That matter became manifest to the earth-dwellers,
that the Measurer possessed the might and the strength
when he established the corners of the earth.
By himself he set up the sun and the moon,
the stones and the earth, the currents out at sea,
the water and the sky, through his wondrous might.
A clean and profound circuit he encompassed,
the Measurer in his might, and the whole of middle-earth.
He can himself scan the seas, the bottom of the ocean,
God’s own Son, and he can count up the showers of rain
and their every drop. The number of days
he established himself through his true might.
So the Wright through the Spirit of Glory planned
and ordained in six days the portion of earth, up in heaven,
and the towering sea. Who is he that knows
these pure and skillful thoughts except Eternal God? (1-18)
He parted out these joys and riches to the people,
Adam first of all, and a noble kindred, the origin-point of angels,
the one who soon perished. In their mind it seemed to them
that they were themselves the bestowers of the heavens,
the sovereigns of glory. It became worse for them,
then they settled a home in hell, one after another,
in that terrible grave where burning surges must be endured,
the sorrow of pains, not at all the light of the skies
had in heaven, loftily timbered up,
but they must dive down into that deep well
lowest under the headlands in that abysmal ground,
greedy and hungry. God alone knows
how he had doomed that shameful host! (19-33)
Then spoke the eldest out of hell, uttering statements,
cursing with his voice, in a voice of terror: “Whence has come
the majesty of angels, which we in heaven were used to possess?
This is a shadowy home, violently bound with fixed fiery bands.
The floor is in a boil, ignited in poison. It is not far from the end
which we must together suffer torment, pain and affliction—
not at all the fruits of glory we once had in heaven,
the joys of high seats. Listen! Once we possessed delight before the Lord,
singing in the skies, in better seasons, where now stand
the noble warriors around the Eternal and his high throne,
praising the Lord with words and deeds, and I must in torment
abide in bonds, nor ever hope for any better home for my over-mind.” (34-50)
Then terrible fiends answered him, dark and full of sin,
mourning their torment: “You betaught us through your lying words
that we did not have to heed the Savior.
To you alone it seemed that you owned all power,
the heavens and the earth, that you were Holy God,
the Shaper himself. Now are you bound fast
in fiery locks, just another criminal—
You believed by your glory that you possessed the world,
power over everything, and we were your angels by your side.
Terrifying is your face! Ill we have suffered for all your lying.
You said to us as truth that the measurer of mankind was your son—
now you have the more torment!” (51-64)
And so the sinful ones spoke to their elder chieftain
with lying words and in sorrowing speeches.
Christ had expelled them, deprived them of joys.
They had abandoned the light of the Lord
from above because of their exceeding pride—
they kept for themselves in their hopes
the very bottom of hell and a burning malice.
Once pale, they were changed, the wretched monsters,
the transformed spirits, and the fiends wandered about
throughout that terrible pit because of their arrogance,
which they formerly had performed. (65-74)
The prince of fiends spoke soon a second time.
Then was he affrighted after feeling many
of these torments. He sparked with flame and venom
when he began to speak. There was no pleasant joy
when he spoke wordfully in his wracking pains: (75-80)
“I was formerly in heaven a holy angel, dear to the Lord.
I had great delight in God on account of the Measurer,
and so did this host united. At that time I conceived in my brain
a wish to cast down the Radiance of Glory,
the Child of the Savior, to own for myself power
over the Celestial Cities, with every one as my possession,
and this miserable faction which I have led to a home in hell.
Consider this obvious token that I was banished below
into this accursed state, under the headlands,
into the bottom of the abyss. (81-90)
“Now I have conducted you all from your native land
into a home of captivity. There is no glory of the blessed here,
no wine-halls of the proud, nor the delights of the world,
no company of angels, nor may we possess
upper heaven again. This is a terrible house, kindled with fire.
I am hostile to God.
Eternally at hell’s door dwell dragons,
heated in their terror. They cannot help us.
This is a woeful house, replete with torment.
We have no right to this darkness, in which we can hide ourselves
in its abysmal shadow. Here is the voice of serpents,
here worms dwell. Here is the chain of torture
firmly bound. The fiends are fearsome,
dim and dark. Nor does day light this place,
the light of the Shaper, for the gloom of shadows. (91-105)
“Once I held power over all glory, before I was forced
to await what Lord God wished to adjudge me
in this awful place, stained upon the floor. Now I come faring
with a host of devils to this darksome house.
Yet at times I shall seek many places upon wing and flight—
and more of you as well, who acted at the start of these proud deeds.
Nor need we believe this, that the Glory-King will ever grant us
another home, a native land to own. The Son of the Sovereign
possesses for himself all the power to glory and torment. (106-18)
“Therefore I must, abject and wretched, wander the wider,
voyage on the paths of exile, deprived of glory,
bereaved of riches, keeping nothing of the joys
upwards among the angels, when I had earlier claimed
to be the Dispenser of the Sky myself, the Wielder of All Creatures.
Yet something worse befell me!” (119-24)
And so that accursed ghast spoke wordfully
about his torments, all together,
guilty of his crimes. The flaming light stood
throughout that terrible cavern, mixed with venom:
“I have such a stature of limb that I cannot lurk
in this broad hall, wounded by my sins.
Listen! Here heat and cold are at one time mingled;
Sometimes I hear infernal devils, a mourning tribe,
lamenting this ground under the headlands
At other times naked humans struggle with serpents.
This is a wind-torn hall entirely filled with terrible things. (125-36)
“Nor may I enjoy a more hopeful home, neither citadel
or household, nor may I gaze upon the brightness of creation
with my eyes evermore. I am now the worse that I ever knew
the light of glory upwards among the angels,
their song upon the wind, where the son of the Measurer,
the Blessed Child, has embraced them all
himself with a joyful noise. Nor may I harm
any of these souls —except the lonely one who he will not keep.
Then I am allowed to haul that one into my house of captivity,
bring him into my homestead, onto this bitter ground. (137-48)
“We were all unalike than we were formerly in heaven,
earlier holding beauty and distinction. Very often the voice of glory
brought us to the breast of the Child of the Savior,
where we heaved up the words of a praise-song
about him, light around the beloved and spoke them to the Lord.
Now I am stained of deeds, wounded with iniquities.
Now I must bear burning these chains of torment upon my back,
hot in hell, without the joy of hope.” (149-58)
Still the warden of many crimes spoke, the terrible monster
out from hell, tired from his torments. Words flew out sparking,
much like poison when he forced them out:
“Alas the majesty of the Lord! Alas the Helm of Multitudes!
Alas the might of the Measurer! Alas middle-earth!
Alas the light of day! Alas the joys of God!
Alas the host of angels! Alas upper heaven!
Alas that I am without all the joys of eternity,
so that I cannot reach out to heaven with my hands,
nor may I look up with my eyes, nor indeed shall I ever hear
with my ears the voice of the brightest trumpets!
Because I wished to drive the Lord, the Son of the Measurer
from his throne, and keep its power of delight for myself,
the glory and the joy. But something worse befell me,
than I was allowed to have as a hope. (159-75)
“Now I am separated from that gleaming host, withdrawn
from the light into this hateful home. Nor can I conceive
how I have come into this place, into this abjected cloud,
stained with malicious sins, cast out of the world.
I know now this fact: that he will deny us the joys of eternity,
he that is the Heaven-King, and all who do not think to obey
or please the Measurer. I must endure this killing,
this woe and this torment and wrack, deprived of good things,
marked by my former-deeds, because I thought to drive the Lord
from his throne, the Sovereign of Armies. I must now set myself
upon the ways of exile, sorrowing, upon these wide paths.” (176-88)
Then he went to hell when he was prostrated,
the adversary of God, and so did his cohort,
gluttonous and greedy, when God pursued them
into that overheated house, which is named hell.
—Therefore must every human think how not to provoke
the Child of the Wielder. Let him take as an example
how the dark fiends were entirely overcome for their over-pride. (189-96)
Let us take as our delight the Lord of Hosts,
upwards in eternal joy, the Wielder of Angels.
He showed that he possessed the great strength,
the powerful might, when the drove out that multitude,
the captives from his high throne. Let us remember the Holy Lord,
eternal in his glory, and choose for ourselves a glorious home
with the Prince of All Creation, with the King of All Kings,
such is Christ named — (197-204)
Bearing in breast these blissful thoughts, peace and wisdom,
let us remember the truth and the right, when we think to bow down
to that high-seat, and ask for mercy from the Sovereign.
Then it would behoove the one dwelling here,
with all the delights of the world, to shine in beauty
when he soon seeks a second life, a fairer land than this earth.
There is beauty and joy there, the fruits shine brightly
across the cities. That is a broad land, a more hopeful home
in the realm of heaven, more pleasant to Christ.
Let us turn to that place where he sits himself, the Wielder of Victories,
the Lord and Savior, in that home more dear, and about that highest throne
stands the white wings of angels and the more blessed souls,
holy heaven-legions praising the Lord with words and deeds.
Their beauty shines forth across the world of all worlds with the Glory-King. (205-23)
Further still, as I have heard, confessed the fiends.
There was for them all the full strength of terror and torment;
the Glory-King had abandoned them for their over-pride.
They spoke quickly a second word: “Now is obvious that we have sinned
up in our old home. We must ever wage this glory-less struggle
against the Lord’s might. So! We were once allowed to dwell
in the beauty of glory where we wished to obey Holy God,
and must speak, by the thousands, a hymn about the throne.
While we were there, we lived in delights, and heard the voice of glory,
the sound of the trumpet. Bright-words arose, the First Chief of Angels,
and unto that noble every saint bowed. Victory-bright he arose,
the Eternal Lord, and stood over us and blessed the blissful crowd
every day, and his dear Son, the Shaper of Souls. God himself was
the defender of all who came up there, and who had believed
in him before on earth. But it gave me offense that the Lord was
so strong and stiff-minded. I began to step forth alone
among the angels, and spoke unto them all: ‘I can teach you all
long-enduring counsel, if you will trust in my power.
Let us despise the Great Defender, the Wielder of Armies,
and take this light of glory, entirely as our possession.
What we have endured all this time is a empty boast.’ (224-53)
“Then we all agreed that we would drive out the Lord
from his precious home, the King from his fortress.
It is widely known that we must dwell on the exile’s track,
the grim ground. God himself keeps the kingdom. He is the sole king,
who angered made this happen, the Eternal Lord,
the Measurer so mighty. Now must this host here abide in their sins,
some hurrying on the breeze, flying over the earth.
The flames are round about around every one, though up in the air.
Nor may he ever touch the souls of those who seek upwards,
blessed from the earth, though I can grab in my hands
the heathen opponents of God and take them to the very bottom. (254-68)
“Some of us shall travel about throughout the lands of men
and peaceless often disturb the tribes of men across middle-earth.
I must suffer here every event, mourn these bitter harms and evils,
sick and sorrowful, because I wielded them myself
when I tried to establish a homeland in heaven.
Will the Eternal One ever wish to allow us habitation
in heaven’s realm, possessing our native seat, as he once did?”
So mourned the adversaries of God, hot in hell.
For them was the wrath of God the Savior for their blasphemies. (269-81)
Therefore might one conceive, every living person whose heart avails,
to remove himself from wicked thoughts and hateful folly.
Let us always remember in our hearts the strength of the Measurer
and to make ready a green road rising up before us,
upwards to the angels, where Almighty God is.
And the Free-born Son of God will embrace us
if we think first of him while we are on the earth, and trust
ourselves to his holy help. Then he will not forsake us,
but give us life instead, upwards among the angels,
and a blessed delight. The Bright One will reveal to us
a stable home, the glorious city-walls. Radiantly they will shine
the blessed souls, deprived of their sorrows,
where they are ever allowed to dwell forthwards
at the citadel and regal throne. Let us make this known! (282-97)
Let us declare this upon the earth, where we formerly were living,
and unlock eagerly the strongbox of the Sovereign—
let our spirits understand! A thousand angels will come toward us,
if we are allowed to go thither, and have labored for that
while upon the earth. Therefore he will be blessed who ever despised evil,
pleasing the Lord, and drowning his sins. So he will say himself: (298-305)
“Truth-fast men, like to the sun, are adorned beautifully
in their Father’s kingdom, they shine in the shield-town.”
There the Shaper himself embraces them in amity,
the Father of Mankind, raises them graciously into the light of heaven,
where they may dwell with the Glory-King, always forever—
they will possess the joy of all joys with the Lord God,
ever and forever, always without end. (306-14)
Alas it is so! The accursed thought in his anger that he would
no longer obey the Heaven-King, the Comforting Father.
The bottom of hell boiled with venom, hot under the captives.
The devils howled widely throughout their windy hall,
bewailing their woes, their wickedness and deadly sin.
There was a multitude there so immolated—that was all a very strong fate.
Then was their lord, who had come first forth among the foot-soldiers,
bound fast in fire and licking flame. That was an unceasing calamity.
His thanes must also dwell there in that terrible homeland,
not at all up there hearing in heaven that holy delight
where they had often a lovely following upwards among the angels.
They were not allowed to dwell with any of the good things,
except for the fires of the abyss, and that cursed hall
where there are woes and cries widely heard,
and a gnashing of teeth, and the lamentations of men. (315-33)
Nor had Satan any hope except for chill and fire, woe and torment,
and a mass of serpents, dragons and adders—and that darksome abode.
Therefore one could hear, he who was twelve miles from hell,
there was a grinding of teeth, loud and miserable. The adversaries of God
traveled throughout hell, kindled in heat from above and without—
their woe was everywhere—wearied with torture, beshorn of glory,
deprived of delights. They heaved up profound thoughts,
when they had established their homes in heaven,
that they wished to seize from the Savior Christ
the kingdom of heaven, yet he had rightfully maintained
the heavenly household and that holy throne. (334-47)
There is no one so wise nor so crafty, nor so knowledgeable
except God himself that could speak of the light of heaven;
how its rays shone there from all about by the might of the Measurer,
throughout that famous kindred, there the angels hold blessed delights
and the saints sing before God (that is he himself). (348-54)
Then there are the blessed, who have come from earth,
bearing in their bosoms blossoms of sweet smell,
the pleasant herbs that are the word of God.
Then the Father of Mankind embraces them and he blesses them
with his right hand, leading them into the light where they have life,
always and forever, in the lofty home, that bright city-stead.
Prosperity shall belong to all who think to obey the Savior,
and it is well for them who can perform it. (355-64)
That angel-kin once was named and called Lucifer the light-bearer
in years gone by in God’s kingdom. Then he incited a crime
in that home of glory, and desired to possess it all in over-pride.
Then Satan darkly thought that he would create a high-throne in heaven
upwards among the eternal. He was their prince, the first-chief of evil.
It soon grieved him when he had to bow towards hell
and his fellows with him, gliding into abjection, the hatred
of the Savior and never afterwards were they allowed to witness
the face of the Eternal One forever and ever. (365-78a)
Then terror came to them, and a crash before the Deemer,
when he bowed and broke the doors of hell. Bliss came to men
when they saw the head of the Savior. Then was that folk terrified,
who we named before, they were all frightened with terror,
widely throughout their windy hall, and they complained wordfully:
“It is harsh now that this storm comes—the thanes in their host,
the Prince of Angels. He carries before him a more beautiful light
than we have ever before seen with our eyes, except when we dwelt
upwards among the angels. (378b-89)
“Now he will destroy all our torments through his glorious skill.
Now this terror comes, a crash before the Lord, and now this sorrowful crowd
must soon endure suffering. It is that one himself, the Son of the Sovereign,
the Lord of Angels. He will lead these souls upwards from here,
and we after always will suffer the humiliation of his wrathful works.” (390-97)
Then he turned to hell, the Hero of Men, the Measurer by his might.
He wished to lead forth a number of men, many thousands
up to his homeland. Then came the voices of angels,
a thundering at the crash of dawn. The Lord himself had
conquered the enemy. Their feud was still evident
at the start of day, when the terror came. Then he allowed
the blessed souls to voyage up, the kindred of Adam, but Eve might not yet
look upon the glory before she spoke wordfully: (398-407)
“I once angered you, Eternal Lord, when we two, Adam and I,
ate the apple through the adder’s hatred, as we never should have.
The terrible one taught us, he that ever now burns in his bonds,
that we would own riches, a holy home, and heaven to rule.
And we trusted the words of the cursed one, we seized it
with our hands on the holy tree, the bright fruits. Bitterly we paid for it
when we must venture into this hot cavern, and for untold
thousands of winters dwell there afterwards, severely ignited. (408-19)
“Now I implore you, Guardian of Heaven’s Realm, for my household,
to lead us from here, and your legions of angels, that I can and may
be taken upwards away, with my kinsfolk. And about three nights ago,
a servant of the Savior came homewards to hell. He is now stoutly bound
in captivity, wearied with torments, because the Glory-King
became angered with him due to his pride. You said to us truly
that God himself would illuminate this house for all hell-dwellers.
Then everyone arose and rested against his arm, leaning against
his hands. Though the terror of hell seemed terrifying,
they were all joyful in their suffering that the Free-Lord
wished to come to hell to help them.” (420-34)
Then she stretched up her hands to the Heaven-King,
and begged the Measurer for mercy through the office of Mary:
“Listen! you are, my Lord, born from my daughter in middle-earth,
to be a help to all mankind. Now it is obvious that you are God
himself and the Eternal First-Chief of all creation.” (435-40)
Then the Eternal Lord allowed them to travel upwards in their glory.
He had inflicted chains of torment upon the fiends,
and thrust them further into the abjected darkness,
bowed them down into constraint, where now Satan
harangues them darkly, that wretched monster,
and the terrible ones with him, wearied with tortures.
Not at all may they hold the light of glory, but only the bottom of hell,
nor may they ever hope for their return afterwards.
The Lord God became angered with them, and gave them
the chains of torment, pain as possession, and the despair of terror,
the shadows of death, dim and darkened,
the hot ground of hell and the fear of death. (441-54)
Lo, that was lovely when the foot soldiers returned
up to their homeland, with the Eternal amid them,
the Measurer of Mankind, into that renowned city!
They heaved them up among them upon holy hands,
the prophets up to their native land, the kindred of Abraham.
Then the Lord himself had subjugated death and put the enemy
to flight. That in days of old the prophets had said that he would do so.
This was all accomplished in the early morning, before the rush of dawn,
that the crashing came down loud from heaven, when the doors of hell
were broken open and bowed down. The killers were worn down
when they spied the beams of light so radiant. (455-67)
Then was the Eldest Child of God sitting among his army,
and he said in truth-words: “Wise spirits, I have wrought you all
through my might, Adam first and his noble wife.
Then they begat by the pleasure of God forty children
so that forth from there a multitude was born in middle-earth
and they were allowed to dwell for many winters,
noblemen in the native lands, until it soon happened
that the enemy in his crimes soon estranged them.
Fault is everywhere! (468-78)
“I set up in this new Paradise-plain a tree with branches,
so that the boughs bore apples high up in them, and you two ate them,
the bright fruits as the harmer ordered you to,
the hand-thane of hell. Therefore you held the hot deeps
because you disobeyed the word of the Savior,
and ate this terrible thing. The monster was before you,
the one that gave you both baleful thoughts. (479-86)
“Then I rued that my own handiwork should suffer the bonds
of this prison. There was no capacity of men, no power of angels,
no deed of prophets, no wisdom of humans, that might assist you,
except the Savior God, he who established that torment before in revenge.
I ventured to earth, through the office of women, down from my native home,
and experienced on earth many tortures and much injury.
Many men contrived about me, by day and by night,
how they might do me the blow of death, the rulers of realms. (487-98)
Then did the appointed time pass by that I was in this world,
a count of winters, three and thirty years, before I was to suffer.
I remembered this multitude and my home—
long might I lead them from captivity to home,
upwards to my homeland, so that they should possess
the glories of the Lord and the majesty of his magnificence.
They should dwell in delights, having the fruits of glory
by the thousands. I interceded for you when men stuck me
with spears upon the cross, upon the gallows. The young man struck me there—
and I came soon upwards to the eternal joys and to the Holy Lord.” (499-511)
So spoke the Warden of Glory wordfully, the Measurer of Mankind,
early in the morning after the Lord God had arisen from death.
There was no stone so strongly fastened, though it were entirely
embraced by iron, that could oppose his great power,
but he went out, the Lord of Angels, into the fastness
and ordered his angels all-bright to bring near his cherished disciples
and ordered them to say especially to Simon Peter that he could look out
for God in Galilee, active and eternal, just as he did before. (512-23)
Then I have heard that the disciples went together, all of them to Galilee—
they had the fruit of the spirit, perceiving the Son of Holy God
so they saw where the Son of the Measurer as he stood on high,
the Eternal Lord, God in Galilee. The disciples all ran to that one,
to where the Eternal was. They fell upon the ground, and bowed to his feet,
thanking their Prince that it had thus happened that they had seen
the Shaper of Angels. Then at once spoke Simon Peter: (524-34)
“Are you, Lord, worthied with this glory? We have seen you
at one moment, a heathen man laying hateful bonds upon you with his hands.
It will grieve them when they are soon shown their final fate.” (535-39)
Some could not recognize him in their hearts. One, named Didimus,
was dear to the Lord before he handled the Savior with his own hands
about the side where he was losing blood. It fell to the earth, baptism’s bath.
Lovely was that action that the Free Lord endured, our Prince.
He mounted onto the cross and his blood poured out,
God upon the gallows, through the power of his spirit. (540-48)
Therefore men must at all times say thanks to the Lord
in their deeds and works, because he led us home out of captivity,
upwards to the homeland, where he should own the glory of the Lord,
and we in our delights are allowed to dwell. For us is the light of glory
revealed brightly, to those who think well. (549-56)
Then the Eternal Lord was upon the earth forty days,
followed by the people, revealed to mankind, before he would bring
the Holy Ghost to the heavenly realm, the Chief of the City-Folk
into that famous creation. He mounted up into heaven, the Shaper of Angels,
the Wielder of Hosts. Then came the voice of the skies,
holy from heaven. Amidst it was the hand of God, receiving that Free-Lord,
and leading him forth into the holy home, the Prince of Heaven.
Crowds of angels fluttered about him by the thousands. (557-68a)
Then it happened thus, when the Savior Christ yet spoke that
he would in about ten nights strengthen his disciples, his twelve apostles,
with the grace of his spirit. Then he had established uncountable souls,
the Living God. One of these was Judas, who had earlier sold out the Bright One
as a sacrifice, the Saving Lord. That deed prospered him little,
after he had betrayed the Child of the Sovereign for silver treasures.
The wretched monster darkly requited him that deed inside hell. (568b-78)
The Son now sits at his Father’s right hand. He doles out every day,
the Lord of Armies, help and salvation to all the children of men
throughout middle-earth. That is known to many that he alone
is the Wright and Master of all creation through his glorious craft.
The Sovereign sits in heaven with the prophets and holy angels.
The Child of Glory keeps his own throne surrounded by the skies. (579-87)
Lead us there to the light through his leechcraft, where we might ourselves
be seated with the Lord, upwards among the angels, and keep that same light
where his holy household now dwells, living in delight—
where the fruits of glory are brightly revealed. Let us think well
so that we obey eagerly the Savior and be pleasing to Christ.
There is a life more excellent than we may ever acquire here on earth. (588-96)
Now that Prince renowned has announced to us, Almighty God,
the Lord himself, on Doomsday. He has commanded the high-angels
in a booming voice to blow their horns over the city’s habitations
throughout the corners of the earth. Then from this earth humans shall awaken—
the dead from the dust arising through the Lord’s might.
That will be the longest day, and the greatest din loudly heard,
when the Savior arrives, the Wielder amid the clouds, coming in this world. (597-607)
Then he will part out the fair and the unclean into two halves,
the good and the evil. Then the truth-fast on his right hand
will rise to their rest with the Warden of Heaven.
Then they will be overjoyed, those allowed into the city
to go the realm of God, and he will bless them with his right hand,
the King of All Creation, calling over them all: “You are all welcome!
Go into the light of glory to the kingdom of heaven,
where you shall have eternal rest, always and forever.” (608-18)
Then the evil-doers will stand there, those who have sinned—
they will be quaking when the Son of God will judge them
through the power of his deeds. They will hope that they will be allowed
into the famous city upwards to the angels, just as the others were,
but the Eternal Lord shall speak to them, saying over them all:
“Dive down now, accursed, into that house of torment
with the greatest haste. I do not know you now.” (619-27)
At once after those words, the cursed spirits, the captives of hell,
hurry them on their way by the thousands, and lead them
in that direction into the cavern of criminals, shoving them to the bottom,
into evil’s narrowness—and never afterwards will they ever be allowed
upwards from there, but there they must suffer miserable tortures,
bonds and imprisonment, and endure the deep frozen bottom of hell
and devils’ talk. Oh, how they will be often ordained in shame
by swarthy and painful killers, fiends confessing in violence and sin,
where they have often forgotten their Free Lord, the Eternal Governor,
who should have been a hope to them. Let us, lo! consider how
throughout this world we have begun to obey our Savior! (628-43)
Eagerly through the grace of God let us remember the fruit of the spirit,
how blessed it is where he sits on high himself among the clouds,
the Son of the Savior. There is a golden gate, adorned with gemstones,
wound up in delights, for those who are allowed to go into the light of glory,
the kingdom of God, and around those walls they shine beautifully,
the spirits of angels and the souls of the blessed, who have journeyed thence.
There the martyrs are pleasing to the Measurer, and praise the High-Father
with holy voices, the King in his city. They all call out thus:
“You are the Helm of Heroes and the Heaven-Judge,
the First Chief of Angels, and the Issue of the Earth.
You have conducted us up to this blessed home!” (644-58)
So they praised the Warden of Glory wordfully, the thanes around their Lord—
there is great majesty, a song at his throne, and he is himself the king,
the Lord of All, in that eternal creation. (659-62)
That is the Lord, he who suffered death for us, the Prince of Angels.
Likewise, he fasted for forty days, the Measurer of Mankind
through the power of his mercy. And then it happened that the Accursed,
who was previously cast down from heaven and who sank down into hell,
then he tempted the King of All Beings. He brought to his lap broad stones,
and commanded him for his hunger to create loaves, saying:
“If you have a power so great…”
Then the Eternal Lord answered him… (663-73)
[no break in MS, but a gap in sense is posited here]
“Don’t you know, cursed one, that it was written, ‘But for me alone…?’
Yet you have set it down, O Owner of Victory, the light of the living,
reward without end, in heaven’s realm, and holy delights.” (674-78)
Then he took Jesus Christ up with his hands, the terrible one
through scorn, and heaved him upon his shoulder,
the spirit of evil’s harm, and mounted up to a mountain,
setting him upon its peak, the Savior Lord:
“Look now full wide, over the land-dwellers.
I shall give you into your own power the people and the earth.
Take from me in this place both city and spacious dwelling
into your power, of the rule of heaven, if you are the rightful king
of angels and men, as you have before thought.” (679-88)
Next the Eternal Lord answered him: “Depart, accursed,
into your cavern of pain, Satan yourself. For you is surely torment
prepared, not at all the realm of God. But I command you
through the highest power to announce no hope unto the hell-dwellers
but you can speak of the greatest sorrow to them, that you met
the Measurer of All Creatures, the King of Mankind. Turn yourself behind me!
Know you as well, accursed, how wide and broad and dreary
is the vault of hell, and measure it with your hands! Grip it by the ground—
proceed like that until you know all its circuit and measure it first
from above all the way to the bottom, and how broad is its black breadth.
Then you shall know the more eagerly that you have struggled against God,
after you have measured it then with your hands how high and how deep
hell may be within, the grim grave-house. Go quickly to it, before two hours
are past, so that you have measured the home marked out for you.” (689-709)
At that point wrack came resting upon that cursed being.
Satan himself ran away and fell into torment, the wretched monster.
Sometimes he measured with his hands its woe and its tortures.
Sometimes the dark flame leapt against the hateful.
Sometimes he saw the captives lying in hell.
Sometimes a cry mounted up when they saw with their eyes
in that terrible place. The opponents of God had struggled […]
the black spirit of harm, that stood upon the floor. (710-18)
Then it seemed to him that there was from there to the doors of hell
a hundred thousand miles reckoned out, just as the Mighty had ordered him
that through his own craft to measure out his torment.
Then he remembered that he stood at the very bottom.
He looked about without hope across that hateful hole, the terror with his eyes,
until the terrible horror, a host of devils climbed up then. (719-26)
With words of pain, those cursed ghasts began to speak and tell:
“Alas! May evil be upon you always! You never wished for good!” (727-29)
Finit Liber II. Amen.
So, decades ago, I wrote a series of riddles in Anglo-Saxon four-stress alliteration style, but in English, for a European Medieval History club. In my research for the style, I came across an excerpt where God is discussing how he made the measure of everything in Creation, not in the judgment sense, but in the sense of design and intention. I recall thinking, “that all seems very Masonic”. Recently, I tried to locate the verse, and came upon this collection (I have read almost every piece here, but not every verse yet, just the likely candidates so far, so I might not have seen it yet). As much, as I have enjoyed reading this, I am still perplexed. The Measurer seems to be the far and away the most common name of God and Jesus in these verses, but usually in the “judge” rather than “engineer” sense; usually the Measurer of man or men, or, occasionally, everything. So, now I wish two things:
1. Identification of the source where God is discussing how he made the measure of all things he created.
2. An academic discussion of the particular Anglo-Saxon cosmology/theology of God the Measurer (more than a simple statement that “God controls everything.” Or “God judges everything.”).
Email me whether you would like to see some of my riddles.
Hi Harold, thank you for your questions and comment. “Measurer” is my translation for the OE “Me(o)tod” which is an ancestor of the verb “to mete” — i.e. “the one who metes, or measures, or ordains”. I like it because it combines both the idea of God as craftsman and sovereign of the universe. As far as I know, I’m the only translator who uses that phrase. Bradley usually says “Ordaining Lord” or just “Lord” for instance. So I’m not aware of any OE scholarship that examines the idea per se. As for the passage where God says he measured all things I am uncertain. I do know in Christ and Satan, Satan is condemned to measure the extent of hell “with his hands”, but that’s the closest I’m remembering right now.