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)

No comments: