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)

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