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)

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