Saturday, March 2, 2013

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)

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