A great duty is ours that we wordfully praise
the Heavens’ Ward, the Glory-King of Armies,
and love him in our hearts! He is the Strength’s Success,
the Head of all High-Creation, the Almighty Lord.
There was never an origin for him, a start to his becoming,
nor will there come an end of the Perpetual Lord—
yet he will forever have dominion over the seats of heaven.
In high majesty he holds, truth-fast and treasure-strong,
heaven’s embracing country, which was established far and wide
for the children of glory by the might of god
and the watchers of souls. They possess radiance and joy,
the bands of angels, and the bright bliss of their creator.
Great was their prosperity! (ll. 1-14)
Glorious servants exalting their prince, speaking
willingly his praises, celebrating the Lord of their Life—
they were the most blessed of the Master’s multitudes.
They knew not of sins, the doing of misdeeds:
instead they lived in eternal peace of their Prince.
They raised naught else in the heavens but righteousness and truth,
before that warden of angels, out of over-mind, parted them into error.
They wished to labor no longer to their own advantage,
but instead turned themselves from God’s love.
They had a great boast —
they could share, by the strength of their soldiers,
with the Lord his glory-bound home, spacious and heaven-bright.
There pain touched them, envy and pride, and the heart of those angels
that first performed that evil advice, to weave and arouse,
then Lucifer spoke a word, thirsting for trouble,
wishing to possess a home and high-throne in the northern part
of the realm of heaven. (15-34a)
Then was God furious and wrathful against that army
which previously he had honored with beauty and glory.
For the pledge-breakers he shaped an agonizing home,
in recompense for their efforts, out of hell-cries and harsh hatreds.
Our Lord commanded that house of suffering stand ready
for its exiles—deep, joy-lacking—the wardens of souls,
then he readily knew it was surrounded by endless night,
filled with torment, thoroughly filled with fire and a fearful cold—
with fume and crimson flame. Then he ordered terrifying torments
be increased across that damned house. They had grimly amassed myriad wrongs
against God: theirs was a cruel reward achieved afterward! (34b-46)
The wrath-minded said that they wished to possess
that realm, and they easily could do so. Their hope
deceived them when the Wielder, the High-King of Heaven,
raised his lofty hands against their forces.
The foolish and wicked angels could not flex their strength
against the Measurer, but the famous one took the pride
from them, and humbled their arrogance.
Then he grew furious, smiting the sinful rebels
with his victorious might, his magnificence and power—
depriving his enemy of their joy, peace and all happiness,
their bright glory—and mightily avenged his anger
upon his enemies with his own majesty, a violent throwing down.
He had a stern heart, enraged fiercely, seizing in his wrath
the hostile in his hands—and in his grappling hold shattering them,
angry in mind. His adversaries were deprived of homeland,
from the glorious dwellings of God. (47-64)
Then our Creator condemned them and cut them off,
the over-proud tribe of angels from heaven, the pledge-lacking army.
The Wielder sent the evil-minded forces
onto a long journey, the miserable spirits—
their boasts were broken, their stubbornness destroyed,
and majesty humiliated, and their beauty defiled.
After that they hovered in dark tribulation—
they need not laugh loudly on their trek, but in hell’s torments
they dwelt exhausted, knowing woe, pain and sorrow,
suffering torments, covered up in darkness, severe retribution
after they began to struggle against God. (65-77)
Then was there true peace in the heavens just as before
and the fair practice of concord. The Lord was beloved by all,
a Prince among his thanes. They grew in majesty,
the joyous multitudes with their Master. (78-81)
Then they were united, those dwelling in heaven,
the homeland of glory. Spite ebbed away between angels,
the persecution and warfaring’s flaming hostility,
after the war-drunk had been disavowed by heaven,
deprived of its light. In their track their former thrones
stood widely, most magnificently rich—growing in graces
in God’s realm, bright and fixed in fruits, yet deprived of dwellers,
ever since those miserable spirits had gone,
wretches to exile’s realm within a prison of torments. (82-91)
Then our Prince pondered with the thoughts of his mind,
how he might re-establish his illustrious creation,
the homeland’s foundations and the heaven-bright homes
for the better host, those that gave over the boast-workers,
high in the heavens. Therefore the Holy God willed for them,
with powerful might, that an enclosure under the skies
might be established—an earth and over-heaven and broad waters—
and worldly creatures sent as a replacement of the wrathful,
those fallen from sheltering heaven. (92-102)
Nor was there any creation here yet—
nothing but shadowy darkness,
yet this wide ground stood, deep and lightless,
remote from the Lord, idle and unavailing.
With his eyes he gazed, the Strong-Souled King,
and beheld that place, deprived of joys,
seeing the dark blackness hovering in perpetual night
dismal under the skies, gloomy and waste,
until this earthly creation became by the word
of the Glory-King. First he shaped here, the Eternal Lord,
the Helm of all Creation, the heaven and the earth,
he reared up the sky, and this roomy land he established
by his strong powers, the Lord Almighty. (103-116a)
The earth was not yet green with grass; the spear-waves
were covered by the black endless night, broad and wide,
the dark tides. Then was the Spirit Guarding Heaven,
gloriously bright, borne over the waters with mighty speed
The Maker of Angels, the Dispenser of Life ordered
light to come forth across the spacious ground.
Quickly the command of the High-King was fulfilled —
His holy light waxed over the wasteland,
just as the Workman required. (116b-125)
Then the Victorious Sovereign sundered light from darkness
across the water-flood, shadow against splendor.
Life’s Dispenser fashioned for both a name—
light was first called “Day” through the Lord’s word,
a creation beauty-bright. It pleased the Lord well
at the dawn of that forth-bringing moment.
The very first day saw the dark and dismal shadow
decreasing across the spacious earth. (126-34)
Then time passed, hurrying across the armature
of middle-earth, the Maker pushed along the brilliant light,
our Shaper, and that first evening afterwards.
Shadowy darkness pressed on after it, hastening along its trail—
that Prince himself created the name “Night” for it.
Our Savior sundered them — they have ever since
accomplished and performed the desire of the Lord,
eternally over the earth. Then came the second day,
a light after darkness. Then the Warden of Life ordered that
a winsome sky-structure be made in the midst of the watery flood.
Our Sovereign divided the waters and then created
the fastness of the skies; so that the All-powerful heaved
up from the earth through his own word, the Lord Almighty.
The ocean was parted under the high-heavens with holy might,
water from those waters that abide under the firmament of the mortal roof. (135-53)
Then the third lovely morning came over the earth
in swift journey. Neither the broad lands nor the waves
were useful yet to the Maker, but the ground stood covered
fast by the waters. The Lord of Angels commanded by word
that the waters that kept their course under the skies
be held in common, their place now fixed.
Then quickly there stood the broad sea
beneath the heavens, just as the Holy One ordained
at once, and then was separated the water from the land.
The Ward of Life, the Herdsman of Hosts,
then saw this dry place, was revealed wide,
then that Glory-King named it the earth.
The proper course of their waves was established
and fettered there… (154-68)
[one or more leaves are missing here, containing the rest of the account of the days of Creation]
…Nor did it seem suitable to the Guardian of the Skies
that Adam should be alone for long in Paradise-plain,
that recent creation, as its shepherd and keeper.
Therefore the High-King, the Lord Almighty,
produced a help for him—a woman wrought and a support given,
the Light’s-Origin of Life, to that beloved man. (169-75)
God pulled out some material from Adam’s body,
and artfully extracted a rib from his side. Adam was fast at rest,
and sleeping softly, he knew neither pain, no deal of trouble,
nor did there come any blood from the wound,
but the Lord of Angels drew forth that burgeoning bone
from his body, the man unwounded, and from that God
created a beautiful woman. A spirit was formed inside her,
a perpetual soul. She was like an angel, and that Eve,
Adam’s wife, was imbued with spirit. They were both
brightly beautiful in their youth, brought forth into the world
by the might of the Maker. They knew how to do nothing evil
nor how to accomplish it, but the love of the Lord
was burning in both their breasts. (176-91)
Then the Blithe-Hearted King blessed them,
the Maker of All Creation, those first two,
the mother and father, the woman and weaponed man.
God spoke to them by word: “Thrive and multiply,
fill the ever-greening earth with your offspring,
your family, your sons and daughters.
The salt waters must remain in both your power
as well as all this world’s creation. Brook these blessed days
and the ocean’s bounty and the birds of heaven.
You are given dominion over the wild beasts
and the clean cattle and all things living,
those that tread upon the land, imbued with life,
and those that the flood rouses throughout the whale-road—
all shall heed you.”(192-205)
[at least one page is missing here]
Then our Shaper observed his lovely work
and the fruit of his blossoms of this recent creation.
Paradise-plain stood good and ghostly,
filled with the enduring goods of grace.
Flowing waters from gushing springs
beautifully irrigated that pleasant land,
The heavens did not yet carry the rains
across the spacious earth, black upon the wind,
however the earth stood adorned with blooms. (206-15a)
Four noble rivers held their outward course
from that youthful Paradise. These were parted
by the power of the Lord, all from one source,
waters beauty-bright, when he wrought the earth,
and sent them into the world. Men of nations
dwelling on the earth called one of these Phison.
It enfolds broadly that portion of the earth about,
Havilah with bright streams. In that homely ground,
men, the children of human nations, discover near and far
gold and the best kinds of gemstones, just as books say to us.
Then the second river flows around the rim of Ethiopian land
and possessions, that enormous kingdom, that one is named the Gihon.
The third is the Tigris, that one along the nation, a river overflowing,
surrounding Assyria. Likewise is that fourth, which now among
many peoples and men widely name it the Euphrates. (215b-34)
[at least one page is missing here]
[The transition from Genesis A and the opening of Genesis B are missing due to several lost pages…]
“… but you both may enjoy all of the others, leaving alone
that one tree. Guard yourselves against that fruit.
Nor will there be any lack of desirable things for you.”
Then Adam and Eve bowed down their heads devoutly
to the Heaven-King in reply and spoke all thanks
for his wisdom and their lessons. God allowed them to dwell in that land.
Then the Holy Lord departed for the heavens, the Strong-minded King.
His handiwork stood together on the sand,
knowing nothing of sorrow to give them lament,
if only they should perform the pleasure of God forever.
They were beloved of God so long as they kept his holy word. (235-45)
The All-Wielder, the Holy Lord, through his hand-power
had created ten kindred of angels, in them he trusted well.
that they wished to pursue his service, working his desires,
therefore he granted them intelligence
and shaped them with his hands, the Holy Lord. (246-51)
He had established these angels so blessedly—
but one among them he had made so strong,
so mighty in his mind-thoughts.
God allowed him to wield such power,
highest after himself in heavens’ realm.
He had shaped this one so splendidly—
so beautiful was his flowering form
in the heavens granted him by the Lord of Armies.
He was like the stars gleaming.
Praises of the Lord he should have wrought—
He should have loved his happiness in the heavens,
should have thanked in the shine
the Lord for the rewards allotted him, those allowed
his servant to steward for a long time. (252-58)
But this one turned himself away unto worse affairs.
He thought to heave up a struggle against the highest,
the Sovereign of Heaven aseat upon the holy throne.
Beloved was he to our Lord—this could not be hidden from him
so that his angel began to become overly proud,
heaving himself up against his Master, seeking hateful words
and boasting speech against him. He wished to serve God no longer. (259-63)
He said that that his body was light and brilliant,
beautiful and hue-bright, nor could he find it
in his heart to serve the Lord as vassal.
It seemed to this one that he possessed greater power and craft
than Holy God could have at muster.
He spoke many words, that angel over-proud.
He pondered through his own skill
how he might create a stronger throne for himself,
higher in the heavens. He said that his mind had urged him
to construct a strengthened stronghold in the west and the north.
He said that it seemed doubtful to him to remain subordinate to God. (264-77)
“Why must I toil,” he asked. “There is no need at all
for me to have a master. I can mold many
wondrous things with my own hands.
I have great enough power to make ready
a godly throne — to be master in heaven.
Why must I scrape after his favor, bowing to him in such vassalage?
I can be a god just like him—
Strong warriors stand beside me, who will not withdraw from battle,
heroes hard-hearted. They have chosen me as their lord,
these brave warriors. With such allies one could devise a plan
to seize with such comrades-in-arms. These eager friends are mine,
loyal to their hewn hearts. I can be their master,
to rule this realm. And so it does not seem to me right
that I should need to flatter him at all, a god after any god.
Nor will I be one of his subordinates for long.” (278-91)
When the All-Ruling heard all this, that his angel in great pride
puffed himself up against his Master, speaking presumptuous words,
foolishly against his Lord. “He must be punished for his deeds,
severed from his works of strife, and must have his punishment,
for the greatest of all deadly sins.” So ought every man who strives
against his Sovereign, with evil against the Magnificent Lord.
Then the Mighty grew anger-swollen, the Highest Wielder of Heaven,
and threw that one from the high throne. (292-300)
He had earned hatred from his Master, his grace he had forlorn,
and God grew angry in his heart. For that reason he must seek the abyss
of terrible hell-torments, just as he struggled against the Holder of Heaven.
He exiled him then from his favor and cast him into hell,
into the deep chasm where he changed into a devil,
the enemy with all his allies. They fell down from heaven
a very long time: three nights and days,
those angels from heaven into hell—the Lord debased them all into demons.
Because they did not wish to worthy his deeds and words,
therefore Almighty God routed them into the worse light under the earth,
deprived of victory in dark hell. There each of the fiends possess,
in the immeasurably long night, fire everpresent.
Then there comes in the dawn an eastern wind and frost wickedly cold.
Always there was fire and piercing—each one must have
a hard torment, wrought as punishment for them.
Their world was changed and for the first time,
hell was filled with those adversaries. (301-20a)
From then on, those angels possessed
the heights of the heaven-realm
who served as ever in the grace of God. (320b-21)
At that moment the other fiends lay upon the fire,
who had once seized so many struggles against their Sovereign.
Torments they suffer, blazing war-surges in the middle of hell,
torches and broad tongues of flame, likewise the bitter fumes,
darkness and shadow, because they shirked their servitude to God. (322-27a)
Their lust deceived them, the over-mind of the angels.
They would not worship the word of the All-Wielder.
They now had great torment, plunged to the fiery bottom
in that sweltering hell through their want of thought, their arrogance.
They sought another land—devoid of light, filled with licking flames,
a mighty fiery terror. The fiends understood
they had been exchanged into torments innumerable
by their overweening thought and the might of God,
and through the height of hubris. (327b-37)
Then spoke the haughty king, brightest of angels before,
most brilliant in heaven, dearest to his Master,
beloved by the Lord, until they turned to foolishness,
so that God himself, mighty in his mind, became enraged
at his depravity and threw him within that murderous stead,
down into that corpse-bed, and wrought him a name ever since—
the most lofty said he must thenceforth be called Satan.
He bade him rule over that black abyss of Hell,
instead of struggling against God. (338-46)
Satan wrought speech, speaking and sorrowing,
he who should thenceforth keep Hell,
and have charge of the deeps. Before God’s angel,
bright in the heavens, until his pride seduced him
and his greatest of all presumption,
so that he heeded no longer the word of the Lord of Armies.
His thought welled within him about his heart,
hot was the bitter torment from without.
He spoke then in word: (347-55)
“This narrow place is much unlike that other home
that we knew previously, high in heaven’s kingdom,
which my Master had imparted to me, though we were not permitted
to keep it from the All-Wielder, or contend for our realm.
Regardless he had no right to render this—
to ding us down in the very depths of fire,
in this burning hell, to deprive us of heaven’s realm.
He has determined that it shall be settled by this ‘mankind.’ (356-64a)
“That is of most sorrow to me—
that Adam, who was shaped from earth,
shall possess my fortified throne, and dwell there in joy—
while we must suffer this torment and injury in hell.
Wellaway! Had I the power of my hands
and were allowed to come out for one moment, be it a winter’s hour,
then I with this warrior band— (364b-70)
But iron bonds lie about me, I swing in looped chains.
I am without power—
These harsh fetters of hell have been clapped fast about me.
Here is a great fire from above and below.
I have never seen a more loathsome region;
the flame does not blow past. It is hot throughout hell. (371-77a)
A tormenting chain of rings has prevented me from moving,
depriving me of my power to fare forth—my feet are fettered,
my hands are bound. The ways to these hell-doors are barred,
so I cannot escape at all from these limb-chains.
Huge bolts lie about me, heated and hammered of harsh iron
and with them God has chained me by the neck,
thus I know that he knows my mind and the Lord of Armies
also knows that it must ill become us, Adam and me,
regarding that heaven-realm — if only had I the power of my hands. (377b-88)
“Yet we endure now affliction in Hell (that is, darkness and heat),
grim and groundless. God himself has swept us away
into the black mists. Although he cannot impart to us any sin,
or any injury we have done him in that realm—
still he has deprived us of the light and cast us down
into the most of all torments. Nor can we make revenge,
or repay him with any injury since he has deprived us of the light. (389-94)
“He has now set apart this middle-earth,
where he has wrought man according to his likeness.
With them he wishes to soon settle
the realm of heaven with pure souls.
This we must eagerly consider—
that we, if ever, could further our vengeance upon Adam
and upon his heirs too, and degrade his own desire with them,
if we could concoct something at all. (395-400)
“Nor do I further hope for that light for myself,
which he intends for Adam to long enjoy,
nor for happiness among the host of angels.
Nor can we ever make it that we may soften the mind of Mighty God.
Let us now take it away from the children of men—
that heaven-realm, now we are not allowed to have it!
Force it so that they should falter in his favor
so that they will give up what he has commanded by word!
Then he will become wrathful in mind, driving them from his grace.
Then they must turn towards hell and its grim depths.
Then we will be allowed to draw them to us as disciples,
the sons of men in these fast fetters. Now begin to think on this foray! (401-9)
“If ever I parted out princely treasures to any of my thanes,
while we dwelt blessedly in that blissful kingdom
and kept the power of our thrones,
then he could never repay my rewards at a better time
with gifts in return. If any of my servants still would agree to it,
if he could come up and out through that distant gate,
and if he had the strength within him
so that he with his feathered wings could still fly,
still skate across the sky, to where new-made they dwell,
Adam and Eve upon the earthly realm, surrounded by every happiness—
and here we are, tossed down into this deep decline—
Now they are held in greater honor by the Lord,
and are allowed to possess the prosperity from him
which we should have in the heavenly kingdom, a realm in right.
That is the advantage allotted to mankind. (410-25a)
That is to me such a pain in my heart, it is a distress in my mind,
that they shall hold heaven’s realm forever.
If any of you could in some way rise up again so that they should
forsake his teaching, the word of God, soon they would be
the more hateful to him. If they break his commandment,
then he would become infuriated with them.
After that their abundance would be altered, and torment
would be prepared for them, and some harsh harm-shearing.
Consider it, all of you — consider how you might deceive them!
I could rest me more easily in these chains afterwards,
if that realm were lost to them… (425b-36)
He that fulfills this task, for him will be a ready reward
forever after, such as we can win to our advantage
right here inside this fire. I shall let him sit with me myself,
whosoever comes to this hot hell to say that Adam and Eve
unworthily have forsaken the teaching of the Heavens’ King
by their words and deeds…” (437-41a)
[Two quires are missing, cutting out all of sections IX and X, as well as the start to XI.]
Then the enemy of God began to gird himself, eager into his gear—
he had a lying spirit—he set upon his head his deceitful helm
and fastened it there very tightly, fixed it by its clasp.
He knew many cozening speeches, many crooked words.
He flew up from there, hastening through the Doors of Hell—
he had a strong mind—bouncing on the breeze, bane-minded,
parting that fire in two by the fiend’s craft.
He wished to secretly ensnare the servants of the Lord—
to seduce and corrupt humans with evil deeds,
so that they would become hateful to God. (442-2)
Then he traveled through the power of the enemy
until he found Adam completed upon earth’s realm,
God’s own handiwork, skillfully wrought, and his wife together,
his fairest lady, and they knew how to prepare many good things,
when he appointed them to be his own servants,
the Measurer of Mankind. (452-59)
And between them stood two trees —
they were laden with fruits at that time,
covered with blossoms, just as the Sovereign God,
the High Heaven’s King had set them there with his hands,
so that the children of men were allowed to choose
either good and evil. Each one, either prosperity or trouble.
Their fruit was not alike! (460-66)
The one was so beautiful, splendid and shining, mild and praiseworthy—
that was the Tree of Life. One who tasted its fruit
was allowed to be in the world for eternity after living,
so old age would not harm one after eating it, nor stern sickness,
but one was allowed to always exist deeply in his desires
and keep his life, the favor of the Heaven-King here in the world.
One truly would have the appointed protection in the high heaven,
when one finally traveled thence. (467-76)
Then the other was entirely black, dark and shadowy—
that was the Tree of Death, it bore many bitter things.
Everybody must know the result of both evil and good in this world.
In knowing, one must live with sweat and with sorrow
ever afterwards, whoever ate of that which grew on that tree.
He must be deprived in his old age of deeds of courage,
joys and lordship, and death has been ordained for him.
A little time he must enjoy his life, seeking then
the darkest land of fire. He must serve devils,
where there is the most danger of all for the people for all time. (477-89a)
The hateful one knows this eagerly, the hidden messenger
of the Devil who struggles against the Lord.
Then he cast himself into the likeness of a snake, and wound
himself all around the Tree of Death through devil’s craft.
There he took up one of the fruits and turned himself again
to where he knew the hand-labor of the Heaven-King to be. (489b-94)
Then he began to ask the first man, the loathsome with lying words:
“Do you ever long at all, Adam, upwards to God?
I am on his errand here and have traveled from afar—
it has not been long since I sat with him.
Then he ordered me to fare on this journey, he ordered
that you should eat of this fruit, he said that your spirit and strength
and your intellect would become the greater,
and your body-case would become much more beautiful,
your shape the more splendid. He said that you should have no need of covering
in this world. Now you have gained the good will,
the grace of the Heaven-King, served to the pleasure of your Master,
you have wrought yourself dear with your Lord. I heard him
to praise your deeds in his light and to speak about your life.
Just as you must fulfill that his messenger brings here to this land. (495-510a)
“These green yards are broad in this world, and God sits
in the highest realm of the heavens, the All-Wielder above.
He will not hold these troubles himself, the Lord of Men,
to go upon this journey, yet he sent his servitor to speak with you.
Now he ordered me to teach you wisdom with these tidings.
Learn eagerly from his servant! Take this fruit into your hand!
Bite it and taste! It will become roomy in your breast,
your form flower more lovely. The Sovereign God sends you,
your Master, the help of the heavens’ realm.” (510b-21)
Adam spoke where he stood upon the earth, the free-willed man:
“When I heard the Victory-Lord, Mighty God speak
with a strong voice, and he ordered me to abide here,
to hold his commandments, and he gave me this woman,
my beauty-shining wife, and he ordered me to be watchful
so that I should not be cast down by the Tree of Death,
seduced too strongly. He said that dark Hell must be kept
for him who by his heart has produced something hateful.
I don’t know whether you come with falsehoods through secrecy
or you are the Lord’s messenger from heaven. (522-33a)
“Listen! I am not able to understand one whit of your commands,
your words nor your intentions, your errand nor your stories.
I know what he bade me himself, our Savior when I last saw him.
He ordered me to worthy his word and keep it well,
to carry out his teaching. You are not like any of his angels
that I have ever seen before, nor do you show me any token
that he dispatched you to me by the tree, my Master through his grace.
Therefore I can not heed you, but you can fare forth.
I have kept myself fixed to my faith up unto Almighty God
who wrought me by his arms, here with his on hands.
He is able to bestow upon me with every sort of good
from his high kingdom, though he sends no servitor.” (533b-46)
Wrath-minded he turned himself to where he saw the woman
standing upon the earth-realm, shaped splendidly,
and he spoke, that one—it would become the greatest of harms
unto all of her descendents in this world forever after:
“I know the Sovereign God will become angered
at you both, if I should speak to him this very message,
when I come before him from this journey across the distant way,
that you will not attend to the messages
that he sends eastwards to here at this time.
Now he should venture himself for your answer;
nor can his messenger deliver his reply;
for that I know that he will be enraged at you both, mighty in his mind.
Though if you wish to heed my words, lusty woman,
then you can consider his capacious counsel. (547-61)
“Consider in your breast what you can do to ward
yourselves from punishment, as I direct you.
Eat these fruits! Then your eyes will become so bright
that you can afterwards see so widely across the whole world,
and the throne of your Master itself, and ever have his grace.
You could lead Adam after—
if you had his will and he trusted your word.
If you spoke to him the truth of what command you have
in your breast, that you keep God’s bidding and teaching.
Adam will forgo in his breast-coffer this hateful strife
and evil reply, as both of us may speak to his advantage.
Entice him eagerly so that he carries out your precept,
lest you two should merit the hatred of your Sovereign God. (562-77)
“If you would perform this deed, best of all women,
I will cover up the many harms Adam spoke to me
from your Master, his many evil words.
He accuses me of bad faith, he says that I am eager for injury,
a servant of the Hostile and not at all an angel of God.
Yet I know so readily the origin of all the angels,
the high vault of heaven. The time was long after
that I eagerly served God by a loyal spirit, my Master,
the Lord Himself. I am no devil.” (578-87)
He led her with such lying words and with skillful enticings,
the woman into that unright, until the serpent’s thought
began to be moved within her—the Maker had marked her with the weaker mind—
so that she allowed her heart to be stirred by that instruction.
Because of this she took the disastrous fruit from the Tree of Death
from that hateful one over the Lord’s word. There could be no worse deed
appointed of humans! It is a great wonder that Eternal God the Prince
would ever endure it, that so many thanes became beguiled
by those deceptions which came from his precepts. (588-98)
Then Eve ate of that fruit, breaking the word and will of the All-Wielder.
Then she could see far and wide through the loathsome’s gift,
which came to Eve for his purposes, and he deceived her with lying words,
secretly beguiling her, so that it seemed to her that heaven and earth
was brighter and all this world more beautiful, and the work of God
great and masterful, although she apprehended it not through human senses
but the scather eagerly seduced her soul so that sight was bestowed her
and she could gaze so broadly across the heaven-realm.
Then the forsworn one spoke through his fiend-ship—
he exhorted her not at all to her advantage: (599-610)
“Now you can see yourself so I need not tell it to you,
Eve the good, that beauty and blossoms are unlike,
since you have trusted my words and fulfilled my teaching.
Now splendid light shines before you that I have brought from God,
bright from heaven. Now you can touch it—
Tell Adam what power of sight and craft you possess by my arrival.
If he obeys my precept through modest bearing yet
then I shall give him light enough as good as I have prepared for you.
Nor should I blame him for his blasphemous words,
though he is not worthy to be pardoned for it:
many wicked things he has said about me.” (611-22)
And so must her children live afterwards:
when they do evil, they must secure his love,
amend their harm-words to their Master, and keep his grace from then on.
Then Eve went to Adam, the brightest woman,
the most beautiful lady that had come into the world,
because she was the handiwork of the Heaven-King,
though she was secretly corrupted then, seduced by deceptions,
She must have been hateful to God to forgo his glory
through the schemes of the Wrathful, through the Devil’s craft,
the favor of her Master and to go without the heavenly realm
for many lifetimes. It will be very evil to the man
who does not care for himself when he has the power! (623-35)
Eve bore some fruit in her hands, some lay upon her breast,
the unholy apples, which the Lord of Lords had forbidden them,
the fruit of the Tree of Death and that word the Prince of Glory had spoken,
saying that great death men his servants need not suffer,
but he gave heaven’s kingdom to each of his people, the Holy Lord,
a surpassing wide realm, if they would leave that fruit alone
which the hateful tree bore on its boughs, filled with bitterness:
that was the Tree of Death which the Lord had forbidden them. (636-46)
Terrible to God and hateful to the Heaven-King, the devil
had seduced the mind of Eve with lies, the weak thought of the woman,
so that she trusted his words, fulfilled his precept, and took the belief
that he had brought it to her then from God’s command,
what had been so carefully and wordfully told to her.
He showed her a token and promised her his good faith,
his gracious thought. Then she spoke unto her husband: (647-54)
“Adam my lord, this fruit is so sweet, mild in the breast,
and this messenger lovely, the good angel of God,
I see by his raiment that he is the errand-man of our Master,
the Heaven-King. His favor is better for us than to achieve
his displeasure. If you spoke any harm to him today,
he will forgive it yet, if we wish to obey our servitude.
Why shall you be so hatefully be at strife with your Master’s
messenger? We need his grace; he could intercede for us
to that All-Wielding, the King of Heaven. From here I can see
where he sits himself—that is to the south and east—
wound up in his weal, he that shaped this world.
I see his angels revolving about him with their wings,
the greatest of all peoples, the most joyous race. (655-71a)
“How could it give me such understanding
if God had not sent it plainly? I can hear broadly
and see so widely into this whole world across the fullness of creation.
I can hear the pleasures of the music in heaven.
I have become light in my mind within and without,
since I bit into that fruit. Now I hold here in my hands,
my good master, and I give it to you eagerly.
I believe that it comes from God, brought forth at his bidding,
of which this messenger has said to me with true words.
It is not at all like anything on earth, except as this herald says,
that it comes straight from God.” (671b-83)
She spoke to him unstintingly and enticed him all day
to that darksome deed that defied their Lord’s will.
The wrathful herald remained there, placing his desires into them
and seducing them with skill, pursuing them perilously.
The fiend was quite near who on that dangerous journey
had ventured across the distant way; he planned to cast down
humanity into that great death, to corrupt and deceive the race,
so that they gave up the lordly grant of God, the Almighty’s gift,
the power of heaven’s realm. (684-94a)
Lo! the hell-harmer readily knew that they should have God’s ire
and the torments of Hell, and by need take up its constraining evil
since they had broken the command of God when he deceived
that lovely woman with lying words towards that foolish deed,
that lady most shining, so that she spoke his desires.
He was an aid to her in undoing Adam, the handiwork of God. (694b-703a)
She, the fairest of women, spoke then to Adam quite pressingly,
until the servant of God began to be turned in his mind,
so that he trusted the promises that the woman said to him wordfully.
Yet she did it through a gracious heart, not knowing that there
would be so many hurts, the harms of sin that must ensue
for mankind, after she took into her head and heeded
the teachings of that hateful herald, supposing that
she wrought the favor of the Heaven-King with her words
and she showed such signs to her husband and promised him such troth
until Adam within his breast changed his mind
and began to turn his heart towards her desires. (704-17a)
Adam took up Hell and the journey hence from his wife,
although it was not so named, but it must possess the name of fruit.
It was the sleep of death yet and the chain of the devil,
Hell and the journey from this world, and the destruction of men,
the sin of humanity so that they took that evil fruit as food.
So it came within him, touched him at heart—
and then the bitter-minded messenger laughed and sported,
saying thanks to his master for the both of them: (717b-26a)
“Now I have brought your certain grace about me,
and fulfilled your will unto a great many days.
Humanity is deceived, Adam and Eve!
The Sovereign’s disgrace is appointed to them
now they have forsaken his teaching, the sayings of his mouth.
Therefore no longer can they keep heaven’s realm,
but must fare forth on a dark course for Hell.
So you need not bear this pain in your breast,
where you will lie bound, mourning in your mind,
that here men may dwell in that high heaven yet we suffer griefs,
the wrack of torture and the land of darkness,
and through your great thought many have relinquished
the high-timbers of heaven-kingdom and its goodly homes! (726b-40a)
“The wrath of God is ours because we did not wish
to bow our heads in service to him in the heavenly realm,
to the Holy Lord; but it was not our fate that we should desire
to serve him in thane-ship. Therefore the Sovereign was angered in his mind,
stern in his heart, and forced us into Hell, into that fire filled
by our greatest people and with his hands set the heavenly thrones to right
in the heaven-kingdom and gave that realm to mankind.
Your mind can be blithe in your breast, because two things are done here:
first that the sons of men, mankind must lose heaven’s realm
and next that they must be turned to you into that heated flame—
what’s more, an injury, mind-sorrow is made to God. (740b-55a)
“Whatever deaths we have endured here, it is now all forgiven
in Adam, with the hate of his Master and with the destruction of men,
the pain of death for humankind. Therefore is my mind made whole,
my thought spacious about the heart, all of our harms are revenged
the hateful things that we have long suffered.
Now I wish to go nearer to the flame again; I wish to seek Satan there.
He is in that dark Hell, fettered with the clasping of rings.” (755b-62a)
He hastened himself downwards again, the bitterest envoy.
He must then seek out the cliffs of Hell, the broad flames,
where his master lay, bound by chains. (762b-65a)
Both of the two, Adam and Eve made their sorrows,
and often between them passed a miserable word;
they dreaded the displeasure of their Master, God;
the hate of the Heaven-King they feared greatly.
They understood themselves that his word was worsted.
That woman grieved, sad-minded she lamented—
she had given up the grace of God and his precepts—
when she saw that light hurry away elsewhere
that he who counseled this injury had shown her
by an untrue token, so that they must have the hatred of Hell,
a myriad of miseries. Therefore heart-sorrow burned in their breasts.
Sometimes they fell to prayers, the conjugal pair together,
and addressed the goodness of the Victory-Lord and named him God,
the Wielder of Heaven, and begged him to allow them to have
their share of harm, to eagerly satisfy it, when they had broken
the commandment of God. They saw that their bodies were naked.
They did not have yet in that land any established home,
nor did they know any sorrow of labor at all, but they could easily
live in that land, if they would perform the teaching of God
from then on. Then they spoke many saddened-words at once,
those married two. (765b-89)
Adam addressed Eve and spoke to her: “So, you, Eve
have appointed evil upon our course. You see now
shadowy Hell greedy and ravenous. Now you can hear
them raging in the distance. Heaven’s realm is not like
that flame, yet this is the best of lands, which we may
have been allowed to keep by the grace of our Master,
if you had not harkened to him that counseled you this injury
and we had not violated the Sovereign’s word, the Heaven-King.
Now we must be miserable, sorrowing for this fate,
because he commanded us himself that we must beware
of punishment, the most of harms. Now hungers cuts at me and thirst
is bitter in my breast, both of which before we were free for all time. (790-804)
“How should we live now or exist in this land if the wind comes,
from the west or east, from the south or north? If darkness arise,
and showers of hail come up against the heavens,
frost comes at the same time, which is very cold.
At one time the bright sun shone, blazing hot from the heaven,
and here we stand bare, uncovered by clothing.
There is nothing at all before us as a covering shadow,
nothing appointed to us as food, but Mighty God is angered
at us, the Wielder. To what shall we become now?
Now I can regret that I asked the Sovereign God of Heaven
for his good will, so that he created you for me here,
from my ribs, now you have deceived me into the hate of my Master.
So now I can regret forever that I saw you with my eyes.” (805-20)
Then spoke Eve in reply, the brightest of women,
the most splendid lady; she was the craft of God,
although she was bereaved by the devil’s wiles:
“You could blame me for it, my dear friend Adam,
with your words. It could not distress you worse
in your mind than it is does in my heart.” (820-26)
Then Adam answered her: “If I knew the will of the Wielder,
what I should have as punishment—even though
the God of Heaven were to command me to wade into the sea
from here right now, to go into the flood, were it never so deep,
the sea-stream so great, you would never see my mind doubt it so readily,
but I would venture to the very bottom if I could work God’s will.
There is need for me in this world for any vassalage,
now that I have forfeited the favor of my Lord, and I can no longer have it.
But the two of us cannot exist thus bare together at all.
Let us go into the forest, into the shelter of this wood.” (827-40a)
The two of them turned, going separately sorrowing
into the green wood, sitting apart, to await the decree
of the Heaven-King himself, because they then
were no longer permitted to possess what Almighty God
had once given them. Then they covered their body-homes
with leaves, concealed themselves with foliage,
for they had no clothes. Yet they fell into prayer, the two of them
together, every morning, asking the Mighty One,
God Almighty that he not forget them, and instruct them,
the Sovereign, how they must live thenceforth in the light. (840b-51)
[Genesis B ends at line 851; section XIV continues in A]
Then the Almighty Lord came after mid-day, the famous Prince,
into Paradise at his wont. He wished to discover,
our Savior, the merciful Father, what his children had done;
He knew them sinful whom he had given beauty before.
Adam and Eve moved to depart then, misery-minded
under the wood-shadows, bereft of good; they hid
themselves in the dark when they heard the Lord’s holy word,
and they feared him. Then at once the Prince of the Skies,
began to inquire of the guardian of the created world.
He ordered his son to come quickly to the Powerful Lord.
Adam replied then, lowly speaking, in need of clothes himself: (852-66)
“I cover myself here, lacking clothes, my Life-Start,
hiding in leaves. A sinful, scathed mind is painful to me,
dreadful to my spirit. I dare not go forth now to answer you.
I am entirely naked.” (867-71)
Then at once God answered him: “Say to me, my son,
why do you say that you are shaming in the shadows?
You never received shame from me, but joy instead in all things.
For what reason do you know misery and cover yourself in shame,
you sigh in sorrow, and you conceal your own body
with leaves? You say that life-care, that misery sad at mind,
tells you that you need clothing, unless you ate the one apple
from that tree that I wordfully forbade you.” (872-81)
And then Adam answered him again:
“The woman gave to me that fruit in my hand,
the beautiful woman, my Lordly God,
which I accepted in insult to you. Now I bear the token
plainly upon my self. I know the more sorrow for it.” (882-86)
Then unto Eve asked the Almighty God:
“What have you done,my daughter, endowed with sufficient glory,
of the new creation of Paradise-plain and its growing gifts,
when you coveting grasped that wood,
seized the fruit upon the branch of that tree,
and to my injury ate that harmful thing, gave it to Adam,
that fruit when it was firmly forbidden to you both by my words?” (887-95a)
Him the beautiful woman answered then,
the lady ashamed: “The serpent beguiled me and eagerly
he urged me to a malformed deed and to a sinful greed,
the stained worm through his fair words, until I wickedly
did the enemy’s work, worked a hostile act, and then reft it—
it was not right—the tree in the forest and then ate its fruit.” (895b-902)
Then the serpent was condemned by our Savior,
the Almighty Lord to the banded worm to the far-flung ways
and he spoke then a word: “You shall forever tread the broad earth
upon your belly, accursed upon your breast, faring footless,
so long as your life endures, your soul within you.
You shall eat the dust your life-days.
So you have accomplished a hateful work, so that the woman will despise you,
hate you under the heavens and tread upon your guilty head
with her foot. You shall await her heel for a battle renewed.
The enmity of war will ever be mutual for your progeny
while this world stands under the skies. Now you know,
hated harmer of folk, how you shall exist.” (903-17)
Then to Eve God spoke angrily: “Turn yourself from joy!
You shall be in the power of weaponed-men,
and you shall be sorely constrained by the terror of them,
and miserable suffer the error of your deeds, awaiting death,
and through cries and lamentation and great pain
you shall bring forth your sons and daughters into the world.” (918-24)
To Adam also the Eternal Lord announced a bitter message,
the Light-Creator of Life: “You shall seek another home,
a joyless stead, and turn towards exile, a naked need-wretch
deprived of the glory of Paradise. For you is appointed
the separation of body and soul. So—you brought forth
a hateful deed, therefore you shall struggle
and from the earth you shall obtain your own food,
bear a sweaty face that you may eat your bread
so long as you live here, until a severe sickness grip you
harshly by the heart which you swallowed yourself before
in the apple. Therefore you shall die.” (925-38)
Listen—we have now heard where sorrow-songs
and wicked world-misery were awakened for us.
The Warden of Glory then geared Adam and Eve with clothes,
our Shaper. The Lord ordered that their shame be covered
by the first of garments. Then he commanded they turn
from Paradise-plain into a more constrained living.
Behind them a blessed angel locked away their pleasant home
of delight and joys, with a flaming sword, by the Lord’s order.
Nor can any wicked or stain-guilty man enter there,
but that guardian bears power and strength,
the one who defends that famous tree of life
from the multitudes for the much-loved Lord. (939-51)
Not yet did the Almighty wish to withdraw all honor
from Adam, our father at the beginning, and Eve,
even though they had rebelled against him,
but he allowed the heavenly roof to be decorated nonetheless
with blessed stars as a comfort to them
and he gave unto them the ample riches of the earth.
He ordered the seas and the earth to produce fruits
of every fruitful species for the mortal need of that conjugal pair.
Then they occupied after their sin a sorrowful place,
unprofitable land and country, devoid of every advantage
when they were driven out of their first home after their deed. (952-64)
They began then to beget children by the order of God,
just as the Maker commanded them. The two sons of Adam and Eve,
the noble first born were conceived as Cain and Abel.
Books declare it to us, how then the first-doer acquired glory,
wealth and sustenance, brothers of one desire.
Cain, the first of them struggled with strength in the earth,
that one was the first-born. Abel, the second held property,
an aid to his father, until a great many days had passed forth. (965-75a)
Then they both brought gifts to the Lord.
The Lord of Angels looked favorably upon Abel’s sacrifice
with his own eyes, the King of Created Beings;
Cain’s offering he did not wish to look upon.
That was an anguish to that man, heavy upon his heart.
A mind-welling mounted within the man inside his breast,
a paling hate, angered with envy. Then he did a terrible deed
with his hands—the kinsman killed his own brother,
and Cain poured out Abel’s blood.
Middle-earth swallowed the slain blood afterwards,
the life-sweat of men, after the slaughtering blow. (975b-87a)
Woe was raised, the progeny of grief.
From that sprig has grown evil-minded
and terrible fruit ever since for such a long time.
They have extended broadly throughout the tribes of men,
the branches of crime, the sorrowing stems touching
harsh and sore the sons of the multitudes— and they still do—
from the broad leaves began to sprout every sort of wickedness.
We are able to tell that sobbing, that story,
that slaughter-grim event, not without reason—
but that noble woman has scathed us severely
through the very first guilt which against the Maker
men have ever performed, the earth-dwellers,
after Adam was increased in spirit by the mouth of God. (987b-1001)
Then by word the Lord of Glory asked Cain
where on earth Abel was. Then that worthless wright
of killing at once answered him after that:
“I do not know Abel’s start nor his path, my kinsman’s journey,
nor am I my brother’s warden.” (1002-08a)
Then the Virtuous Spirit, the King of Angels, spoke against him:
“Lo! You have struck down your brother with your own
wrathful hands, the pledge-worthy warrior into his slaughter-bed,
and his blood cries out and calls out to me!
You shall suffer for this murder and turn towards exile,
accursed unto the breadth of life. The earth shall not give you
its lovely fruits for your worldly use, but she will swallow
the blessed blood of the slain from your own hands.
Therefore she shall deny you her favor, the glow of the green earth!
You shall go forth sorrowful, without honor from your home,
just as you did to Abel as a soul-slaying. Therefore you
shall travel the far-path of the exile, hateful to your dear kinsmen.” (1008b-21)
Then quickly Cain answered him: “I need not hope for any mercy
in this worldly realm, but I have given up, Heaven’s High-King,
your grace, your peace and your love; therefore I shall travel
widely the paths of woe in expectation of when he should meet me,
the sin-guilty, who will be reminded of the feud of brother-killing,
whether far or near. I have poured out his blood, gore upon the earth.
Today you have deprived me of prosperity and driven me
from my own country. A certain more wrathful man will become
my life-killer. I must be accursed, turned from your sight.” (1022-35)
Then to him the Lord of Victories himself answered:
“You need not yet dread the terror of death, a soul-killing,
though you may be obliged to wander guilty, far from your free kin.
If any man deprives you of life with his hands,
upon him will come after that sin vengeance sevenfold,
punishment after the deed.” (1036-43a)
The Wielder, the Glory-Fast Maker, set a sign upon Cain,
a warding-mark of the Lord, lest any enemies dared
attack him with warlike violence, far or near.
Then he ordered that he, sin-guilty, turn from mother and kin,
his own family. Cain then departed, going sad-minded
from the sight of God, a friendless wretch, and choose for himself
then a dwelling in the east-lands, a home-land far from his father-yards,
where a beautiful woman, a lady after her kind begat him children. (1043b-54)
The eldest was called Enoch, the first-born of Cain.
Afterwards he began to build a stronghold, a city
with his brothers; that was the first of all the walled fortresses
under the heavens that the sword-bearers ordered to be built.
From then his first son was born, a child from woman,
in that city-stead. The eldest was named Irad, the son of Enoch.
Afterwards were born those who increased the progeny
of the family, the kindred of Cain. Mehujael was the guardian
of their inheritance after Irad, the patriarch after him,
until he fared forth. After Mathushael doled out the treasures
of the nobles to his kinsmen, to his own brothers,
child after child, until the life-parting, old with the passing days,
must do, must give up his life. In his day Lamech received
the household property, the family treasures after his father.
His two wives gave birth to his sons, women in his homeland,
Adah and Zillah. The name of one of these was Jubal,
who, first of those living here on earth, the son of Lamech,
with his own hands awakened the voice of the harp,
making music, through his wise thought. (1055-81)
Likewise in that family of kinsmen Tubal Cain was called
at that same time, he who through the strength of his wisdom
was skilled at smithwork and was the first of men, the son
of Lamech, and through the thought of his mind, the inventor
of plow-forging across the earth, afterwards the children of men
knew how to use brass and iron widely, the city-dwellers. (1082-89)
Then unto his two wives Lamech himself spoke his shameful story
wordfully, to his dear bed-companions, Adah and Zillah:
“I have slain in murder a certain one of my near relations;
I have defiled my hand in the killing of Cain, felling with my hands
the father of Enoch, the first-killer of Abel, and gave unto the ground
the slaughtered blood of men. I readily know that with body-crumbling
comes as a result the sevenfold vengeance of the Truth-King,
great after such an evil. A greater fall and soul-killing of mine
must be paid with a grim terror, when I quickly pass forth.” (1090-1103)
Then was born another to Adam in Abel’s replacement, an heir
in the homeland, a truth-fast son—his name was Seth.
He was blessed and prospered with his elders, noble as a comfort
to his father and mother, Adam and Eve. He was Abel’s replacement
in this worldly realm. Then the start of mankind spoke a word:
“The eternal Wielder of Victories himself has given me a son,
the Lord of Life, in the place of one I loved, who Cain killed,
and by this child our Prince has driven care-sorrowing
away from my mind. Thanks be to him!” (1104-16)
Adam had, when he soon began to acquire others to his family,
children by his bride, warriors courage-bold, one hundred
and thirty winters in the world of this life. The Scriptures say
to us here that for eight hundred years afterwards he increased
his own lineage with daughters and sons, Adam upon the earth.
In all, he was nine hundred and thirty winters likewise
when he had to depart this world through his soul-parting. (1117-27)
After him, Seth guarded the people, the heir according his elders.
He kept the seat of his native land and obtained a wife.
He was a five and a hundred winters old when he first
began to increase the people of his family with sons and daughters.
Of the sons of Seth, the eldest was called Enos, who God named
first of all the children of men, since Adam walked on green grass
and honored him with his soul. Seth was blessed, afterwards
he beget son and daughters for seven and eight hundred winters.
In all he was twelve and nine hundred years old when
the time came that he must make his peace-parting. (1128-42)
After, when he had departed from the world, Enos kept his inheritance,
after the earth had swallowed the body of seed-bearing Seth.
He was dear to God and lived here for ninety winters
before he begat children by his wife here through lawful conjugation.
Then to him was first brought forth Cainan, an heir in his homeland.
Afterwards for eight hundred and fifteen years in the peace of the Lord
he begat young men, wise-spirited warriors, sons and daughters.
He died when he was five and nine hundred years old, a wise elder. (1143-54)
Of that tribe was Cainan afterwards the life-judge after Enos,
guardian and counselor. He was an even seventy winters old
before a son was born to him. Then was brought forth
in that country a son, the kin of Cainan, Mahalaleel was he called.
After the count of eight hundred and forty years also the nobleman
increased in souls, the son of Enos. In all, nine hundred winters
and ten also had he when he gave up the world, when the count
of his time of days under the roomy heavens was fulfilled. (1155-66)
In his tracks Mahalaleel kept land and possessions after
a great many half-years. The first-spear was five and sixty
winters old when he by his wife began to produce children.
His bride brought a son, the woman unto the menfolk.
The kinsman in his tribe was, as I have learned, called Jared,
a young man among the youth. Mahalaleel lived afterwards
and enjoyed prosperity for a long time, the joys of men here,
the treasures of this world. He had five and ninety plus eight hundred
winters when he departed forth. He left to his son land and rule. (1167-80)
Long afterwards Jared gave out gold unto his men.
The earl was noble, a law-fast man and this first-spear was dear
to his free-born kin. Five and one hundred winters had passed
in this worldly realm and sixty more when the time was come
that his wife brought into the world a son.
His heir was named Enoch, the beautiful first-born.
His father increased the generation of his kind from that time
forth, bearing children for eight hundred more years.
In all, he was five and sixty years old plus nine hundred more
when he departed forth, the wise friend of many winters
and counts of night, when he relinquished this world
and Jared then left land and leadership to his wise children,
to those dear to warriors. (1181-96)
Afterwards Enoch heaved up his princely authority, the peaceful
power, the wise leader of the people—he did not at all allow
glory and dignity to fall as long as he was warden of his closest kin.
He enjoyed days of increase, begat children for three hundred winters.
The Lord was gracious to him, the Sovereign of the Skies.
The man henceforth sought his serenity while in his body-house,
the glory of the Lord, not at all killed by the death of middle-earth,
just as men are here, young and old, when their God takes
them away from their possessions and provisions,
their treasures on earth, and their lives at the same time,
but Enoch left here alive with the King of Angels,
traveling from this loaned life in his clothing which
his spirit seized before him and brought to the mother of his people. (1197-1213)
He left behind his people for his eldest son, the first-child.
Five and sixty winters Enoch had when he gave up the world
and three hundred more. After a time Methuselah held the heritage
of his kinsmen, who enjoyed these world-joys for the longest time
in his body-home. He had begotten a great many sons and daughters
before his death-day, this old warrior, when he had to turn from men—
at nine hundred and seventy winters. (1214-24a)
His son Lamech after him kept the people’s land, a long time
afterwards distributed his worldly goods. He was a hundred
and two winters old when the time came that the earl
began to conceive noble children, sons and daughters.
Afterwards he lived five and ninety more, the lord enjoying many
winters beneath the sky, the lord of hosts, and five hundred more.
He kept the people well and begat children, and more
were born to him, both sons and daughters. The eldest of them
was named Noah, who distributed the land to men since
after Lamech departed. (1224b-36)
The noble lord-counsellor had five hundred winters when
first began to beget children, as the book tells us.
The son of Noah was called Shem, the eldest.
The second was Ham, and the third Japheth.
The people multiplied, spacious beneath the sky,
increasing the number of men of the tribe
throughout middle-earth sons and daughters.
Up to now was the kindred of Seth, dear to the People’s Start
in such love, precious to the Lord and glory-blessed. (1237-47)
Until the sons of God began to seek out wives
among the kindred of Cain, an accursed folk,
and they chose women there over the favor of the Maker,
the sons of man, women more wicked yet beautiful and fair.
Then spoke the Sovereign of the Skies, angry at mankind
and speaking these words: “They are not free from my punishment
in spirit, the progeny of Cain, but that kindred has sorely
enraged me. Now the children of Seth have renewed my anger
and taken to themselves the women of my foes as mates.
The lovely women insinuate themselves there troublesomely,
the beautiful faces of the ladies, and my eternal enemy
into the multitude of my people, those who were before
in my protection.” (1248-62)
After a count of a hundred and twenty winters
in this world was told vengeance troubled the doomed people,
when the Lord wished to set his punishment on the pledge-breakers
and strike the sinful of deeds into death, the kindred of giants,
unbeloved of God, the great evil-scathers, hateful to the Maker. (1263-69)
Then the Wielder of Victories saw for himself
what was coming of men’s evils upon the earth
and that they were reckless of their sins and evil.
He thought to be avenged upon that unlovely generation
of men, to seize mankind grimly and sorely
with stern powers. He awakened a corpse when he first
shaped Adam, the first of the tribes of men, the point of nobles.
God said that he wished to lay waste to all that were
upon the earth for the sins of men, to destroy every body
in whom the spirit of life covered in its embrace.
The Lord would kill them all in days to come
that were drawing near to the children of men. (1270-84)
Noah was good, dear to the Savior, quite blessed,
the son of Lamech, glory-fast and righteous.
The Lord knew that the courage of that nobleman
was strong within the thoughts of his breast.
Therefore the Lord said to him, holy in speech,
the Helm of All Beings, what he wished to do
to the guilty men. He saw that the earth was filled
with the unright, the broad plains of time
burdened with their sins, stained with their corruption.
Then the Sovereign spoke, our Savior, and said to Noah: (1285-95)
“I wish to kill the people with a flood and every sort
of living creature brought forth and nourished upon the sea and air,
the cattle and the birds. You shall keep my compact
with your sons, when the dark waters, the black slaughter-streams
swallow the multitudes of the sinful harmers.
Begin to work upon a ship, a great sea-house.
Upon this ship you shall provide a refuge for many things,
and a proper place for all things according to their own stock.
Make decks in the bosom of this ship. You must make
this vessel fifty ell-measures wide, thirty high
and three hundred long and work the joints fast
against the waves. There this vessel shall be loaded
with the progeny of every sort of living thing,
into that wood-fastness the stock of the earth.
The Ark must be the greater.” (1296-1313)
Noah performed such as his Savior commanded.
he obeyed and hurriedly began to create that house,
that great sea-chest. He said to his kinsmen that
terrible things were coming to the people, a horrible punishment.
They believed little in these things!
Then the Pledge-fast Maker saw that after many winters
the greatest ocean-house towered ready, within and without
it was made fast with the best earthen pitch against the waters,
the vessel of Noah. It is special among its kind: it always
is the harder the more strongly that the stormy waters
beat upon it, the darkened sea-streams. (1314-26)
Then our Savior spoke to Noah: “I will give you,
dearest of men, my pledge, that you will take up a way
and this vessel of life shall carry you across the deep water
many a day-count in the bosom of this ship.
Bring forth, so I order you, under the decks of the Ark your sons,
first-spears three, and your four wives. And take seven
into that sea-house told by count of every creature which
exists as meat for men, and two of all the rest.
Likewise bring all the fruits of the earth as food
under the wave-boards for your people, who
must survive with you upon the sea-flood.
Feed them freely, the progeny of living things
until I wish to make abundant under the heavens
food for the survivors of the water-journeys again. (1327-44)
“Go forth now with your family, go into that house
with the host of living things. I know you are good, fast-minded;
you are worthy of my protection, of favor with your sons.
I will let fall in my face now over seven nights
a slaughtering rain down upon the broad earth.
For forty days I will avenge my feud upon men
and with an army of waves I will destroy possession
and possessor alike which are outside the boards of the Ark
when the dark stormclouds begin to gather.” (1345-55)
And then Noah went, just as his Savior commanded,
leading his sons under the deck of the Ark, men
on the wave-plank and their wives as well and all
that the Lord Almighty wished to have as offspring
to their food-giver under the roof of the journey-ship
just as the Almighty Lord of Hosts ordered by his word.
At his heels, the Warden of Heaven’s Realm locked up
the mouth of the sea-house with his own hands,
the Wielder of Victories, and blessed those within the Ark
with his own power, our Savior. (1356-67a)
Noah, the son of Lamech, was six hundred winters old
when he with his sons went down under the deck,
wise with his children, by the order of God, precious to the multitude.
The Lord sent rain from the heavens and allowed likewise
a welling gush to press upon the roomy world from every spring,
dark water-streams rushed. The seas rose up over the sea-cliffs.
Strong and fierce was he who controlled the waters.
The children of the wicked feud, of middle-earth were covered
and concealed by the black waves, the homelands of men.
The house of earth was harried, the Maker avenged
the willful crimes upon mankind. The strong sea grabbed
onto the fated folk for forty days, and forty nights as well.
The hate was ferocious, slaughter-cruel towards men.
The waves of the Glory-King drove out the spirits
of the dishonored from their flesh-homes.
The Flood covered them all, the high mountains stormy
under the heavens throughout the wide earth and heaved up
onto the seas the Ark from the ground and with it the nobles.
Then the Lord himself signified, our Shaper,
when he had closed up that ship. (1367b-91)
Afterwards the best of houses floated widely under the sky
over the ring of the waves, faring with its cargo.
The terrors were not allowed to touch the wave-sailors
of the water in their ship violently, but the Holy God
carried them and preserved them. The drench-flood stood
fifteen man-cubits deep over the mountains. That is a well-known event!
Finally there was nothing of that death for them
except lamentation lifted up on the high breeze
when the watery host wasted all the stock of the earth,
except what the decks of the Ark held up by the Lord of Heaven,
when God, holy and eternal, allowed the obedient flood
to mount up in streams, the stiff-minded King. (1392-1406)
Then was God, the Sovereign of Victories, mindful
of the sea-sailor, the son of Lamech and all that progeny
that he had closed up against the water, Light-First of Life,
in the bosom of the ship. Then the Lord of Hosts led the warrior
by word over the wide-lands. The welling flood soon began to wane.
The seas ebbed, swart under the sky. The true Maker had
soon turned back the water-streams for his child,
the bright course of water, and stilled the rain. (1407-16)
The foamy ship journeyed for a hundred and fifty nights
beneath the heavens, since the flood heaved up the nailed deck,
the best of boats until a certain count of terrible days had passed by.
Then the greatest of wave-halls, the Ark of Noah was set
with its burden high upon the mountains which are called
Armenia. The blessed one waited for a long while,
the son of Lamech, for the true promise, when the Warden of Life,
the Lord Almighty gave him rest from the perilous journey,
from those he had widely undergone when the dark waves
had borne him on the sea beyond the broad earth. (1417-30)
The sea was receding; it caused the heroes to long—
the wave-sailors and their wives too—
when from the narrowness over the nailed deck
they were allowed to step across the ocean’s shore
and lead out their cattle from that confined space.
The helmsman of the ship searched out whether the sea-flood
was sinking once again, according to the Lord’s pledge under the skies.
Then after a number of days, after that high hillside had taken his hoard
and also the descent of the stock of the earth, the son of Lamech
let fly a dark raven out of the house across the high-flood.
Noah supposed that the bird, if he did not find land
on his journey, would, by necessity seek the wave-plank
across the wide waters. Soon his hope deceived him—
the fiend perched upon floating corpses,
and dark-feathered did not seek to return. (1431-48)
Then, seven nights after the black raven flew out
from the Ark, he let a dusky dove fly out over the high waters
on a test whether the deep and foamy sea had once again
given up any part of the green earth. She sought her desire
widely and flew broadly. She did not yet find rest,
so that she could perch her feet upon the land or
step upon the leaf of the tree for the streaming waters,
but the steep slopes were covered with water.
In the evening, the wild fowl turned to seek out the Ark
across the dark waves, descending weary,
hungry to the hand of the holy warrior. (1449-63)
Then again was the wild dove sent from the coffer, after a week.
She flew widely until she, free-happy, found a fair resting spot
and the gentle bird stepped with her feet on a tree.
She rejoiced blithe-minded after she was allowed to sit
so weary in the bright twigs of a tree. She shook her feathers,
and soon departed flying with her gift, the flier brought
a single twig of an olive tree to Noah’s hand, a green blossom.
Then the lord of the float-men knew quickly that comfort
was coming, help for his troublesome journey.
About a week later, once again the blessed man sent out
alone a third wild dove. She never came again flying to the ship,
but she found land, the green trees. The joyful bird did not wish
to appear ever afterwards beneath the pitched boards
in the planked fortress, when there was no need for her to. (1464-82)
Then with a holy voice our Savior spoke to Noah,
the Ward of Heaven’s Realm: “For you is a country-seat
again provided, delight on land, a rest from your ocean-paths,
fair upon the earth. Depart in my peace and go out of the Ark,
and lead your family from this high house into the bosom of the earth
and all your progeny which I saved in a ship from the water-throes
while the ocean held that third homeland and majestically covered it.” (1483-92)
Noah did so and obeyed the Lord, going up over the stream-wall
as the voice commanded him, very joyfully, and lead out then
from that wave-plank the survivors of that wicked race.
Then Noah firm in counsel began to prepare a gift for his savior,
and the wise man quickly took a part of all his possessions,
which the Lord had given to him for his prosperity, as a sacrifice,
and to God himself, the King of Angels, the bright-minded hero
made his offering. Indeed our Savior made it known,
when he blessed Noah and his children together,
that he had given that sacrifice thankfully and that he had
merited it by his good deeds in his youth. Then the Almighty God
was gracious to him of all his favors, powerful of his prosperity.
Once again the Lord, the Prince of Glory said a word unto Noah: (1493-1511)
“Now multiply and be fruitful, enjoy the glory
amid the peace of joy. Fill the earth. Increase all things.
Into your power is given the country-seat and the sea’s burden
and the heaven-fowl and the wild beasts, the all-greening earth
and the abundant cattle. Never eat the food of your table
with blood, shamefully polluted with sin’s soul-blood.
Each one deprives himself of the glories of the soul who first
destroys the life of another with the point of a spear. Nor needs he
rejoice by that repayment in his mind-counsel, but I will declare
that man’s soul as a slayer and a brother-killer very loudly
after that bloodshed, a slaying of man with weapons is effected,
a deadly sin with his hands. Man was first shaped to God’s likeness. (1512-29)
“Everyone has the form of the Maker and the angels who would
keep these blessed customs. Prosper and grow, enjoy your
desires, honor upon the earth. Nobly fill the corners of the earth
with your descendants, line and stock. I shall give to you my pledge,
that I will never bring the watery armies back to middle-earth,
waters over the wide-lands. You can be shown a readable sign
very often in the sky, when I reveal my shower-bow, that I will fulfill
my promise to men, so long as the world stands.” (1530-42)
Then the wise son of Lamech came forth from the vessel
from the tracks of the flood with his three sons, the keepers
of his heritage (and their four wives: they were named Percoba,
Olla, Olliva, and Ollivani), pledge-fast to the Maker,
survivor of the waters. The mind-brave heroes were called,
the sons of Noah: Shem and Ham and Japheth the third.
From these warriors grew the people and all middle-earth
became filled with the sons of men. (1543-54)
Then with a renewed voice Noah began with his near-kin
to establish a home and till the earth for his food, dark
and done over, setting up a vineyard and sowing many seeds,
eagerly seeking the beautiful blossoms they brought to him,
the year-bright gift, the green earth. (1555-61)
Then it came to pass that the blessed man in his home,
drunk upon wine, sleeping feast-weary, and his clothing
was moved from his body. It was not so appropriate,
lying there limb-naked. He hardly noticed what had
so miserably happened to him in his house, when in his heart
a head-swimming had seized his thought in that holy house.
Strongly in his sleep his mind narrowed so that he could not,
dazed in his mind, cover himself with his garment by his own hands
and hide his shame, as the genitals were for men and women,
since the servant of glory, our father and mother were locked out
of our homeland, with a fiery sword behind them. (1562-76)
Then came Ham first, moving inside, the son of Noah,
where his lord lay, deprived of his wits. There he did not wish
to observe so familiarly the honor of his own father,
nor truly to conceal the shame of his close kin, but he laughing
said to his brothers, how the man rested himself in his hall.
Then they stepped to him at once, their faces skillfully covered
in their cloaks, so that they, dear men, could provide help.
They were both good men, Shem and Japheth. When he started
from sleep, the son of Lamech, and then immediately understood
that Ham did not wish to show him, the noble man,
any favor or troth for him in his need. For that, the holy man
was sore in his heart, he began to curse wordfully his own child,
saying that Ham must be miserable under the sky,
the servant of his own near-kin on earth. And this curse
has harmed him and his descendants terribly. (1577-97)
Then afterwards Noah with his own sons enjoyed his broad realm
for three hundred winters of this life, and fifty more, freemen
after the flood, when he died. Afterwards his sons distributed
his riches, begetting children. Bright prosperity was theirs.
Then children were produced by Japheth, a happy hearth-band
of near kin, sons and daughters. He was good himself,
ever holding the realm, the joys of one’s country, its fruits
with his children until the hoard of his breast, his hastening spirit
must be gone to the judgment of God. Gomer afterwards as father
doled out the household goods to his friends, his own
and those near to him, the son of Japheth. No small deal
of the created earth was fulfilled by the stock of that lineage. (1598-1614)
Likewise Ham’s son were brought forth, heirs to the homeland.
The eldest were named Cush and Canaan, very noble souls,
the first-born of Ham. Cush was chief to the noblemen,
dispenser of desires and worldly goods to his brothers,
the home-treasures, father behind him, after Ham departed forth
from his body, when death divided him. The people’s chief
pronounced judgments for his tribe, until the count of his days
were run out. Then the warrior gave up his earth-bound possessions,
seeking another life, the father of Nimrod. His first-born after him,
the son of Cush wielded the heritage-seat, a widely famous man,
as the Scriptures tell us, that he had the most power and strength
of mankind in those ancient days. He was the origin
of the kingly realm of Babylon, its first nobleman.
He exalted its nation-strength, extending and building it.
Its one speech was still common to the earth-dwellers. (1615-36)
Likewise from the descent of Ham was born many human tribes.
From that wide-folk, a great generation was begotten.
Then a great many sons and daughters were born of Shem
in the world’s realm, of free-born children, for many winters
before the Lord of Hosts chose the old man for his deathly rest.
In that tribe were good men, one of them was named Eber,
the son of Shem. From that earl was born an uncountable people,
who all noblemen now earth-dwelling call the Hebrews.
They departed then for the east, leading their possessions,
their cattle and food. The people were resolute—
brave warriors seeking a roomy land, until they,
in a great host, arrived where they, a folk traveling,
the children of nobles firmly seized a homeland. (1637-54)
They settled then in Shinar, wide and broad, the people’s chieftains
with their men, dear in their year-days, the green fields, the fair earth.
Forward from them, there was a multitude of all good in the time
of their days and a growing abundance. Then many man,
a proud noble with his kinsman, bade one another that they,
for their own glory, should construct a city before their numbers
must soon be scattered across the bosom of the earth, the tribe of people
on a land-search, and raise up a tower as a beacon unto the heaven-stars. (1655-67)
After that they sought the field of Shinar, just as those exceedingly powerful
counselors of the people were accustomed to do for their pleasure.
The men sought their advice for their labor and their sin,
until for their pride and their folly, they revealed their skill,
creating a city and rearing a ladder up to the heavens,
erecting with strength a stone wall over what is proper to men,
eager for honor, the heroes with their hands. Then came Holy God
observing the work of the generation of men, the sheltering fastness
of warriors and that beacon of the heirs of Adam together,
which was built up to the stars, and for that unreadiness,
the stern-minded King made them a hindrance when he wrathfully created
an unlikeness in the tongue of earth-dwellers so that they possessed
no power in their speech when the leaders of the labor encountered
other bands, in great numbers, at the tower rising in its might.
None of the human tribes there knew what the others were saying. (1668-90)
Nor could they agree to further build up that stone wall,
yet they miserably misbuilt in heaps, alienated by tongue.
Each sheltering kin was made strange to the other
after the Measurer disrupted through the power of his might
the speech of men. Then they went forth in four ways,
the sons of noblemen, a people disunited in a land-search.
In their traces both the strong stone tower and the high city
stood together on Shinar unfinished. (1691-1701)
Then the kin-shelter of Shem grew under the sky and increased
until a man was born among his generation, the count of noble children,
Terah, a gracious-minded man, thoughtful in his customs.
And to that noble man were born two beautiful sons in Babylon,
his children were produced, and these first-spears,
these brave men were called Abraham and Haran.
To these earls the Lord of Angels was both peace and life.
Then was a son born to Haran, dear as life, Lot was his name.
These warriors prospered in the Measurer, Abraham and Lot,
not-ignoble, just as these men were excellent from their elders
in the world’s realm—therefore widely now they judge
among glorious multitudes the sons of the many. (1702-18)
Then was the mark of appointed time passed by so that Abraham
brought a woman to him, a wife to the homestead, where he
possessed a camp, fair and beautiful. The lady was called Sarah,
of whom the books speak to us. Then they enjoyed many winters
this world. They held peace and treasure together for many years.
An heir was not yet granted unto Abraham, nor to this point
had the beauty-bright woman brought into the world
sons or daughters, Sarah for Abraham.
Terah departed then with his family through the Chaldeans’ land,
faring with their food, the father of Abraham. The wise man
wished to seek with his relations the land of Canaan.
The kinsmen journeyed with him, chosen by the Measurer,
from that native ground, Abraham and Lot. The excellent sons of noblemen
seized land in Harran, men with their wives. In this place
the father of Abraham gave up his spirit, the faithful warrior.
Terah had two hundred winters, told by count, and five more,
when he fared forth to see his destiny, wise of years. (1719-43)
Then the Holy One spoke, the Warden of Heaven’s Realm,
to Abraham, the Eternal Lord: “Turn towards a departure now
and lead away your chattels, your breeding cows. Leave Harran,
the native seat of your father. Travel, as I have ordered you,
dearest of men, and heed my instruction well, and seek that
all-greening land which I wish to show you, the broad earth.
You shall be blessed to dwell in my protection.
If any earth-dweller greet you with malice, I will set my curse
upon him and my heart’s hatred, my enduring abhorrence.
I give them joy, the fruits of delight to those who worthy you. (1744-58)
“Through you all the earth-dwellers shall accept the favor
of the Child of Men and my friendship, my bliss and my blessing
in the realm of this world. Your tribe, the count of your men,
shall be increasing, strongly under the sky, to your sons and daughters,
until the earth shall be filled by your progeny, many inhabited lands.” (1759-66)
Then Abraham departed, leading his possessions from the borders
of Egypt, excellent in manly virtues, well-endowed and blessed
with gold and silver, as the Guard of Victories had commanded him
by his word, our Sovereign, leading his cattle from Harran and seeking
the land and country of Canaan. Then came the man dear to God
onto that desired native-soil, leading his woman, his own bed-spouse
and the wife of his nephew. He had seventy-five winters when
he had to travel, leaving Harran and his near-kinsmen. (1767-78)
Father Abraham departed traveling then, mindful of the Almighty’s
teachings showing him the wide land beyond that people
by the command of the Lord, until the courage-bold came to Sychem
of the kin of the Canaanites, successful in his journey.
Then the King of the Angels revealed to Abraham himself,
and the Righteous Lord of Hosts spoke: “This is that all-greening
and splendid land which I wish to bestow upon your stock to rule,
a roomy realm, rich with blossoms.” (1779-90a)
Then the warrior built an altar unto God and offered a sacrifice
to the Wielder, the Light-Start of Life, the Helm of Souls.
Once again Abraham departed for the east, with bright eyes
upon the choicest of land—mindful of delight, the promise
of Heaven’s Warden, when through his holy word
the King of Victories himself revealed the truth to him—
until the chieftains of the multitude traveled to where
the village which is called Bethel. The blithe-minded man
and his brother’s son traveled forth across the nation-famous land
east with their possessions, law-fast men to the wall-steep slopes,
and then they chose a camp for themselves where the fields
seemed to be most beauty-bright. (1790b-1804)
Then Abraham created a second altar on his journey.
He invoked God with glorious words there, he made
a worthy sacrifice to his Life-Lord, to him who had given
him rewards not at all sparingly through his measuring hand,
in that flaming place with manly virtue. There the counsel-bearer
dwelt after a time in his camps, enjoying pleasurable things,
a warrior with his wife, until terrible calamity came pressing
upon the kind of the Canaanites, to those seated at home,
a ferocious famine, slaughter-grim to men. Then thought-wise
Abraham departed for Egypt, chosen by his Lord, seeking
their way of living, fleeing that sure woe—that torment was much too strong. (1805-19)
Abraham spoke, seeing the white horn-halls of Egypt
and the high city sparkling brightly. The thought-wise man
and husband then began to instruct his wife wordfully:
“Because many proud Egyptian men may look upon your looks
with their eyes, and then these noble earls will suppose you,
my elf-shining woman, to be the bright companion of my bed,
that some warrior will wish to acquire you for himself.
I can fear for myself, that some man, angry with desire,
will deprive me of my life with the weapon’s edge.
Say therefore Sarah that you are my sister, kin of my body,
when these strange country-men inquire what friend-love lies
between us two strangers and foreign-comers. Fast conceal
the spoken truth from them, as you must shield my life,
if the Lord grants me his peace and a longer life
in the world’s realm, our Wielder Almighty, just as he did before.
He made this path for us, so that we must seek the honor
of the bold and look for our own benefit.” (1820-43)
The came the courage-bold earl journeying into Egypt,
Abraham with his aught, where men of strange folk were,
unknown to their friends. They spoke wordfully about the beauty
of that woman, many proud men, arrogant in their glory.
The noble lady seemed to them splendid in her luster,
the many servants of the king. They made it known to their folk-lord
that they had noticed few fairer women before that prince,
yet they praised her joyous beauty in many words even more,
until he ordered that beautiful woman to be led to his own hall. (1844-57a)
The bestower of riches, the helm of nobles ordered them
to exalt Abraham with favors. However the Lord and Master
grew angered and adverse to Pharaoh for his woman-lust.
He was bitterly punished for it: sorely did the best of the youths
of his household pay for it. And yet did the lord of men understand
why the Sovereign scathed him with punishing strokes.
He ordered Abraham terrified into his dread presence,
the prince of Egypt, and gave back his bride, his wife into his wielding.
Pharaoh bade him to choose noble friends elsewhere, from other people.
Then the nation-king commanded his own thanes, his serving-men,
to bring Abraham, honorably and wholly unharmed,
to their people’s borders again, so that he may be at peace. (1857b-72)
Then Abraham led his retinue from the margins of Egypt;
they carried his courage-bold lady, bride and bracelets both,
so that they drove his cattle to Bethel again into a known camp,
his rich prosperity, the wife of his will and their worldly goods.
Then they began to build and rear their city, setting their hall
and renewing their home. The men raised an altar in the fields
near to the one that Abraham had established prior
to his Lord God when he came from the west.
There the blessed man again worthied the name of the Eternal Lord
with a new voice. The good-hearted earl made sacrifice
to the Prince of Angels, strongly thanked the Light-Start
of Life for his mercy and favor. (1873-89)
They dwelled in their camps, having plenty of good things,
Abraham and Lot. They passed around prosperity,
until they in that land could not enjoy its fruits
for long together nor keep both their possessions there,
but their men must, honor-fast, seek then for a more roomy realm
elsewhere. Often there were injuries of pledge-fast men
in bands, on both sides in stern harm-play. (1890-98a)
Then the sainted man began, mindful of his honor, Abraham
spoke fairly to Lot: “I am blood relation to your father,
and you are my nephew. There must not be strife growing
betwixt us, an increase of enmity—God does not will it!
Yet we are kin. There must not be anything common to us
otherwise, except a long-lasting love so perfect. Now Lot
consider that mindful men are seated about our borders,
a people glory-fast with their servants and kinsmen
the folk of the Canaanites and the Perizzites, and their bold warriors.
They do not desire for us a wider claim to their lands.
Therefore we must take this hostility from this place, and seek
for ourselves a more roomy establishing-ground. I speak counsel,
son of Harran, for us both, and say the truth. I myself offer you
a choice, dear man. Consider your self and examine your heart
in any direction you wish to take course, take yourself
with your cows, now as I command you choose.” (1898b-1919)
Then Lot departed, looking at the land by the Jordan,
the green earth. It was cooled by waters and covered by blossoms,
watered by river-streams, and like the Paradise of God,
until the Savior God gave dark flames in surges to Sodom
and Gomorrah for the sins of men. Then he chose his country
and native-seat, the son of Harran in the city of Sodom.
All his possession he led there, bracelets from Bethel
and a wealth of household goods and wound gold.
He lived afterwards by the Jordan for many years.
There were favorless men in that fair folk-stead,
hateful to the Measurer. (1920-34)
They were the kin of the Sodomites, crazed by their sins,
led astray by their deeds. They busied themselves in perpetual harm.
Lot never wished to take up the people’s customs
but he flew from the man-habits of that tribe, their evil and sin,
and held himself to the fair, virtuous and patient in that nation,
just as if, mindful of his teachings, he knew not what these people did. (1935-44)
Abraham dwelled thenceforth in the homeland of the Canaanites.
The King of Angels, the Measurer of Mankind held forth
his protecting hand for him, for the fruiting of good things
and world glory, for his love and his mildness. Therefore
he said his praise wide under the skies, for his generation of men,
the children of the covenant. He obeyed the Lord for his grace
on the ground so long as he enjoyed the earth, holy and heart-wise.
— Never will anyone bearing his spirit, lacking protection,
become fearful and terrified at anything before his Measurer,
who wishes to serve him always through the strength of his memory
in mind and deed, word and wit, wisely by thought, until his life-parting. (1945-59)
of men, Chodorlaomer, ordered his army and with him
marched in aid, Amraphel of Shinar, broadly across the world.
Then they departed, four kings with great power, seeking
thence from the south Sodom and Gomorrah. Then was
the land by the Jordan widely covered over with the war-host,
the earth with enemies. Many a white-cheeked lady
must go trembling and terrified into a foreign embrace.
The defenders of bride and bracelet fell, sick with wounds.
Then against them with war-wrack went five folk-kings
in armies to the south—they wished to defend the city of Sodom
from wrath. Then for twelve winters after they must by need
render tribute to the north-men and give them payment,
until those people no longer wished to prop up the King of Elam
with their tribal treasures, but instead they rebelled against the bold. (1960-81)
They traveled together then, their javelins were loud,
the slaughter-army angry. The black bird sang
under the spear shafts, dewy-feathered, intent upon corpses.
The warriors went quickly into strong bands, mighty in courage,
until the broad armies had come together from the south and north,
covered by helmets. There was a hard play, an exchange of deadly darts,
a great clash of warriors. The warriors drew their ring-studded swords,
handily from their scabbards, doughty with blades. There was easily
found earl’s bargain in battle, if he were not already sated with its malice.
The north-men were an obstacle to the southern folk.
The men of Sodom and Gomorrah, gold-givers, were deprived
of their dear war-comrades in the crush of shields. (1982-99a)
They departed from their home, saving their lives in flight,
the slayers with swords, the children of nobles fallen in their track,
destroyed with blades, their dear companions. The chief
of the Elamite army had the war-victory, wielding the slaughter-field.
The survivors of weapons left, seeking safety. Their enemies
plundered their gold, spoiling then that rich city of men
with their army, Sodom and Gomorrah, when the hall was given up,
the famous city. The womenfolk were stolen, the wives and widows,
taken away by their foes, from their sheltered seats. The haters
led out the kinsman of Abraham with his aught from the city of Sodom.
We can further speak the truth of the fate of the army-wolves
who, after that battle, led away Lot and his people’s goods,
the southrons’ treasures, boasting of his victory. (1999b-2017)
Then a man, one survivor of the spear, escaped from the battle
departed journeying hastily and seeking Abraham. He announced
that war-work to the Hebrew earl, that the folk of Sodom
were struck down, the multitudes of people and the flight of Lot.
Then Abraham spoke that grim news to his own friends.
The pledge-fast man asked for support from his dear comrades,
Aner and Mamre and Eshcol the third, saying that it was a blow to his heart,
a sorrow most sore, that his nephew suffered slavery.
He asked them then, those wrack-bold warriors, to devise
a plan so that his near-kin would be rescued, the man and his wife.
Then the three brothers quickly spoke to him, soothing
his heart-sorrow with firm words, courage-bold, and gave
their pledge to Abraham that they would avenge his anguish
wrathfully, or they would fall into slaughter themselves. (2018-38)
Then the holy man ordered his hearth-band to take up
their weapons. He found there eighteen and three hundred more
ash-bearing warriors, loyal to a lord, those who he knew
could each well bear the yellow shield in an army.
Then Abraham departed and those three earls who had pledged
their promise earlier with their army. He wished very much
to set his kinsman Lot free from his hateful condition.
The warriors were bold, bearing forth their shields with courage
onto the earth-way. The battle-wolves had reached
near the army-camp, when he spoke wordfully, a wise-minded man,
to his first-spear, the son of Terah, that his was a great need
that they on both halves should show these strangers a grim battle-moot
and a hard hand-playing. He said that the Holy One, the Eternal Lord,
could easily grant success to them in the spears’ malice. (2039-59)
Then I heard that the warriors dared to fight under the shades of night.
Clamor grew in the camps of shields and shafts, the archers fell,
a clashing of war-darts. Sharpened spears gripped unfairly
the men under their clothes and the lives of foemen fell thick,
where laughing they carried away treasures, the men and their mates.
Victory soon was turned aside from the north-men in the hateful melee,
the spear-glory of men. Abraham gave war for his word,
not wound gold at all for his nephew, he slew and felled
his foes in fits. The warden of heaven’s realm grabbed them
in aid. The four armies were put to flight and the folk-kings,
the people’s leaders as well. A happy hearth-band stood in their track,
and warriors lay set on the path, those who carried away the gold
of Sodom and Gomorrah, separated from their sergeants.
How grimly the uncle of Lot repaid them for it!
The army-lord of the Elamites were set to flight, deprived
of glory until they drew near to Damascus. (2060-83a)
Then Abraham departed upon the war-road, seeing the retreat
of the hateful men. Lot was delivered, the earl with his aught,
his lady returned to him, the wife of his desire. They saw widely
the corpses of those life-killers of free men torn by birds.
Abraham carried away again the wealth and women of the south-men,
the children of nobles, nearer to his home, the maidens to their kin.
Never did any living man in this world succeed with such a little band
more worthily, than those who rushed against so great a power. (2083b-95)
At that time were the folk of Sodom heading south from there,
carrying the battle-news, what sort of departure their fierce enemies
had made. The lord of men departed, deprived of his earls,
seeking Abraham, poor in friends. The king brought with him
the treasures’ warden from Salem, the famous Melchizedek,
priest of his people. He came with gifts to fairly greet the first
of army-soldiers, the honorable Abraham, setting upon him
God’s blessing and so spoke: (2096-2106)
“You were rewarded in his eyes among the count of men
so that the glory of spears was given to you in warfare!
That was God himself who shattered for you in your power
the majesty of those hated armies, who allowed you to work
forth a broad warrior’s way with weapons, to recover our pillage,
and kill their men. They were cast down in your track—
an army at a run can not succeed in battle, yet God put them
to flight, who shielded you with his own hands in the scuffle
with their captains, against the terror of greater odds.
It is a holy troth that you keep rightfully with the Warden of the Sky.” (2107-19)
Then the man gave Abraham the reward of his blessing by hand,
and he granted God’s bishop the tithes of the battle booty.
Then spoke the war-king, the lord of Sodom, weak of warriors,
to Abraham (there was need of his favor): “Give to me
the women of my people which you rescued with your army
from the deadly grip of men! Have for yourself the wound gold
that once belonged to our people, the cattle and the ornaments!
Allow me to lead away the freemen again, the children of nobles,
into their native land, into their deserted towns, the women and the boys
and the wretched widows! Their sons are all dead, the peers of the people,
except some very few, who must hold with me the marches.” (2120-35)
Then Abraham answered him swiftly before the earls, lauded
with courage, glory, and victory, speaking nobly: “I promise you
with my words, wielder of men, before the Holy One, who is
in heaven and who is the Owning Lord of the earth,
there is no worldly wealth which I wish to possess for myself,
either chattel or coin which I, famous prince, redeemed of yours
from among the archers, helmet of noblemen, lest you soon say that
I grew prosperous on this earth by the pleasant comrades
and ancient treasures of the realm of Sodom, but you yourself
may lead away the spoils from here, which I reaped at battle for you—
all except one portion for these lordly men, Aner and Mamre and Eschol.
I do not wish for these warriors to be deprived of their right,
but they served me at the spear-thrash and fought for your relief.
Depart now carrying home your bedecked gold and your beloved girls,
the ladies of your people. There is no need to be afraid for a moment
the warrior’s battle-bluster, the warfare of the north-men.
Birds sit gorged on blood under the sheltering hills,
filled with the thick slaughter of the enormous army.” (2136-61)
Then the king departed, the holder heading home with the war-spoils
that the holy man had given him, mindful of the Hebrew people’s honor.
Then right away the High-King of Heaven himself revealed to Abraham
his holy speech, encouraging the good-hearted man and speaking to him:
Great will be your reward! Do not let your heart grow slack,
pledge-fast is my will! There is no need for you to fear any man,
so long as you fulfill my instruction, but I will cover and shield you
while you live here against any sort of misfortune with my own hands.
There is no reason for you to be afraid.” (2162-72)
Then deed-bold Abraham answered his own Lord:
“What have you given me, Sovereign of Souls, of free-men
as a comfort, so that I am now thus miserable? I have no need
to build a heritage-seat for any sons of mine, yet after me
my kinsmen must distribute my wealth. You have not given
me a son, therefore sorrow troubles me greatly in my mind.
I myself cannot devise counsel. My reeve goes rejoicing
in his free children; he safely supposes in his inward thoughts
that after me his own sons shall be my inheritors.
They recognize that from my bride no child has been conceived.” (2173-86)
Immediately then God answered him: “Never will the sons
of your reeve possess your heritage, yet your proper children
will keep your treasures when your flesh lays down in death.
Look at the heavens and the count of its ornaments, the stars
of the sky, these now share out their glory-fast splendor
both wide and far, shining brightly across the broad waters.
Such will be the numbers of your family, your bold descendants.
You should not allow your spirit to be impaired with grief.
For yet your son shall honor you, bairn of your bride
come through birth, who will be the warden of your heritage
after you, well-known to God. Lament no longer! (2187-2200)
“I am the Sovereign who led you out of the city of the Chaldeans
many winters ago, a certain four of you—I promised you a wide country
to rule. Now I give to you, son of the Hebrews, another promise
that the earth, many broad lands, shall be established by your progeny,
the corners of the world until the River Euphrates and from
the boundaries of Egypt just as the Nile separates
the broad realm between peoples and the sea will turn your lands
back again. Your sons shall possess all that, each human land,
as those three waters, foamy floods, encircle the high cities of stone
in their streams, the dwelling-places of your people’s kin.” (2201-15)
Then was Sarah sore at heart, so that with Abraham there was not
any noble children between them by conjugality to comfort them.
Soul-anxious, she then began to speak to her husband by her own words:
“The Wielder of Heaven has denied me this, that I may increase
the count of your lineage under the sky with your sons.
Now I am hopeless that the root of this nation will ever be
granted to us together. I am sadly old! My lord, do as I ask you!
Here is a maiden, a beautiful woman, an Egyptian lady,
alone in your power. I bid you to climb into her bed right away,
and find out whether the Lord will allow any heirs in this world
to come to you through that woman.” (2216-33)
Then the blessed man followed his wife’s advice, commanding
that handmaiden to go to his bed by Sarah’s instruction.
Her heart gladdened when Hagar was made pregnant with child
by Abraham. But the neck-bound woman was soon scornful
to her mistress with spite, and she carried herself proudly,
she was hostile and would not willingly endure her enslavement,
but she began to struggle strong and bold against Sarah. (2234-43)
Then, as I have heard, that woman made known wordfully
to her husband the sorrow of her mind, saying pained at heart
and speaking strongly: “You don’t do what is fitting and right by me.
Since you consented to me that Hagar, my handmaiden, would
mount your bed, just as I requested, in my tracks, she has afflicted
me daily and dishonorably with her deeds and words. I must own that one
if I am allowed to rule my servants on your behalf,
my dear Abraham. May the Almighty, the Lord of Lords,
be judge between us two.” (2244-55)
The wise-minded man quickly answered her then
with his words: “I will not allow you to be deprived
of honor so long as we both shall live, but you may
manage your own servant as your heart sees fit.” (2256-60)
Then Abraham’s wife became angered, wrathful in her heart
at her work-slave, stern and fierce, speaking a willful injury
severely upon the woman. She then departed fleeing both
punishment and servitude. She wished no longer to endure
wicked reprisals for what she had done to Sarah, but she
left on her way seeking the desert. There a thane of glory,
an angel of the Lord met her alone misery-minded, and he
eagerly asked her: “Whither do you strive, destitute lady,
to accomplish your journey? You are owned by Sarah.” (2261-72)
She answered him at once: “I have flown from unhappiness,
wanting any sort of pleasure, the hate of my lady, exalted
in the towns, grief and injury. Teary-cheeked now I must
await my destiny in the desert, when hunger or wolves
shall drag out soul and sorrow as one from my heart.” (2273-79)
Then the angel answered her: “Do not trouble yourself to separate
your own mutual meal with flight far from here, but seek instead
your home. Labor for your honor, and humble begin to strive
for what is seemly, be loyal to your lord. You shall, Hagar,
bring the son of Abraham into this world. Wordfully I say to you
now that that warrior son shall be called Ishmael by people.
He shall be fierce, battle-greedy, and an enemy to the men
of his generation, his own kin. Many will struggle with weapon-wrack
against him wrathfully. From that first-spear a people shall be born,
an enormous race. Go again and seek your lord.
Dwell with those that own you!” (2280-95)
Then she at once left by the angel’s teaching back to her lords,
as the holy one had commanded, God’s messaging-spirit,
wise of speech. Then Ishmael was born to Abraham,
when he had exactly six and eighty winters in this world.
His son grew and prospered, as the angel had said before
to the woman by own words, a dear emissary of peace. (2296-2303)
Then about thirteen years later, the Prince, the Eternal Lord
spoke with Abraham: “Dear man, as I will instruct you,
fulfill faithfully our troth-pledge! I will exalt you
in every season with glory. Be strong in your deeds
by my will! I will fulfill our compact truly from now,
which I gave you once before as a pledge of comfort,
of which your spirit was troubled. (2304-11)
“You must hallow your household. Set the true token of victory
upon every male member, if you would have me for a Lord
or a faithful friend unto your family. I will be Warden and Holder
of that people, if you obey me in your breast-thoughts and wish
to carry out my commandments. Every man of that generation of males
shall be as a child, of those who come into this world,
about seven nights old shall be dedicated to me with the sign
of victory, or else they shall be separated far from the earth
through my hostility, driven away from all glory. (2312-25a)
Do what I tell you! I will be true to you, if you observe that sign
with true belief. You shall have a son, a child of your own bride,
who all the city-dwellers must call Isaac. There is no need to be
ashamed of that boy, yet I will give my godly gift to your son
with the power of my spirit, with the benefits of my friendly abundance.
He shall take up my bliss and my blessing, my love and my delight.
From that start of peoples a broad folk will arise,
guardians of realms, kings of this world known widely.” (2325b-37)
Then Abraham quickly put his face to the ground, and laughter
encircled those prophecies in his own mind and thoughts.
He never himself had looked toward that day, when Sarah, his grey-haired
bride, could bring a son into the world. He readily knew that
that woman had exactly one hundred winters indeed,
told by number. Then he, old of years, spoke to the Measurer:
“May Ishmael live so by your teaching, Lord, and bear thanks
to you with a resolute mind, a strong heart, to accomplish
your wishes by day and by night, by words and by deeds.” (2338-52)
And then fairly the Almighty Lord, the Eternal Ruler, answered him:
“And yet Sarah, old of winters, shall bring a son into this world,
and the world’s way shall proceed truly according to this promise.
I wish now to bless Ishmael with my grace, as you have requested
for your first-born, so that he may experience a host of life-days
in this worldly realm, with many children branching off his stock.
Your request shall be granted! Nevertheless I wish to exalt Isaac,
your son, your young child who is not yet come into this world,
with every glory and success of my will during his days,
and I will truly fulfill my pledge of my heart to him
and my holy spirit-troth, and be gracious unto him.” (2353-69)
Abraham did as the Eternal had commanded him, he set
the peace-mark by his Lord’s order upon his own son,
and the high one ordered that the sign be borne by every man,
who was his servant of the weaponed kind, mindful of the pledge,
wise of heart, when God gave to him the true pact, and himself
took on its bright token. Always the Measurer showed his glory,
the Doom-fast King, with his prosperities in this world’s realm.
He carried out that circumcision upon them since he
even as could perform his Wielder’s will in fear. (2370-81)
[A folio is missing here]
Then the woman laughed at the Lord of Armies, not at all
gladly, but she, old in years, regarded that prophecy with scorn
in her heart. She did not believe in the truth that that outcome
would ensue by God’s speech. When the Sovereign of Heaven
overheard Abraham’s bride heave up her joyless laughter
in her bower, then spoke Holy God: “Sarah does not wish
to believe the truth of my words. These events nevertheless
must yet occur just as I have ordered you at the start.
I spoke to you of the truth, in its own time that a son shall be
begotten from that woman. When I visit your camp another time
my repeated promises will be fulfilled for you. You will look
upon your son, your own child, my dear Abraham!” (2382-98)
Then, ready to depart, they left at once, traveling according
to the swiftness of God’s speech from that oracle’s delivery.
The holy souls trod their steps—the kinsman of the light himself
was their companion—until they could look upon Sodom,
the steep-walled city. They saw the halls tower over treasure,
the houses above red gold. Then the Sovereign of the Skies
began to speak with law-abiding Abraham; saying to him no little news: (2399-2407)
I hear in this bright city, a clamor so loud of the sinning, the boast
of the ale-flushed and the hosts under their walls keep an evil speech.
Therefore they are pledge-breakers, a folk heavy with faults.
Now I wish to test out, son of the Hebrews, what these men will do
if they perform sins so greatly in their habits and thoughts
as they speak of crimes and wickedness so perversely—
Fire shall wreak that sin: sulfur and black flame sorely
and grimly, hot and ferocious shall fall on these heathen folk.” (2408-18)
[Another leaf is missing here]
The humans awaited the punishing flames, woe under their walls.
and their women with them. The proud in riches repaid the Lord
wickedness for their many goods, until the Helm of Souls,
the First-Light of Life would no longer endure this scorn,
but the Stern-minded King sent to them two of his own strong messengers.
Then in the evening-time they sought a journey to the city of Sodom. (2409-27)
Then they encountered the warrior, the son of Haran himself
sitting at the city-gates, and they seemed as young to the wise man
before his eyes. Then the Lord’s servant came greeting the messengers
those spirits, coming in a friendly way, mindful of what is proper,
right and suitable, and he offered those men a night’s shelter.
Then the noble emissaries of the Savior answered him:
“You have the thanks for your favors, which you offer us!
We intend to abide still by this street for a spell, until
the Measurer allows the sun to rise again in the morning.” (2428-40)
[an erasure here obscures a line of text in the MS]
Then Lot bowed at the feet of those strangers, and eagerly offered
them rest and food and the shelter of his home and service.
They accepted the mercy of the nobleman, going with him at once,
as the Hebrew man guided them in under the roof of his house.
There the noble one, the wise-souled warrior gave to them
his gracious hospitality in his hall, until the even-shine had gone forth.
Then in the tracks of the day the night came afterwards.
It covered the water-streams, the majesty of this life in shadow,
the seas and the broad lands. Then the dwellers of Sodom came,
young and old, undear to God, they came in a great inquiring band,
and surrounded with the strength of an army Lot with his guests.
They demanded that the holy messengers be lead out of that high house,
those men into their power. They spoke wordfully that they wished
shamelessly to have sex with those men. Of honor they gave no heed. (2441-61)
Then quickly Lot arose, he who often perceived good counsel
and went outside at once, and the son of Haran, mindful
of wisdom, spoke to all that company of noble men: “Here are within
my two daughters unblemished. Do as I ask you—neither of these women
has ever known the company of men through sexual congress—
and give up this sin. I will give them to you all, before you perform shame
against your natures, a most voracious evil against the sons of humanity.
Take these women, and let peace be owned by my guests,
for I will protect them before God, if I must, from you all.” (2462-75)
The multitude, a dishonorable rout, answered him then by one word:
“It seem fitting and very right that you should remove yourself
from our people’s borders. You sought this nation from afar
in the exile’s track, destitute of friends, lacking companions.
Will you, if you may, be our lordly judge here, a teacher of our people?” (2476-84a)
Then, as I have heard, the heathen folk’s band grabbed Lot
with their hands, their cursed hands. Well his guests came to his aid,
coming honor-fast, and they dragged him from the clutches of the hostile
into his house, and then immediately the head-senses of every one
of the Sodomites standing about was obscured. At once the band
of city-dwellers all went blind. They could not storm fierce-minded
Lot’s hall after his guests as they had intended to do, but there
God’s bearers of tidings were bold. The guests’ power had firm strength
and it quite restrained that band with bitterness. (2484b-98a)
Then they spoke wordfully, the faithful peace-envoys, fair to Lot:
“If you have any son or dear kinsman, or any other friend
among these folk besides these women who we here look upon,
who be dear to you, then lead them out from these people’s city
in the greatest haste and save your life, lest you perish
with these pledge-breakers. The Wielder ordered for these men’s sins
that Sodom and Gomorrah be given over to the flame, to the black fire
and these people destroyed, these folk in the cities with killing attack
and his scorn avenged. The time has come nigh. Depart now,
saving your life on the earth-way. To you the Lord is merciful.” (2498b-2512)
[Another leaf is missing]
Then at once Lot answered them: “I cannot go seeking a journey,
a life’s refuge so far from here, going by foot with my women.
Yet you graciously have revealed to me your peace-loving
and friendship, granting me your truth and favor. I know of a high city
near to here, a little town. Permit me mercy and rest there, so that we may seek
our life’s safety above Zoar. If you wish to ward that high fastness from
the flame, in that place we could wait unharmed for a time and save our lives.” (2513-26a)
The honor-fast angels answered him then in a friendly way:
“You shall receive the granting of your prayer, now that you
speak of this city. Hurry at once to that stronghold: we will hold
our peace and hand’s protection for you. We will not allow the anger of God
to be avenged upon the troth-breakers, to destroy the sinning kind,
before you have led your children and wife together into Zaor.” (2526b-34)
Then the kinsman of Abraham moved quickly to that strong place.
He spared not his pace, the earl with his women, but he hastily
laid his tracks forth, until he conducted his bride with their children
under the city-locks in Zaor. When the sun, the people’s peace-candle,
rose up, then I heard that the Lord of the Skies sent down sulphur
and black flame from the heavens, as a punishment for men,
a welling fire after they had provoked the Lord in former days
for a long time. The Sovereign of Souls paid them their reward! (2535-47a)
The height of torment grappled the heathen-kind.
A clamor fell upon the city, a shout of killing
at its start, for the hated kin of the dishonored.
The flaming tongues destroyed everything
green found within the golden city —
so too there around it no small deal of
broad earth over-covered by burning and terror.
Forests were charred to cinders and ashes,
the earth’s blossoms as far as that ferocious
play of punishment reached the roomy land of men.
The ravaging fire went howling, swallowed
everything high and broad together
that men owned in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Everything the Lord God devastated, and those people with it. (2547b-62a)
When that fiery crash was heard in the city, the people’s life-parting,
Lot’s wife looked back at the slaughter-fall. It says to us in books
that she was immediately made into an image in salt-stone.
Ever afterward that statue—this is a well-known fact—
abides there still where she took her stern punishment because she
did not wish to obey the words of the servants of glory.
Now she must, hard and tall, endure the world’s way in that place,
the doom of the Lord, when the count of days of the world have passed.
That is some miracle, which was made by the Lord of Glory. (2562b-75)
Then Abraham, the wise first-spear, departed alone at dawn
standing again where he had spoken before with his Sovereign.
He saw rising up from the earth a slaughter-grim smoke far away.
Pride and wine-drunkenness had wormed their way into them
so that they became voracious for vile deeds, brash in their sins,
overstepping the truth, the decrees of the Lord, who had given
them their wealth, the fruits in their cities.
Therefore the King of Angels sent them a swollen-hot flame
as vengeance. Our Sovereign pledge-fast remembered then
honorable Abraham, his beloved man, as he often did—
He warded Lot his kinsman from the others, when the many perished. (2576-90)
The deed-bold man did not dare then for dread of his Lord
to dwell for long in that fastness, but Lot soon departed,
going from that city together with his children and looking
for a camp farther from that fatal place, until they found
an earth-cave in the side of a tall hill. There the blessed Lot
dwelled firm in his troth, dear to his Wielder, a great number
of counts of day with his two daughters. (2591-99)
And so they did—the older woman went first into the bed
of the drunken man, father to them both. Nor did grey-haired man
know when both the women were as brides to him, he was fast
constrained in his spirit-cage, mind and memory, so that he could not,
drunk with wine, understand the deeds of those maids. (2600-06)
The ladies were both quickened and those loving sisters begat
sons in this world, the heirs of their aged father. The mother
of that noble son, Lot’s daughter who was older in life’s winters
named the one child Moab. Scripture tells us, god-kindly books,
that the younger woman called her own child Ammon.
From these first-spears was begotten an uncountable race,
two powerful peoples. The one of these tribes of earth-dwellers
was called the Moabites, a kith widely-famous. The other
men, the children of nobles, were called the Ammonites. (2607-20)
Then the brother of Haran departed with his wife, leading
his chattels with his household under the rule of Abimelech.
Abraham wordfully said to those men that Sarah was his sister,
thus saving his life, since he readily knew he had few kinsmen
or friends among these people. Then their lord send his thanes,
ordering them to bring her to him. Then was the alien wife
of Abraham led another time from her husband into a stranger’s embrace.
Then the Eternal Lord aided him there, as he often did, our Savior.
He came himself by night, where the ruler lay drunk with wine. (2621-35)
Then the Truth-King began to speak through a dream
to that nobleman and threatened him angrily: “ You have seized
the woman of Abraham, a wife at the side of her husband—
I shall draw forth death and your soul from your breast for this deed!” (2636-41a)
The feast-weary dispenser of sins spoke through his sleep:
“What? Will you ever allow him to be cut off from life, King of Angels,
through your wrath, one who lives in righteous custom,
whose mind-thoughts are fixed in his counsel, and who seeks
mercy for himself in you? She herself earlier said to me
unquestioning that she was Abraham’s sister wordfully. I have
not sinned against her, nor yet worked any crime.” (2641b-52)
Then at once the Eternal Lord, the Truth-Fast Measurer spoke to him
again through that dream: “Give to Abraham his own woman,
his wife into his power, if you care for life longer in this world,
helm of noblemen. He is good and wise; he can speak to God himself,
and see the Sky-King. You shall die with your money and goods,
if you hold his wife from this first-spear. He is able to pray to me,
if he, virtuous and patient, quickly chooses to announce this message
so that I shall allow you, still living, to brook the pleasure and plenty
of your treasures unharmed in the days to come.” (2653-66a)
Then fear forced the warden of people from sleep. He ordered
his own counselors be fetched and with speed Abimelech said
to those earls, stricken with terror, the Wielder’s words.
Those men were filled with fear for the deeds of the Lord’s hand,
the stroke after the sleeping. Then the king himself ordered
Abraham to come to him with the greatest hurry. (2666b-73)
Then pronounced the prince of the realm: “Kin of the Hebrews,
I wish to wordfully speak to you of something. How have I treated you,
since you led your aught under us, Abraham, in this country’s land,
so that you thus practice such cunning towards me? You a stranger
wished to deceive us criminally within these borders, to smite us
with sins, when you spoke the words that Sarah was your sister,
the kin of your body, hatefully you wished to lay blame on me
for a crime through your wife, an immeasurable evil.
We fed you honorably and granted you a camp among our people
in friendship, land as a delight to you. Now you requite
us this way—unfriendly you show us thanks for our gifts!” (2674-90)
The Abraham answered: “I did nothing for crime or unfriendship,
nor did I give you any sort of sorrow. But I shielded myself, lord of men,
far from my kinsfolk, from the striking of war-boards with a ruse,
after the Holy One led me out long ago from the household of my lord,
my father. Afterwards I sought many peoples, unknown to my friends,
and this woman with me, destitute of other companions. Always
I expected a danger that some wrathful stranger would cut off my life
wishing to possess again this woman for himself. (2691-2703)
“Therefore I said unto the war-smiths wordfully that Sarah
was my sister everywhere on the earth that we must suffer
homeless among hostile lands. I did the same thing in this country
after I sought your hand’s protection, famous prince. Now was it known
in my mind, whether the terror of the Almighty Lord was among
these people when I first came here. Therefore I hid from your thanes—
and from yourself most of all—the true statement that Sarah,
in the path of the bride, mounted up onto my bed.” (2704-16)
Then Abimelech enlarged Abraham with worldly treasures
and gave him his wife back. He gave to him compensation,
after he had seized his bride, living cattle and bright silver
and slaves. The helm of noblemen then spoke wordfully as well
to Abraham: “Abide with us and choose your camp in this land
where you most desire to be, your home-place, and I shall give it
to you. Be a faithful friend and we shall give you cattle!” (2717-26)
Then the dispenser of treasures spoke another word at once
to Sarah: “There is no need for Abraham, your lord, to set
any reproach upon you, that you walked upon the floors of my house,
elf-bright woman, but I deeply compensate his heart’s injury
with shining silver. Do not trouble yourselves to go seeking prosperity
elsewhere from this land’s soil, or friends unknown, but dwell here.” (2727-35)
Abraham did as his lord ordered, accepting his friendship
by the king’s command, his love and his delight. He was dear to God.
Therefore blessed he enjoyed his peace and he proceeded under the shade
of his Shaper, covered with sheltering wings, while he lived here. (2736-41)
Once again was God wrathful at Abimelech for the sin
which he earlier performed against Sarah and against Abraham,
when he parted them in two, the dear woman and weaponed man.
He got terrible punishment for that deed. None of his women,
neither free nor servile, could bear a man-count of sons
for their royal guardian, yet the Measurer stood against them,
until the blessed one Abraham began to ask the Eternal Lord
for mercy for his lord. The Helmet of Angels granted his bidding,
unlocking his progeny’s abundance to man and woman, slave or free,
for the folk-king. The Sovereign of the Skies allowed their number
to increase again, by riches and goods. The Almighty became
merciful in his mind, the Warden of Mankind to Abimelech,
just as Abraham begged him. (2742-59)
Then the Lord Almighty came faring to Sarah, as he himself
had said, our Sovereign, he kept his promise, fulfilled to his dear ones,
the Prince of Life, the man and the woman. A son was begotten
to Abraham from his wife, and before his mother was pregnant
with her child by that earl, the King of Angels named him Isaac.
Abraham set that glory-bright sign upon him with his own hand,
just as the Measurer had commanded him within the week,
after his mother had brought him into the world of mankind. (2760-71)
from his elders. Abraham had one hundred winters when his wife
thankfully bore him a son. For some time he waited since first
the Lord announced to him the joyful day through his own word.
Then it happened that that woman saw Ishmael playing
before Abraham, where the two of them sat at a feast, holy in his heart,
with their entire household, drinking and making merry. (2772-82a)
Then the noble woman spoke, wife to her husband: “Forgive me,
warden of rings, my own dear lord: order Hagar to journey
elsewhere and lead Ishmael with her! By my desire, we will not
dwell long together, if I be allowed to rule matters. Never will Ishmael
share your heritage with Isaac my own child after your tracks,
when you send life out from your body.” (2782b-91a)
Then was Abraham pained in his mind that he should drive
his own son into exile, when the true Measurer came to him,
strong in his assistance, he knew the spirit of the man was gripped by cares.
The King of Angels spoke to Abraham, the Eternal Lord:
“Let sorrow slip away from your breast, the turbulence of your mind,
and listen to that woman your wife! Order them both to depart away,
Hagar and Ishmael, the child of your home! I will make his kin
broad and powerful, the children of his stock, powerful of offspring,
as I have promised you in words.” (2791b-2803)
Then the man obeyed his Wielder: dreary-minded he drove
those two from his camps, the woman and his own son. (2804-6)
“It is patent and obvious that the true Lord is your companion,
the King of the Skies, who has given you victory by force
of his wisdom and strengthened your heart with godly grace.
Therefore you have succeeded up to now, with friend or foe,
you have accomplished both your words and deeds.
The Sovereign has advanced your desires with his own hands,
the Lord on the forth-ways. That is widely known
among the city-dwellers. I ask you now, kinsman of the Hebrews,
with my words, that you good-minded give your troth,
your pledge that you will be faithful to me, a friend of my benefit,
as recompense of that which I have made you from my plenty,
since you came here from afar, destitute into this people,
on the track of the exile. (2807-23)
“Yield to me with grace, that I have not been stingy to you
neither in land nor in delightful things. Be merciful now
to my people and my family, if the All-Ruler ordains it,
our Lord, who holds our destiny, so that you may abundantly
distribute ornaments to my shield-warriors, the treasure to the proud,
and extend the borders of this folk-land.” Then Abraham
gave his pledge to Abimelech that he wished to do so. (2824-33)
Afterwards the blessed son of Terah was settled among the Philistines,
the Hebrew people for a long time were destitute amid an alien nation.
The Lord of Angels showed him a camp that city-dwelling men called
the land of Beersheba. There the holy one built a lofty high-hall
and city and established a grove, creating an altar and making
sacrifice to his Sovereign in that fiery place, a sufficient gift,
to him who gave them life, blessedly under the heavens. (2834-45)
Then the Almighty began to test that warrior, inquiring eagerly
which of those noblemen were courageous, with harsh words
he spoke him in a dream: “Go forth quickly, Abraham, travel
and make tracks—and lead with you your own son. You shall
sacrifice Isaac your own son, as an offering to me. After you
have climbed the steep mountains, the ring around the high lands,
which I shall show you hence, upon your own feet, where you
shall prepare a pyre, an offering-fire for your child and you shall
kill your son yourself with the edge of a sword and you shall
burn up the body of your dear one and offer me a sacrifice.” (2846-59)
Nor did Abraham delay that journey, but he began to hurry
at once upon the trip. For him was the word of the Lord of Angels
dreadful and his Sovereign dear. Then the blessed Abraham
gave over his night-rest. Not at all would he oppose the behest
of the Savior, but the holy man girded himself with a grey sword,
knowing that the terror of the Warden of Souls dwelt within his breast.
The ancient dispenser of gold began to harness his donkey,
ordering his two young servants to travel with them.
His own son was the third of that company and he was the fourth. (2860-70a)
Hurrying he then departed, leading Isaac from his home, a child ungrown,
just as the Measurer had ordered him. Then he swiftly approached
and hastened forth over the earth-paths as the Lord had showed him
the ways through the wasteland, until the third day, glory-bright,
rose up over the deep water. Then the blessed man saw towering
the high hill just as the Lord of the Skies had said to him before. (2870b-79)
Then Abraham spoke to his servants: “My men, rest here in this place.
We will come again after we two have given the Soul-King our message.” (2880-84)
Then the nobleman left with his own son to the place that the Lord
had shown him, walking through the woods. The son bore wood,
the father fire and sword. Then the winter-young man wordfully
began to inquire of Abraham: “Here we have fire and sword,
my lord. But where is the offering which you mean to bring
to the sacrificial flame for bright God?” (2885-92)
Abraham spoke—he had set his mind that he would do what his Lord
had ordered him: “The Truth-King will find it for himself,
the Warden of Mankind, just as it seems fitting to him.” (2893-96)
Then stiff-minded he climbed up the steep hill with his son,
just as the Perpetual One had commanded him, so that he stood
on the roof of the high lands in that place which the Mighty One,
the Troth-Fast Measurer had shown to him wordfully. (2897-2901)
Then he began to pile up a pyre, building a fire and he bound
his own son foot and hand and then heaved young Isaac
onto the flame, and then he grabbed his sword at once
by its hilt and would have killed his son with his own hands,
sunk him into the fire and the blood of his own kin.
Then a thane of the Measurer, a certain angel from above,
called Abraham with a loud voice. He waited for
that messenger’s speech and answered that angel.
Then the glory-spirit of God spoke in words to him
in haste from the heavens above: (2902-13)
“Dear Abraham, do not kill your own son but draw the boy
living from the flame, your own heir! To him God gives glory!
Kin of the Hebrews, you shall take up the reward of the Heaven-King
through this holy hands, the true requitals of victory itself, a vast gift.
The Warden of Souls will reward you with delights because
his peace and favor was dearer to you than your own son.” (2914-22)
The pyre stood fired. The Measurer of Mankind had made blissful
the breast of Abraham, the kinsman of Lot, when he gave back
to him his child Isaac alive. Then the blessed warrior, the brother
of Haran looked over his shoulder and he saw there a ram nearby
standing alone, caught fast in the brambles. Then Abraham seized it
and heaved it onto the flames with the greatest hurry for his own son.
Then he drew his sword and reddened the offering, the smoking altar
with the blood of the ram, and consecrated that sacrifice to God,
saying thanks for all the rewards that the Lord of Graces
had, early and late, had given to him. (2923-36)
Thank you very much for your work. I think these translations are really fantastic — I mean just as a reader and lover of modern English language and of poetry, and w/ some familiarity w/ the historical context, etc. I have zero old English, but your rendering is bracing, appropriately estranged for the modern ear, and comfortable in the original meter so that we flow along. A service to the public.