476-80)

“Travel now throughout
this entire enormous earth,
beyond the wide waves,
and reveal to the multitudes
preach and pronounce
your bright belief,
and baptize the people
beneath the stars above. (481-84)

“Turn towards heathen people,
and shatter their idols,
chop them down and humiliate them,
wash clean their hostility,
to sow peace
in the hearts of men
by the power of my might.
I shall abide among you,
as a comfort to you from here,
and hold for you my peace
my strength fixed as foundations
in every place you go.” (485-90)

Then suddenly was a loud voice heard
upon the breeze. A throng of heavenly angels,
a shining squadron, heralds of glory flocked
crowding down. Our King departed
through the temple roof where they looked,
those who still remained in the trace of their beloved
in that place of assembly, his chosen thanes. (491-97)

They saw their Lord mount up to the heights,
the God-Child from the ground. Their minds were sad,
hot about the heart, thoughts mourning
for they would never again be allowed
to see their loved lord any longer under the skies.
The heralds hove up a song, of the kindred above,
praising that noble one, celebrating
the Origin of Life, rejoicing in the light
which illuminated the head of the Savior. (498-505)

They saw two all-bright angels beautifully
agleam with adornments about that First-Child,
the Glory of Kings. They called down from the heights
with wrought words across the multitude of men
with a bright voice: “What are you waiting for,
people of Galilee in a circle? You may clearly
see the True Lord travelling into the skies—
the Owner of Victories will ascend upwards from here
to his new home, the Start of Nobility,
with his company of angels, the Origin
of Humanity, to the homeland of his Father.” (506-16)

Christ II, Section VI (part one)

With Christ I finished, now it is time to move on to Cynewulf's Christ II.


Seek now eagerly into the secret mysteries
of the soul, reputable man, by the skill of your mind
and the wisdom of your heart, so that you will know
the truth about how it happened—when the Almighty,
became conceived through the state of virginity,
after he selected the safe have within Mary,
greatest of maidens, most famous of womankind—
that angels did not show themselves there,
wearing brilliant raiment when that nobleman arrived,
the boy in Bethlehem. Heralds were ready,
who revealed by the cry of their voices to the shepherds,
speaking of true rejoicing, that the Son of the Measurer
was made flesh in middle-earth, in Bethlehem. (440-53a)

However, it does not record in books how they revealed
themselves there in shining garb in that perfect moment,
as they soon did when the famous Lord, the Glory-Fast Prince
assembled his body of thanes to Bethany, the dearest band.
They did not depise the teacher’s words on that precious day,
their Giver of Treasure. At once they made themselves ready,
heroes with their lord, unto the holy city, where
the Dispenser of Glory made manifest many tokens,
the Helmet of Majesty, in wordful mysteries
before he mounted up, the Only-Begotten Son,
Child evenly eternal with his own Father,
after forty counts of days then he arose
out of death from the earth. (453b-67)

Then he had fulfilled, as was sung before,
the words of the prophets throughout the world,
by his sufferings. His thanes praised him,
celebrating dear-worthily the Owner of Life,
the Father of First-Creation. He gave them
fair rewards after that, his beloved companions,
and spoke these words, the Wielder of Angels,
hurrying, Mighty Lord, to his father’s realm: (468-75)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Advent lyrics 11-12

The last of the Advent Lyrics. Coming soon: Christ II



Hail the divine and dignified,
high and holy, heaven-kindly Trinity,
blessed across the broad and abundant plains,
who the speech-bearers, the dejected earth-dwellers
must by rights praise highly with all their means,
now that the pledge-fast God has revealed to us
the Savior so that we are able to understand him.

Therefore they, deed-brave, have been endowed
with glory, so that the soothfast kindred of the Seraphim,
glorying upwards among the angels forever,
unwearying they sing of majesty very loftily
with a loud voice, fair to all far and near.

They hold an office most choice with their king—
and Christ granted it to them, so that they might
brook his presence at the table in their eyes
for ever and ever, adorned with the sky,
worthying the Wielder widely and broadly,
and with their wings ward over the face
of Lord Almighty, the Eternal Ruler,
and about the princely seat they eagerly throng—
whichever of them can bounce in flight
nearest to our Savior in those peaceful yards.

They adore the Dear One and in dazzling light
they call these words to him, glorifying
the noble Originator of all creation:

“Holy you are, holy, Lord of the High-Angels,
True Power of Victories, always you shall be holy,
Lord of All Lords! Always shall your splendor
abide, earthly among mankind—through all time
widely worthied. You are the God of Armies,
because you filled both earth and heaven,
Shelter of Warriors, with your glories,
Helmet of All Creatures!

Let there be in the heights eternal salvation,
and praises on the earth, bright among the warriors.
You are blessed dearly, who came to the multitudes
in the name of the Lord, as a comfort to the abject.
May you be the eternal praises of the lofty heavens
forever without end.” (378-415)


Hail and behold! What a marvelous exchange
in the lives of men, that the Gentle Shaper
of humankind should take up sinless flesh
in a woman, who knows naught
of the caress of a man, nor did the Owner of Victories
come through the seed of any man on earth—
but it was a keener craft than all the earth-dwellers
could comprehend due to its mysterious nature.
How he, Triumph of the Skies, High-Lord of Heaven,
effected help for humankind through his mother’s womb.

And so going forth, the Savior of the People
deals out every day his forgiveness as a help
to men, the Lord of Hosts. Therefore let us
praise him faithfully and vigorously
in our words and deeds. It is a lofty counsel
in every person that always keeps the memory,
that most often, most inwardly, and most eagerly
that they should honor God.

He shall reward them with recompense
of his love, the hallowed Savior himself,
even in the homeland where had never come,
in the delights of the land of the living,
where he shall blessedly afterwards abide,
and inhabit to the fullness of life
without end. Amen. (416-39)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Advent Lyrics 10

Whoopie! These guys are fun to translate! Here's a nice short one, Advent Lyric 10, for your delectation.



Hail holy Lord of the Heavens,
you were coeval with your father
of old in that excellent home.

There were no angels yet made,
none of that ample and powerful majesty
which administer the realm

up in the heavens,
the splendid palace of the Prince
and his body of thanes,

when you first established
yourself along with the Eternal Lord
and this spacious creation,

the broad and abundant earth.
For both of you in common
is the High-Spirit fast in its shelter.

We all pray to you, Savior Christ,
in all humility that you hear
the voice of the captives,

your constrained captives,
preserving God, how we are all
oppressed by our own yearning.

The exiled kindred, the cursed ghasts
have constrained us cruelly,
the hell-harmers full of hate,

binding us with ropes of many harms.
The cure belongs to you
alone, Eternal Lord.

Help the body-sorrowing,
so that your hither-coming
might comfort the destitute,

although we have made a feud
against you with our lust
for every sort of crime.

Be merciful to your servants,
consider our miseries,
how we totter with a feeble mind,

wander about abjectly.
Come now, King of Warriors,
and do not tarry too long.

There is a need for your mercy—
that you should redeem us
and grant us the soothfast

grace of your salvation,
so that we may henceforth
prosper the better

in your fellowship
at your will. (348-77)

Daily update (Advent Lyric 9)

I've been making a practice recently of sitting over breakfast and coffee these past few days working on the Christ translation while chatting with my Dad and his wife. It has been very productive, and you, the people, reap the benefit. Allow me to present the ninth of the Advent Lyrics from Christ I.



O you are the most famous of middle-earth,
the cleanest queen across the earth—
of those who have been to the ends of life—
how rightfully all speech-bearing men
all over the world, call you and say,
with a blithe mind, that you should be
the bride of the best Dispenser of the Skies.

Likewise, the highest in the heavens,
the thanes of Christ, call out and sing
with holy might that you should be
the lady of the glorious armies,
and of the worldly-kinds, the orders
under heaven, and the denizens of hell also.

Because you alone of all humans,
bold-thinking, gloriously conceived
that you would bring your maiden-head
before the Measurer, giving it to him without sin.

No one like this has been found
no one else among all humankind,
no woman adorned with rings,
who offered this shining gift
afterwards with a pure heart,
to the heavenly hue.

Therefore the First of Victories
ordered his high-herald to fly here
from his majestic might and swiftly
reveal the magnitude of his power,
that you were to conceive
the Son of the Lord through a pure pregnancy
as a mercy to mankind, and you, Mary,
could keep yourself ever afterward
unmarred —

We have also heard that, a certain prophet
soothfast in the days of yore long ago—
he was Isaiah—said this about you:
that he was taken away so he could be shown
the station of life in that eternal home.

Then the prophet so fixed in his wisdom
looked over that inhabited place
until he stared where a noble entryway
was established. The huge door
was bound all over with precious treasure,
girded with amazing braces.

He was convinced that no human
could ever heave up such a fixed bolt
in all eternity, or unlock the fastening
of that city’s gate—before an angel of God
with thoughts of gladness unraveled
that puzzle and spoke these words:

“I can say to you that it will come true:
that God himself, by the power of his Spirit,
the Father Almighty will at a moment to come
shall sanctify these golden gates
and seek out the earth through these fastened locks—
they will stand behind him for eternity,
always and in perpetuity, so closed up
so that no other, except the Savior God,
shall unlock them ever again.”

Now it is fulfilled what the wise man
saw there with his own eyes—
you are the door in the wall,
through which the Wielding Lord
made his journey alone to the earth,
and even so Christ Almighty found you,
adorned with powers, pure and choice.
So the Prince of Angels, Dispenser of Life,
locked you up behind him with his limb-key,
again unblemished by any thing.

Show us now the grace which the angel brought you,
the message-bearer of God, Gabriel.
Indeed the city-dwellers beg you for this,
that you should reveal comfort for the people,
your own son. Afterwards we may be allowed
to celebrate all with a single heart
when we look upon the bairn upon your breast.

Plead for us with your courageous words
so that he will no longer abandon us
in any wise in this deadly valley,
to heed the words of the betrayer,
but instead ferry us into the Father’s realm,
where we without sorrow may afterwards
dwell in glory with the God of Hosts. (275-347)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Advent Lyrics 8 (Christ I cont'd)

Whew! This one was time-consuming! I decided to go with a very sparse line which spreads out the verse over a great deal of space. Maybe that was not good planning, since #8 is pretty long of its own, but I like the breathing room.



Hail Almighty Christ,
peaceable and true
King of All Kings!

Before every majesty
of the entire world
you were conceived

becoming a child
with your Glory-Father
by his craft and his might!

There is now no nobleman
under the windy sky,
no perspicacious man,

surpassingly wise
that he can speak of this
to sea-dwelling men,

or righteously relate
how the Holder of Heaven
in the beginning

hatched you
as his free-born son.

Of the many things
that the kindred of men
have frained among the folk,

what first happened
under the heavens
at the start of the world,

was that Wise God,
the Starting-Point of Life,
divided divinely

light and shadow,
and the power
of judgment was his,

and the Lord of Hosts
ordained this subtle thing:

“Let there become
light from now, evermore
until the end of the world,

a sparkling joy
to all that live
which will be born

in their generation.”
And it happened at once,
when it should be so—

illuminated rays
the tribes of men,
brilliant among the stars,

after the arrival
of the proper time.

He established himself
that you were his Son
dwelling at the same instant

with your Solitary Lord
before any of this
even happened.

You are the wisdom
which created everything
of this spacious creation,

along with the Sovereign.
Therefore there is no one
so quick-witted,

nor so mind-crafty
that can clearly affirm

your inception
to the children of men.

Come now,
Warden of Victories,
Measurer of Mankind,

fixed in grace
reveal to us here
your mercy!

There is in all of us
a great desire to be allowed
to understand

your mother’s kindred,
the righteous mystery,
since we cannot at all

explain any farther
your father’s descent.

Make joyous this middle-earth
mildly through your
coming here, Savior Christ—

command those golden gates
to be opened wide,
which have in days of old,

for a very long time,
stood closed fast,
Highest Lord of Heaven—

and seek us out
through your own arrival
humbly to the earth.

There is need of your mercies!
The cursed wolf,
the beast of death’s shadow,

has brought your flock,
O Lord, to naught,
scattering them widely.

The sheep, my Sovereign,
you bought before
with your blood

which the baleful foe
woefully afflicts,
and takes them captive

for himself,
over the urging
of our desires.

Therefore we, Savior,
entreat you earnestly
with our breasts’ thoughts

that you quickly render us
assistance, weary wretches,
so that the tormenting slayer

may tumble into abjection
to the depths of hell,
and the work of your hands,

Shaper of Heroes,
may arise and arrive
at the right,

into that upward
and noble kingdom,
whence the dark ghast

drew us apart and seduced us
through our sinful lust,
so that we, lacking glory,

must suffer misery
forever without end,
unless you,

Eternal Lord, the Living God,
Helmet of All Creatures,
wish to defend us

more readily,
from the destroyer of peoples. (214-74)

Advent Lyrics 7

Here is a bit of dramatic poetry in the seventh Advent Lyric, in the conversation between Mary and Joseph about her pregnancy. Not as funny as the one recorded in the York play of "Joseph's Trouble About Mary," but still intriguing.



“O my Joseph, son of Jacob, kin of David
the most famous of kings! Must you now
separate yourself so firmly from my affection,
renouncing my love?”

“I am quickly seized in deep offense at you,
bereaved of my reputation, because I have heard
many words of harm about you, broad sorrows
and painful words, and they speak insults to me,
many many wounding allegations.

I must pour forth many tears in a miserable mind.
God can easily heal the heart-sorrows in my head
and comfort the meagerly endowed.
Alas young virigin, my maiden Mary!”

“What are you mourning,
crying out so carefully?”

“I have never found any fault in you,
nor any reason to doubt you,
no deeds of defilement, and now you speak
these words to me when you are filled
with every sort of sin and crime.”

“I too have received many hurts
from this child-bearing state.”

“How can I forgive this hateful speech
or find any answer in reply to the wrathful?
It is widely known that I took on
from the bright temple of the Lord
a free-born and clean virgin, without blot,
and now everything has changed
by I don’t know who—

“Neither course avails me at all,
to speak up or to be silent.
If I tell the truth then
the daughter of David must die,
losing her life through stones.
The situation is even stronger
if I should cover up her crime—
the perjurer must live afterwards
hated by all peoples, abominated by men.”

Then the virgin revealed the righteous
mysteries, and spoke thus:
“I shall speak the truth by the Son of the Measurer,
the Helper of Souls, that I still know nothing
of the caresses of any man in any place on earth,
but it was granted to me, youthful in the yard,
that the high-angel of heaven,
Gabriel gave me greeting.

“He spoke to me soothfully that the Spirit of the Skies
would illuminate me with light, and the life’s
majesty I must bear forth, the Bright Son,
the powerful Child of God, the Brilliant Origin of Glory.
Now I am made into his temple without stain,
and inside me the Soul of Comfort indwells.
Now abandon all sorrowful thoughts of pain.

“Speak your neverending thanks
to the famou Son of the Measurer
that I am become his mother,
though still a virgin, and that you
will be called his worldly father
in the eyes of men—this prophecy
must be realized in his own person.” (164-213)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Advent Lyrics 6

Hallelujah! Here is the sixth Advent Lyric--halfway through the lot of them.



O God of Spirits, how wisely
you were named by the name
Emmanuel, as the angel
first spoke it in Hebrew!

That is readily translated
generously in its mysteries:
“Now is the Warden of Heaven,
God himself among us!”

So the men of old many years ago
truthfully prophesied
the King of All Kings,
just as the clean priest as well,

the most famous of all,
Melchisedech wise in spirit once
revealed the divine majesty
of the Eternal All-Wielding God.

He was the bringer of the law,
the teacher of holy lessons
to those hoping for a long time
for the hither-coming,

just as was foretold to him,
that the Son of the Measurer
himself would cleanse
the citizens of the earth,

and likewise seek out
a journey to the deep as well
by the power of his spirit.

Now they bide in their bonds
patiently for the Bairn of God
to come to the chary.
Enfeebled by their agonies,

therefore they call out thus:
“Now come to us yourself,
High-King of Heaven.
Bring us the life of salvation,

the weary thralls of torment,
worn out by our weeping,
with bitter tears of burning salt.
The cure for our pressing need
lies with you alone.

Search here for these
mind-miserable captives,
and do not leave us behind you,
when you come here again,

a multitude so massive,
but reveal to us regally
your mercies, Christ the Savior,
Nobleman of Glory,

nor allow those cursed ones
to keep power over us.
Bequeath us eternal joys
your own glories,
that we may praise you,

Glory-King of Armies,
which you once worked
with your own hands.

In the lofty heights
you shall abide forever
with the Sovereign Father. (130-63)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lazy Sunday (Advent Lyrics 5)

Not much else to do today except translate -- what I would call a good vacation!

Here is Advent Lyric 5 from the second section of Christ I.

These verses are feeling so much better than the lyrics of the Metres of Boethius. Maybe it is because they actually have interesting images and figurative language here--there are things to chew on in these poems.


Hail shining ray! Hail brightest of angels
and illumination of the soothfast sun
sent over middle-earth to all mankind,
more brilliant than the stars—always
you light up every season of your own self!

As you, God born readily from God,
Son of the True Father, were ever
without beginning in the glory of the sky,
so now needfully your own creation
abides you faithfully, so that you send us
the bright sun, and that you come yourself
to illuminate those who for the longest time,
shrouded in shadow and in darkness here,
reside in the everlasting night—
enfolded in our sins, they have had to endure
the dark shadows of death.

Now we joyously believe in salvation
brought to the many by the word of God,
who at the start was the Father Almighty,
eternal even with God, and now become again
flesh without sin, that the virgin birthed
as a comfort to the miserable.

God was among us, seen without sins—
they dwelt together: the mighty Son of the Measurer
and the Child of Man both, concordant
among humankind. We may tell our thanks
perpetually according to his desert,
because he wished to send us himself. (104-29)

Advent Lyrics 4

More holiday celebration to come, with the fourth lyric from Christ I.



Hail joy of women through the triumph of glory,
the most noble of virgins across every corner of the earth
that sea-dwelling men have ever heard spoken of—
relate to us the mysteries which came to you from the heavens;
how you ever took on your increasing, through the birthing of a child,
never knowing any kind of coupling that the minds of men
would understand. Truly we have never learned
of anything like this happening in the days gone by,
that you should take hold of this in your unique grace,
nor need we look that event occurring any time ahead.

Indeed that troth indwells within you worthily,
now that you have borne that glory majestic
within your breast, and your mighty maidenhead
was not destroyed. And as all children of men
have sown in their sorrows, so they will soon reap—
conception is a killing to them.

So spoke the Blessed Virgin, sainted Mary
filled always with her victory:

“What is this wonderment at which you all
stand amazed, and mourning lament your cares,
O son of Salem and his daughter too?
Curious, you inquire how I kept my virgin state
and its warding hand and also became the mother
of the famous Measurer’s Son. However,
this is not a mystery knowable by men,
yet Christ revealed how in the kinswoman
dear to David that the sin of Eve is wholly turned aside,
her curse cast down, and the weaker kind glorified.
A hope is taken up so that a blessing may abide
in both men and women together, now
and always for all time to come in the highest
delight of angels with the True Father.” (71-103)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Advent Lyrics 3

Turns out I have better internet access than I anticipated, plus some spare time, so here's another Advent Lyric from Christ I.



Hail sight of peace, holy Jerusalem
best of national thrones, land of cities of Christ,
the center of the angels’ homeland—
and in you alone the souls of the soothfast
may find their rest, exultant in your glories.

Never shall a slightest symbol of sin
be revealed in that dwelling-place,
but each and every fault shall far turn aside,
wickedness and strife.

You are replete in every glory,
the holy expectation,
just as you are named —

See now for yourself:
looking around every corner
throughout this wide creation
and the roomy roof of the heavens—

how the King of the Skies
seeks a journey in you
and arrives himself—

how he takes his abode in you,
as the wisely fixed prophets
told it before long ago.

They revealed the birth of Christ,
speaking to you as a comfort,
most excellent of all cities.

Now is the child come,
born as an amendment,
to the sins of the Hebrews.

He brings bliss to you,
loosing your bonds
compelled upon you
in malice. He knows
the pressing necessity,
how the wretched
must await mercy. (50-70)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Advent Lyric 2

Here is the second of the Advent Lyrics of Christ I. I leave for CO for two weeks in about two hours, so updates will be spotty for a while.



O, you are the Reckoner and the Rightful King,
who keeps the stronghold, revealing life
and the lofty ways to the blessed, withholding
the lovely lanes of desire to those others,
if their deeds are not sufficient.

Indeed we speak these words needfully
and praise the one who shaped mankind—
[damage to the manuscript obliterates most of a line]
the condition of the careful, we who sit
sorrowing in prison—

We expect the sun, the moment when
the Life-Lord reveals the light to us,
becoming protection for us in our minds,
and winding up our frail wits in glory.

Make us worthy—
who admits us into magnificence,
when we must depart miserably
into this narrow place,
beshorn of our homeland.

Therefore one can say,
who speaks truthfully to you,
that he delivered the tribe of men,
who were once perverted.

It was through a young woman,
a maiden without wickedness,
who he chose to be his mother.

That was done without the love of a man,
so that the lady became large
with the bearing of a child.

Nothing could compare to this,
before or since, arising in the world,
this woman’s yearning—
that was a secret, the Lord’s mystery.

All spiritual gifts will pervade
the regions of the earth—
where many wise men were enlightened,
their enduring teachings through the Origin of Life,
which before lay hidden beneath the grave,

and the wordy songs of the prophets,
when the Wielder came, he who amplifies
the mystery of every statement
of those who, through active state
eagerly wish to extol the Shaper’s name. (18-49)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Advent Lyric (Christ I)

I know it's a little late for the season, but here is the first of the twelve Advent lyrics that make up the first section of Christ I, the first entry in the most famous collection of Anglo-Saxon verse, the Exeter Book.

The first poem is acephalous due to lost leaves. Some posit that one or more lyrics are missing, but there is something nice and round about the number twelve (The later Middle English poem Pearl, for instance, is obsessed with the religious significances of the number).



… to the king.
You are the wall-stone that the stonewrights
once rejected from their labors. It suits you
that you should be the capital of the glorious hall,
and you gather up the capacious walls,

with fixed joint and stone unbroken,
so that throughout all earthly cities,
by the sight of the eyes, all men
can marvel forever at the Lord of Glory.

Manifest now through your skillful craft
the work of your own, sooth-fast, victor-bright,
and allow wall to meet wall at once.

Now there is need for the building
for the Architect and the King himself to come
and make amends to that which is fallen
to disrepair, the house under its roof.

He shaped the body and its limbs of clay—
now shall the Lord of Life deliver the wearied heap
from his wrath, the wretched from their terrors,
just as he often has done. (1-17)

A status update

Just for fun, I thought I'd calculate just how far I've come in terms of sheer number of lines of Anglo-Saxon poetry translated. With the finish of Daniel, I have rendered 11,297 lines of poetry out of roughly 20,000 lines extant. That works out to 56% of all available Old English poetry! And with the inevitable completion of Judith and the three parts of Christ, which should follow later this spring, that number will leap up to 13,355 or 67% of the extant canon.

I'd say between the plethora of Beowulf translations available, the publication of Word Exchange in 2011, and the evolving resources of this website, it is a good time for studying Anglo-Saxon poetry for scholars and teachers.

I pitch it all the time (on the sidebar of this site), but I'll say it again. This site exists in order to be useful to teachers of Anglo-Saxon poetry, to expose today's students to broader range of Old English texts written in translations more open to contemporary ideas of the Middle Ages and free from unnecessary archaisms. I am interested in receiving any and all criticism and commentary directed at improving the approach and accuracy of the texts, and I will gladly accept suggestions about what sorts of materials could be added in order to better serve the target population (who are primarily seen as students and non-specialist scholars). The point of operating this site as a blog, and not on my university's web server, is to make interaction with you more streamlined.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year II (Daniel LV)

Here is the conclusion to Daniel, featuring the feast of Belshazzar (Baldazar in the manuscript) and the writing on the wall. With this section, you can now find the complete Junius Manuscript here on this site. Which is terribly exciting to me, as that gives me two complete book-length manuscripts of translated poems.


Then among that nation was born the third generation after him.
The prince of the fortresses was Balthazar,
wielding the realm of men, until his pride devastated him,
a hideous over-mind. Then was the ending of days
that the Chaldeans kept the kingdom,
when the Measurer granted sovereignty
to the Medes and the Persians in a short space,
allowing the prosperity of Babylon to wane,
which those heroes should have held onto. (675-83)

God knew that their elder-men lived in unrighteousness
who should have directed the realm.
So then the lord of the Medes, sitting at home,
conceived something no man had ever before:
that he would destroy Babylon,
the temple-grounds of nobles, where noblemen
under the shelter of their walls passed around their wealth. (684-90)

That was the most well-known fortress to the people,
the greatest and the most famous inhabited by men,
the city of Babylon, until Balthazar by his terrible boasting
was tested by God. They sat at wine, enclosed in their walls,
never fearing the malice of their enemies,
even though a nation of foes had come traveling
in warrior’s kit unto that high citadel
so that they could break down Babylon. (691-99)

Then the Chaldean king sat at the feast unto the final day,
amid the men of his generation, when the leader
of that power grew drunk with mead.
He ordered his nobles to bear forth the treasures
of Israel, the holy vessels of sacrament,
in the hands of his men, the clean objects
which the Chaldeans had earlier seized
in Jerusalem with their majestic might
and their champions in the city,
when they destroyed the prosperity
of the Jews with the edges of their swords,
and through their clamorous coming,
the armies seized the bright trappings.
Then they dispersed the temple,
the hall of Solomon, boasting mightily. (700-711)

Then the prince of cities became blithe-minded,
vaunting terribly to anger God, speaking
that his armies were the most powerful
and more efficacious to make peace with men
than the Eternal Lord of Israel.
A sign appeared to them where he was staring,
terrifying for the earls inside the hall,
that he had spoken lying words before his people,
when an angel of the lord there in fright
allowed his hand to enter into that lofty palace,
and wrote upon the wall in mysterious letters,
blazing red book-staves, before those sitting in the citadel.
Then the folk-leader became fearful in his mind,
dismayed by the terror. He saw the angel’s hand
in the hall inscribing the punishment of the Shinarites. (712-26)

The multitude of men, heroes in the hall,
orated upon what that hand had written
as a signal to the city-dwellers.
Many men came to look upon that miracle.
They earnestly sought within their hearts’ thought
what the hand of the holy spirit had written.
Nor could the men crafty in secrets read
the angel’s message, nor the kin of nobles,
until Daniel came, chosen by the Lord,
wise and sooth-fast, venturing into the palace.
God’s craft was great in his spirit,
to whom the guardians of the city, as I have heard,
eagerly tried to purchase him with gifts
so that he would read and relate those book-staves
for them, what mystery dwelt there. (727-40)

Skilled in the law, he answered them,
the messenger of God, wise in his thoughts: (741-42)

“I will not bear to the people the judgments of the Lord
for payments of coin, nor can I for riches,
but I shall speak of fate unremunerated,
the mysteries of the word, which you cannot change.
In your presumption you bear in your possession
vessels of the holy sacrament, in the hands of men.
You all have been drinking to devils in them,
which before were held in Israel within the law,
beside the Ark of God, until your boasting betrayed them,
your wits drunken with wine—so shall it be for you! (743-52)

“Your lord never would have borne in boast
the gold vessels of God, nor crow more swiftly,
even though his armies brought the treasures
of Israel into the control of his keeping,
yet more often the lord of nations spoke
in true words over his own forces,
after the miracle of the Warden of Glory was revealed to him,
that he was alone the Lord and Sovereign of all creation,
who gave him glory, the undimmed profit of earthly reign,
and now you deny that he is living
who rules over devils in his majesty.”

[Possibly incomplete, but the final invocation of devils blends well with the next poem, Christ and Satan]