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)

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