Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dream of the Rood
Author: Anonymous
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Anglo-Saxon Poems.





BOSTON, U.S.A.: GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS. The Athenaeum Press. 1911.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1889, by JAMES M. GARNETT, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.











* * * * *


I. Constantine sees the vision of the rood 1

II. Constantine is victorious, the sign is explained, and he is baptized 4

III. Helena sets out on her journey in search of the cross, and arrives at Jerusalem 7

IV. Helena summons an assembly of the Jews learned in the law, and addresses them 10

V. The Jews consult apart, and Judas states the object of the Empress 13

VI. Judas gives the Jews the information derived from his father and grandfather 16

VII. The Jews at first refuse to act, but finally deliver up Judas to the Empress 19

VIII. Judas stubbornly denies all knowledge of the matter, but after imprisonment without food consents to speak 21

IX. They proceed to Calvary, and Judas offers a prayer for guidance 24

X. A smoke arises, Judas digs and finds three crosses. Test of the true cross 27

XI. The fiend laments that he is overcome. Judas replies to him 30

XII. Helena announces the discovery to Constantine, who orders a church to be built on the spot. Judas is baptized 32

XIII. Judas is ordained bishop of Jerusalem, and his name is changed to Cyriacus. Helena longs to recover the nails. Judas prays, digs, and finds them 35

XIV. The nails are made into a bit for Constantine's horse. Helena admonishes all to obey Cyriacus and returns home 38

XV. The writer reflects on his work, records his name; and refers to the future judgment 41

* * * * *


IX. * * * * * * * * * * Holofernes prepares a banquet 44

X. Holofernes and his guests carouse. Judith is brought to his tent. Holofernes enters and falls on his bed in a drunken sleep. Judith prays for help, and cuts off the head of Holofernes 45

XI. Judith returns with the head of Holofernes to Bethulia. The people meet her in crowds. She exhorts the warriors to sally forth at dawn. They fall upon the Assyrians 49

XII. The Assyrians discover the death of Holofernes and become panic-stricken. The Hebrews pursue them in flight, plunder the slain, and bestow upon Judith the arms and treasure of Holofernes 53

* * * * *


Athelstan and Edmund, with their West-Saxons and Mercians, slaughter the Scots and Northmen. Constantine and his Scots flee to their homes in the North. Anlaf and his Northmen flee across the sea to Dublin. Athelstan and Edmund return home in triumph, and leave the corpses to the raven, the eagle, and the wolf 57

* * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * * Byrhtnoth and his East-Saxons are drawn up on the bank of the Panta. The wikings' herald demands tribute. Byrhtnoth angrily offers arms for tribute. Wulfstan defends the bridge. Byrhtnoth proudly permits the wikings to cross. The fight rages. Byrhtnoth is wounded. He slays the foe. He is wounded again. He prays to God to receive his soul, and is hewn down by the heathen men. Godric flees on Byrhtnoth's horse. His brothers follow him. AElfwine encourages the men to avenge the death of their lord. So does Offa, who curses Godric. Leofsunu will avenge his lord or perish. Dunnere also. Others follow their example. Offa is slain and many warriors. The fight still rages. The aged Byrhtwold exhorts them to be the braver as they become the fewer. So does another Godric, not he who fled. * * * * 60

* * * * *


In the middle of the night the writer beholds the vision of a cross decked with gold and jewels, but soiled with blood. Presently the cross speaks and tells how it was hewn and set up on a mount. Almighty God ascended it to redeem mankind. It bent not, but the nails made grievous wounds, and it was moistened with blood. All creation wept. The corse was placed in a sepulchre of brightest stone. The crosses were buried, but the thanes of the Lord raised it begirt with gold and silver, and it should receive honor from all mankind. The Lord of Glory honored it, who arose for help to men, and shall come again with His angels to judge each one of men. Then they will fear and know not what to say, but no one need fear who bears in his heart the best of beacons. The writer is ready for his journey, and directs his prayer to the rood. His friends now dwell in glory, and the rood of the Lord will bring him there where he may partake of joy with the saints. The Lord redeemed us, His Son was victorious, and with a band of spirits entered His heavenly home 71


This translation of the ELENE was made while reading the poem with a post-graduate student in the session of 1887-88, Zupitza's second edition being used for the text, which does not differ materially from that in his third edition (1888). It was completed before I received a copy of Dr. Weymouth's translation (1888), from Zupitza's text; but in the revision for publication I have referred to it, although I cannot always agree with the learned scholar in his interpretation of certain passages. Grein's text was, however, used to fill lacunae, and in the revision the recently published (1888) Grein-Wuelker text was compared in some passages. The line-for-line form has been employed, as in my translation of BEOWULF; for it has been approved by high authority, and is unquestionably more serviceable to the student, even if I have not been able to attain ideal correctness of rhythm. I plead guilty in advance to any lapsus in that respect, but I strongly suspect that I have appreciated the difficulty more highly than my future critics. The ELENE is more suitable than the BEOWULF for first reading in Old English poetry on account of its style and its subject, which make the interpretation considerably easier, and I concur with Koerting, in his Grundriss der Geschichte der Englischen Litteratur (p. 47, 1887): "Die ELENE eignet sich sowohl wegen ihres anmutigen Inhaltes, als auch, weil sie in der trefflichen Ausgabe von Zupitza leicht zugaenglich ist, als erste poetische Lectuere fuer Anfaenger im Angelsaechsischen." This statement is now the stronger for English readers because Zupitza's text is in course of publication, edited with introduction, notes, and glossary by Professor Charles W. Kent, of the University of Tennessee. I have appended a few notes which explain themselves, and have occasionally inserted words in brackets.

The translations of the JUDITH and the BYRHTNOTH were made in regular course of reading with undergraduate classes, the former in 1886, and the latter in 1887, the texts in Sweet's "Anglo-Saxon Reader" being used, and compared with those in Grein and in Koerner. The text of JUDITH is now accessible in Professor Cook's edition (1888).

The translation of the ATHELSTAN has been added from Koerner's text, compared with Grein and Wuelker, and in certain passages with Thorpe and Earle. For fuller literary information than the Introduction provides, the reader is referred to ten Brink's "Early English Literature," Kennedy's translation (1883), and to Morley's "English Writers," Vol. II. (1888).




I have added to this reprint of my "Elene and other Anglo Saxon Poems" a translation of the DREAM OF THE ROOD, which has been on hand for several years awaiting a suitable time to see the light. A brief Introduction to the poem has been prefixed, which, doubtless, leaves much to be desired, but it is all that the translator now has time for, and I must refer to the works mentioned for fuller information and discussion. With thanks for past consideration, and the hope that this addition has made the book more acceptable, I entrust it again to indulgent readers.




I have read over carefully these translations with a view to another reprint, which the publishers find necessary, but I have not compared them again with the texts used. I have corrected a few typographical errors of little importance.

For the bibliography I would refer to Brandl's Sonderausgabe aus der zweiten Auflage von Paul's Grundriss der germanischen Philologie (Strassburg, 1908), in which I find noted Holthausen's edition of the ELENE (Heidelberg, 1905), but I have not seen it.

I take advantage of this opportunity to say that my translation of BEOWULF, of which the last reprint was issued in 1910, is not in prose, as some have misconceived it, but it is in the same metrical form as the translations in the present volume,—an accentual metre in rough imitation of the original. I agree with Professor Gummere and others that this is a better form for the translation of Old English poetry than plain prose. It was approved by the late Professor Child nearly thirty years ago, as noted in the Preface to the second edition of my translation of BEOWULF, January, 1885.


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, February, 1911.


In presenting to the public the following translations of the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) poems, ELENE, JUDITH, ATHELSTAN, BYRHTNOTH, and THE DREAM OF THE ROOD, it is desirable to prefix a brief account of them for the information of the general reader.

I. The ELENE, or Helena, is a poem on the expedition of the Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, to Palestine in search of the true cross, and its successful issue. The mediaeval legend of the Finding of the Cross is given in the Acta Sanctorum under date of May 4, assigned by the Church to the commemoration of St. Helena's marvellous discovery. The Latin work is the Life of St. Quiriacus, or Cyriacus, Bishop of Jerusalem, that is, the Judas of the poem. It has been usually thought that the Old English poet used this Life as his source; but Gloede, in a recent volume of Anglia (IX. 271 ff.), has given reasons for thinking that the poet used some other Latin text. He rejects ten Brink's conjecture that the legend of Elene had come to England in a Greek form. As to the author of the poem, we know his name, but very little else about him. He has left us his name, imbedded in runic letters as an acrostic, in the last canto of the poem, q.v. These letters spell the word CYNEWULF; but who was Cynewulf? The question is hard to answer, and has given rise to much discussion, which cannot be gone into here. A good summary of it will be found in Wuelker's Grundriss zur Geschichte der Angelsaechsischen Litteratur (p. 147 ff., 1885), an indispensable work for students of Old English literature. The old view, propounded in the infancy of Anglo-Saxon studies, and held by Kemble, Thorpe, and, doubtfully, Wright, that he was the Abbot of Peterborough and Bishop of Winchester (992-1008), has been abandoned by all scholars, so far as I know, except Professor Earle of Oxford (see his "Anglo-Saxon Literature," p. 228). The later view of Leo, Dietrich, Grein and Rieger, our chief authorities, that he was a Northumbrian, and of Dietrich and Grein, that he was Bishop of Lindisfarne (737-780), has more to be said for it. Sweet and ten Brink also hold that he was a Northumbrian of the eighth century, but not the Bishop of Lindisfarne, while Wuelker regards him as a West-Saxon. Professor Henry Morley, in the current edition of his "English Writers," has devoted a chapter (Vol. II. Chap. IX., 1888) to Cynewulf, and virtually concludes that we know nothing about him except that he was a poet and probably lived in the eighth century. We shall not go far wrong in regarding him as a Northumbrian poet of the eighth century, possibly the Bishop of Lindisfarne, even though his works remain to us only in the West-Saxon dialect. As in the ELENE, so in the CHRIST and the JULIANA, Cynewulf has left us his name, hence all agree in ascribing to him these poems at least. To these some of the RIDDLES, if not all, are usually added, but this is now contested. Other poems, as the GUTHLAC, PHOENIX, CHRIST'S DESCENT INTO HELL, ANDREAS, DREAM OF THE ROOD, and several other shorter poems, have been ascribed to him with more or less probability, and very recently Sarrazin (in Anglia, IX. 515 ff.) would credit him with the authorship of even the BEOWULF(!). We might as well assign to him, as has been suggested, all the poems in the two great manuscripts, the Exeter Book and the Vercelli Book, and be done with it. It is desirable that his authorship of the DREAM OF THE ROOD, which ten Brink and Sweet assign to him, but Wuelker rejects, should be proved or disproved; for with this is connected the question of his Northumbrian origin, and some lines from this poem have been inscribed in the Northumbrian dialect on the Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire.

However it may be, a poet named Cynewulf wrote the ELENE, and thereby left us one of the finest Old English poems that time has preserved, on a subject that was of great interest to Christian Europe. A collection of "Legends of the Holy Rood" has been issued by the Early English Text Society (ed. Morris, 1871), from the Anglo-Saxon period to Caxton's translation of the Legenda Aurea; but they are arranged without system, and no study has been made of the date and relation of the several forms of the story. If Cynewulf made use of the Latin Life of Cyriacus in the Acta Sanctorum, he expanded his source considerably and showed great skill and originality in his treatment of the subject, as may be seen by comparing the translation with the Latin text in Zupitza's third edition of the ELENE (1888), or in Professor Kent's forthcoming American edition, after Zupitza. The Old English text was discovered by a German scholar, Dr. F. Blume, at Vercelli, Italy, in 1822, and the manuscript has since become well known as the Vercelli Book (cf. Wuelker's Grundriss, p. 237 ff.). A reasonable conjecture as to how this MS. reached Vercelli may be found in Professor Cook's pamphlet, "Cardinal Guala and the Vercelli Book." A Bibliography of the ELENE will be found in Wuelker, Zupitza, and Kent. English translations have been made by Kemble, in his edition of the Codex Vercellensis (1856), and very recently by Dr. R.F. Weymouth, Acton, England, after Zupitza's text (privately printed, 1888). A German translation will be found in Grein's Dichtungen der Angelsachsen (II. 104 ff., 1859), and of lines 1-275 in Koerner's Einleitung in das Studium des Angelsaechsischen (p. 147 ff., 1880). A good summary of the poem is given in Earle's "Anglo-Saxon Literature" (p. 234 ff., 1884), and a briefer one in Morley's "English Writers" (II. 196 ff.).

The ELENE is conceded to be Cynewulf's best poem, and ten Brink remarks of the ANDREAS and the ELENE: "In these Cynewulf appears, perhaps, at the summit of his art" (p. 58, Kennedy's translation). The last canto is a personal epilogue, of a sad and reflective character, evidently appended after the poem proper was concluded. This may be the last work of the poet, and there is good reason for ten Brink's view (p. 59) that "not until the writing of the ELENE had Cynewulf entirely fulfilled the task he had set himself in consequence of his vision of the cross. Hence he recalls, at the close of the poem, the greatest moment of his life, and praises the divine grace that gave him deeper knowledge, and revealed to him the art of song."

II. The JUDITH is a fragment, but a very torso of Hercules. The first nine cantos, nearly three-fourths of the poem, are irretrievably lost, so that we have left but the last three cantos with a few lines of the ninth. The story is from the apocryphal book of Judith, and the part remaining corresponds to chapters XII. 10 to XVI. 1, but the poet has failed to translate the grand thanksgiving of Judith in the sixteenth chapter. The story of Judith and Holofernes is too well known to need narration. The poet, doubtless, followed the Latin Vulgate, as we have no reason to think that a knowledge of Greek was a common possession among Old English poets; but, as Professor Cook says, "the order of events is not that of the original narrative. Many transpositions have been made in the interest of condensation and for the purpose of enhancing the dramatic liveliness of the story."

The Old English text is found in the same manuscript with the BEOWULF (Cotton, Vitellius, A, xv.), and, to my mind, this poem reminds the reader more of the vigor and fire of BEOWULF than does any other Old English poem; but its author is unknown. It has been assigned by some scholars to the tenth century, which is rather late for it; but Professor Cook has given reasons for thinking that it may have been written in the second half of the ninth century in honor of Judith, the step-mother of King Alfred. It was first printed as prose by Thwaites at the close of his "Heptateuch, Book of Job, and Gospel of Nicodemus" (1698), and has been often reprinted, its shortness and excellence making it a popular piece for inclusion in Anglo-Saxon Readers. A most complete edition has been recently (1888) issued by Professor Albert S. Cook, with an excellent introduction, a translation, and a glossary. A Bibliography is given by Professor Cook (pp. 71-73), and by Wuelker (Grundriss, p. 140 ff.). To the translations therein enumerated may be added the one in Morley's "English Writers" (II. 180 ff.). Professor Cook has also given (pp. lxix-lxxii) the testimonies of scholars to the worth of this poem. To these the attention of the reader is especially called. The JUDITH has been treated by both ten Brink and Wuelker as belonging to the Caedmon circle, but the former well says (p. 47): "This fragment produces an impression more like that of the national epos than is the case with any other religious poetry of that epoch;" and Sweet (Reader, p. 157) regards it as belonging "to the culminating point of the Old Northumbrian literature, combining as it does the highest dramatic and constructive power with the utmost brilliance of language and metre."

III. The ATHELSTAN, or Fight at Brunanburh, is found in four manuscripts of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" and in Wheloc's edition (1643), printed from a MS. that was burnt in the unfortunate fire among the Cottonian manuscripts (1731). It is entered under the year 937 in all but one MS., where it occurs under 938. The poem gives a brief, but graphic, description of the fight between King Athelstan and his brother Edmund on the one side, and Constantine and his Scots aided by Anlaf and his Danes, or Northmen, on the other, in which fight the Saxons were completely victorious. The poem will be found in all editions of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" from Wheloc to Earle (1865), and has been repeatedly reprinted, its brevity causing it to be often included as a specimen of Old English, but it is omitted in Sweet's Reader. A Bibliography will be found in Wuelker's Grundriss (p. 339 ff.). To the English translations there mentioned,—which include a poetical one by Lord Tennyson, after a prose translation by his son in the Contemporary Review for November, 1876,—may be added the prose translation by Kennedy in ten Brink (p. 91) and the rhythmical one by Professor Morley in his "English Writers" (II. 316-17). ten Brink thinks that the poem was not written by an eye-witness, and says (p. 92): "The poem lacks the epic perception and direct power of the folk-song as well as invention. The patriotic enthusiasm, however, upon which it is borne, the lyrical strain which pervades it, yield their true effect. The rich resources derived from the national epos are here happily utilised, and the pure versification and brilliant style of the whole stir our admiration." It well serves to diversify and enliven the usually dry annals of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," and cannot be spared in the great dearth of poetry of this period.

IV. The BYRHTNOTH, or Fight at Maldon, relates in vigorous verse the contest between the Saxons, led by the Ealdorman Byrhtnoth, and the Danes at the river Panta, near Maldon in Essex, in which the Danes were victorious and Byrhtnoth was slain. The incident is mentioned in four manuscripts of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" under the year 991, but one gives it under 993. The MS. in which the poem was contained was unfortunately burnt in the great fire above-mentioned (1731); but Thomas Hearne, the antiquary, had fortunately printed it, as prose, in his edition, of the Chronicle of John of Glastonbury (1726); hence this is now our sole authority for the text, which is defective at both the beginning and the end. The poem has been highly esteemed by scholars, and is a very valuable relic of late tenth century literature. It has been often reprinted, and translated several times in whole or in part. Grein does not translate either the ATHELSTAN or the BYRHTNOTH. Koerner translates it in full, and so does Zernial in his Program "Das Lied von Byrhtnoth's Fall" (1882). This monograph contains the fullest study of the poem that has been made. It is translated into English, with some omissions, by Kennedy in ten Brink (pp. 93-96); it is barely mentioned by Earle (p. 147), and a summary of it is given by Morley in "English Writers" (II. 319-320). A Bibliography will be found in Wuelker's Grundriss (pp. 344-5). An edition of both ATHELSTAN and BYRHTNOTH has been long announced in the "Library of Anglo-Saxon Poetry," but it has not yet appeared.[1] Sweet says of the BYRHTNOTH (Reader, p. 138): "Although the poem does not show the high technical finish of the older works, it is full of dramatic power and warm feeling"; and ten Brink, with more enthusiasm, calls it (p. 96) "one of the pearls of Old English poetry, full, as it is, of dramatic life, and fidelity of an eye-witness. Its deep feeling throbs in the clear and powerful portrayal." He recognizes, however, "the tokens of metrical decline, of the dissolution of ancient art-forms."

[1] Crow's "Maldon and Brunnanburh," 1897.

V. The DREAM OF THE ROOD is found in the Vercelli manuscript. Wuelker's Grundriss gives the literature of the subject to the time of its publication (1885). Soon afterwards Morley's "English Writers," Vol. II., appeared (1888), in which an English translation is given (pp. 237-241); also Stopford Brooke, in his "History of Early English Literature" (1892), has given an account of the poem, with partial translation and epitome (pp. 436-443). (See also p. 337 and pp. 384-386 for further notice.) The poem is very briefly mentioned by Trautmann in his monograph on Cynewulf (1898, p. 40). There are some very interesting questions connected with the poem which cannot be discussed here. Was it by Cynewulf? On the affirmative side we find Dietrich, Rieger, Grein, ten Brink, D'Ham, and Sweet. On the negative, Wuelker, Ebert, Trautmann, Stephens, Morley, Brooke, and others. Pacius, who edited the text, with a German translation, in 1873, thinks that we know nothing about the poet. Brooke has propounded a theory, previously adumbrated by the editors of the Corpus Poeticum Boreale, Vigfusson and Powell, that an older poem, possibly of Caedmonian origin, as shown by the long six-accent lines, has been worked over by Cynewulf, with additions, and that it is "his last work" (p. 440). Certain lines of the poem, in the Northumbrian dialect, are found on the Ruthwell Cross, which fact complicates the question of origin. These are compared by Brooke (p. 337). The other upholders of the Cynewulfian authorship think that this Dream, occurring in the early part of Cynewulf's religious life, led to the longer and more highly finished poem, the ELENE, written near the close of his life. The questions of the relationship of the poem to the Ruthwell Cross and to the ELENE deserve further discussion. With these is connected the question of date, and the poem has been placed all the way from 700 to 800 A.D., even a little before and a little after, possibly 675 to 825 A.D., so as yet there is no common agreement. The similarity of thought in the personal epilogue (II. 122 ff.) to the epilogue of the ELENE (II. 1237 ff.) is striking, and they may be compared by the curious reader. The translation is made from the Grein-Wuelker text (Vol. II., pp. 116-125), with emendations from others, as seen in the notes. All can agree with Kemble (Codex Vercellensis, Part II., p. ix) that "it is in some respects the most striking of all the Anglo-Saxon remains, inasmuch as a departure from the mere conventional style of such compositions is very perceptible in it. It contains some passages of real poetical beauty, and a good deal of fancy." Brooke says (op. cit., p. 443): "This is the last of the important poems of the eighth century. It is good, but not very good. The older part, if my conjecture be right, is the best, and its reworking by Cynewulf has so broken it up that its dignity is much damaged. The shaping is rude, but the imagination has indeed shaped it." ten Brink says (p. 53): "Cynewulf himself has immortalized this vision in a poem, giving utterance to an irrepressible emotion, but still exhibiting the delicate lines of a beautifully designed composition." The other Germans are usually so taken up with technical and mechanical questions that they leave no room for aesthetic considerations. Whether Cynewulf wrote the poem or not,—and the probabilities favor his authorship, though we may not hesitate to say with Morley, "I don't know,"—it is certainly the work of a gifted Christian poet, who reverences the cross as the means of the redemption of mankind.

This brief Introduction will, it is hoped, be sufficient to interest the reader in the accompanying translations of some of the finest pieces of Old English poetry that remain to us from the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries. The earlier period was the golden age of Old English poetry in the Northumbrian dialect, which poetry, there is good reason to think, was copied into the West-Saxon dialect, and it now remains to us only in that form; for, when the Northmen harried Northumbria, destroyed its monasteries, massacred its inhabitants, and settled in its homes, manuscripts perished, and the light of learning in Western Europe was extinguished. It is sufficient to recall King Alfred's oft-quoted lament, in the Preface to his translation of Pope Gregory's "Pastoral Care," to realize the position held by Northumbria in respect to culture, and when learning was restored in Wessex by the efforts of the king himself, and poetry again revived, it shone but by a reflected light. Still we should treasure all that remains, and the Old English language should be at least as well known as Latin is now, and should occupy as prominent a position in education and general culture. Until that millennial period arrives, translations of Old English poems may not be without service.


B. = Bouterwek; C. = Cook; Gm. = Grimm; Gn. = Grein; K. = Kemble; Kl. = Kluge; Kr. = Koerner; S. = Sievers; Sw. = Sweet; Th. = Thorpe; W. = Wuelker; Z. = Zupitza; Zl. = Zernial.



When had elapsed in course of years Two hundred and three, reckoned by number, And thirty also, in measure of time, Of winters for th' world, since mighty God Became incarnate, of kings the Glory, 5 Upon mid-earth in human form, Light of the righteous; then sixth was the year Of Constantine's imperial sway, Since he o'er the realm of the Roman people, The battle-prince, as ruler was raised. 10 The ward of his folk, skilful with shield, Was gracious to earls. Strong grew the aetheling's[1] Might 'neath the heavens. He was true king, War-keeper of men. God him strengthened With honor and might, that to many became he 15 Throughout this earth to men a joy, To nations a vengeance, when weapon he raised Against his foes. Him battle was offered, Tumult of war. A host was assembled, Folk of the Huns and fame-loving Goths; 20 War-brave they went, the Franks and the Hugs.[2] Bold were the men [in battle-byrnies, Gn.], Ready for war. Bright shone the spears, The ringed corselets. With shouts and shields They hoisted the standards. The heroes were there 25 Plainly assembled, and [host, Gn.] all together. The multitude marched. A war-song howled The wolf in the wood, war-secret concealed not; The dew-feathered eagle uplifted his song On the trail of his foes. Hastened quickly 30 O'er cities of giants[3] the greatest of war-hosts In bands to battle, such as king of the Huns Of dwellers-around anywhere might, Of city-warriors, assemble to war. Went greatest of armies,—the footmen were strengthened 35 With chosen bands,—till in foreign land The fighters-with-darts upon the Danube's Bank were encamping, the brave in heart, 'Round the welling of waters, with tumult of host. The realm of the Romans they wished to oppress, 40 With armies destroy. There was Huns' coming Known to the people. Then bade the Caesar Against the foes his comrades in war 'Neath arrow-flight in greatest haste Gather for fight, form battle-array 45 The heroes 'neath heavens. The Romans were, Men famed for victory, quickly prepared With weapons for war, though lesser army Had they for the battle than king of the Huns.[4] They rode 'round the valiant: then rattled the shield, 50 The war-wood clanged: the king with host marched, With army to battle. Aloft sang the raven, Dark and corpse-greedy. The band was in motion. The horn-bearers blew,[5] the heralds called, Steed stamped the earth. The host assembled 55 Quickly for contest. The king was affrighted, With terror disturbed, after the strangers, The Huns' and Hreths' host they[6] observed, That it[7] on the Romans' kingdom's border 'Round the bank of the river a band assembled, 60 A countless crowd. Heart-sorrow bore The Romans' ruler, of realm he hoped not For want of force; had warriors too few, Trusty comrades, 'gainst th' overmight Of the brave for battle. The army encamped, 65 The earls 'round the aetheling nigh to the river In neighboring plain a night-long time, After force of their foes they first beheld. Then in his sleep was shown to him, To the Caesar himself where he slept 'mid his men, 70 By the victory-famed seen, a vision of dream. Effulgent it seemed him, in form of a man, White and hue-bright, some one of heroes More splendid appeared than ere or since He saw 'neath the heavens. From sleep he awaked 75 With boar-sign bedecked. The messenger quickly, Bright herald of glory, to him made address And called him by name (the night-veil vanished): "To thee, Constantine, bade King of the angels, Wielder of fates, his favor grant, 80 The Lord of Hosts. Fear not for thyself, Though thee the strangers threaten with terror, With battle severe. Look thou to heaven, To the Lord of glory: there help wilt thou find, A token of victory." Soon was he ready 85 At hest of the holy, his heart-lock unloosed, Upwards he looked as the messenger bade him, Trusty peace-weaver. He saw bright with gems Fair rood of glory o'er roof of the clouds Adorned with gold: the jewels shone, 90 The glittering tree with letters was written Of brightness and light: "With this beacon thou On the dangerous journey[8] wilt the foe overcome, The loathly host let." The light then departed, Ascended on high, and the messenger too, 95 To the realm of the pure. The king was the blither And freer from sorrow, chieftain of men, In thoughts of his soul, for that fair sight.

[1] Prince's.

[2] MS. 'Huns,' but Z. reads 'Hugs.' Cf. W.

[3] 'O'er land of Burgundians,' Gn.

[4] Z. has no point, W. puts (;), Gn. (.)

[5] 'Hurried,' Z.^3

[6] 'He,' W.

[7] 'Which,' Z.

[8] 'In the terrible danger,' Gn.


Bade then a likeness[1] defender of aethelings, Ring-giver of heroes, to that beacon he saw, 100 Leader of armies, that in heaven before To him had appeared, with greatest haste [Bade] Constantine [like] the rood of Christ, The glorious king, a token make. He bade then at dawn with break of day 105 His warriors rouse and onset of battle, The standard raise, and that holy tree Before him carry, 'mid host of foes God's beacon bear. The trumpets sang Aloud 'fore the hosts. The raven rejoiced,[2] 110 The dew-feathered eagle beheld the march, Fight of the fierce cries, the wolf raised his howl, The wood's frequenter. War-terror arose. There was shattering of shields and mingling of men, Heavy handstroke and felling of foes, 115 After in arrow-flight first they had met. On the fated folk showers of darts, Spears over shields into hosts of foes, Sword-fierce foemen battle-adders With force of fingers forwards impelled. 120 The strong-hearted stepped, pressed onwards at once, Broke the shield-covers, thrust in their swords, Battle-brave hastened. Then standard was raised, Sign 'fore the host, song of victory sung. The golden helmet, the spear-points glistened 125 On field of battle. The heathen perished, Peaceless they fell. Forthwith they fled, The folk of the Huns, when that holy tree The king of the Romans bade raise on high, Fierce in the fight. The warriors became 130 Widely dispersed. Some war took away; Some with labor their lives preserved Upon that march; some half-alive Fled to the fastness and life protected Behind the stone-cliffs, held their abode 135 Around the Danube; some drowning took off In the stream of the river at the end of their life. Then was of the proud ones the force in joy; They followed the foreigners forth until even From break of day. The ash-darts flew, 140 Battle-adders. The heap was destroyed,[3] Shield-band of foes. Very few came Of the host of the Huns home again thence. Then it was plain that victory gave To Constantine the King Almighty 145 In the work of that day, glorious honor, Might 'neath the heavens, through the tree of his rood. Went helmet of hosts home again thence, In booty rejoicing (the battle was ended), Honored in war. Came warriors' defence 150 With band of his thanes to deck the strong shield,[4] War-renowned king, to visit his cities. Bade warriors' ward the wisest men Swiftly to synod, who wisdom's craft Through writings of old had learnt to know, 155 Held in their hearts counsels of heroes. Then that gan inquire chief of the folk, Victory-famed king, throughout the wide crowd, If any there were, elder or younger, Who him in truth was able to tell, 160 Make known by speech, what the god were, The giver of glory,[5] "whose beacon this was, That seemed me so sheen, and saved my people, Brightest of beacons, and gave to me glory, War-speed against foes, through that beautiful tree." 165 They him any answer at all were unable To give in reply, nor could they full well Clearly declare of that victory-sign. Then did the wisest speak out in words Before the armed host, that Heaven-king's 170 Token it was, and of that was no doubt. When they that heard who in baptism's lore Instructed had been, light was their mind, Rejoicing their soul, though of them there were few, That they 'fore the Caesar might dare to proclaim 175 The gift of the gospel, how the spirits' Defence, In form of the Trinity worshipped in glory, Incarnate became, Brightness of kings,— And how on the cross was God's own Son Hanged 'fore the hosts with hardest pains; 180 The Son men saved from the bonds of devils, Sorrowful spirits, and a gift to them gave Through that same sign that appeared to him Before his own eyes the token of victory 'Gainst onset of nations; and how the third day 185 From out of the tomb the Glory of heroes, From death, arose, the Lord of all The race of mankind, and to Heaven ascended. So with cunning of mind in secrets of soul They said to the victor as they by Sylvester[6] 190 Instructed had been. From him the folk-chief Baptism received, and continued to hold it For the time of his days at the will of the Lord.

[1] Lit. 'in like manner,' adv.

[2] Add 'at the work.'

[3] 'Diminished,' Gn.

[4] i.e., with precious stones. Kr. reads '(rattled strong shields).'

[5] 'Gold,' Kr. 'Lord of the house,' Gn. Cf. W.

[6] The Bishop of Rome.


Then was in bliss the giver of treasure, The battle-brave king. To him was new joy 195 Inspired in his soul; greatest of comforts And highest of hopes was heaven's Defence. Then gan he God's law by day and by night Through gift of the Spirit with zeal proclaim, And truly himself devoted he eagerly, 200 Gold-friend of men, to the service of God, Spear-famed, unfaltering. Then found the aetheling, Defence of his folk, through learned men,[1] War-brave, spear-bold, in books of God, Where had been hanged with shouts of the host 205 On tree of the rood the Ruler of heaven Through envy and hate, just as the old fiend Misled with his lies, the people deceived, The race of the Jews, so that God himself They hanged, Lord of hosts: hence in misery shall they 210 For ever and ever punishment suffer. Then praise of Christ by the Caesar was In the thoughts of his mind[2] always remembered For that great tree, and his mother he bade Go on a journey with a band of men 215 To [land of] the Jews, earnestly seek With host of warriors where that tree of glory Holy 'neath earth hidden might be, The noble King's rood. Helena would not On that expedition be slow to start, 220 Nor that joy-giver's command neglect, Her own [dear] son's, but soon she[3] was ready For the wished-for journey, as the helmet of men, Of mail-clad warriors, her had commanded. Gan then with speed the crowd of earls 225 Hasten to ship.[4] The steeds of the sea 'Round the shore of the ocean ready were standing, Cabled sea-horses, at rest on the water. Then plainly was known the voyage of the lady, When the welling of waves she sought with her folk. 230 There many a proud one at Wendel-sea Stood on the shore. They severally hastened Over the mark-paths, band after band, And then they loaded with battle-sarks, With shields and spears, with mail-clad warriors, 235 With men and women, the steeds of the sea. Then they let o'er the billows the foamy ones go, The high wave-rushers. The hull oft received O'er the mingling of waters the blows of the waves. The sea resounded. Not since nor ere heard I 240 On water-stream a lady lead, On ocean-street, a fairer force. There might he see, who that voyage beheld, Burst o'er the bath-way the sea-wood, hasten 'Neath swelling sails, the sea-horse play, 245 The wave-floater sail. The warriors were blithe, Courageous in mind; queen joyed in her journey. After to haven the ringed-prowed O'er the sea-fastness had finished their course To the land of the Greeks, they let the keels 250 At the shore of the sea beat by the breakers, The old sea-dwellings at anchor fast, On the water await the fate of the heroes, When the warlike queen with her band of men Over the east-ways should seek them again. 255 There was on [each] earl easily seen The braided byrnie and tested sword, Glittering war-weeds, many a helmet, Beautiful boar-sign. The spear-warriors were, Men 'round victor-queen, prepared for the march, 260 Brave war-heroes. They marched with joy Into land of the Greeks, the Caesar's heralds, Battle-warriors with armor protected. There was to be seen treasure-gem set 'Mid that army-host, gift of their lord. 265 [Then] was the blessed Helena mindful, Bold in her thought, of the prince's will, Eager in mind, in that she of the Jews, O'er the army-fields with tested band Of warriors-with-shields, the land was seeking, 270 With host of men; so it after befell In little while that that force of men, War-famed heroes, to Hierusalem[5] Came to the city the greatest of crowds, Spear-famed earls, with the noble queen. 275

[1] Lit., 'smiths of lore.'

[2] Z. supposes lacuna of one verse; W. thinks it unnecessary.

[3] Lit., 'the woman.'

[4] Lit., 'to the sea,' or 'sea-journey.'

[5] A.-S. form retained for the sake of the accent and alliteration.


Bade she then order the dwellers-in-city Most skilled in lore, those far and wide Among the Jews, each one of men, For council-talk in meeting to come, Who most deeply the secrets of God 280 By righteous law were able to tell. Then was assembled from distant ways No little crowd who Moses' law Were able to tell. In number there were Of thousands three of those [learned] men 285 Chosen for lore. The lovely woman The men of the Hebrews with words gan address: "I that most surely have learnt to know Through secret words of prophets [of old] In the books of God, that in days of yore 290 Ye worthy were of the glorious King, Dear to the Lord and daring in deed. Lo! ye that wisdom [very, Gn.] unwisely, Wrongly, rejected, when him ye condemned Who you from the curse through might of his glory, 295 From torment of fire, thought to redeem, From fetters' force. Ye filthily spat On his fair face who light of the eyes From blindness [restored], a remedy brought To you anew by that noble spittle, 300 And often preserved you from the unclean Spirits of devils. This one to death Ye gan adjudge, who self from death Many awakened 'mong host of men Of your own race to the former life. 305 So blinded in mind ye gan conjoin Lying with truth, light with darkness, Hatred with mercy, with evil thoughts Ye wickedness wove; therefore the curse You guilty oppresses. The purest Might 310 Ye gan condemn, and have lived in error, In thoughts benighted, until this day. Go ye now quickly, with prudence select Men firm in wisdom, crafty in word, Who your own law, with excellence skilled, 315 In thoughts of their minds most thoroughly have, Who to me truly are able to say, Answer to tell for you henceforth Of each one of tokens that I from thee seek." They went then away sorry-in-mind, 320 The law-clever earls, oppressed with fear, Sad in their grief, earnestly sought The wisest men in secrets of words, That they to the queen might answer well Both of good and of ill, as she from them sought. 325 Then they 'mong the host a thousand of men Found clever in mind who the old story Among the Jews most readily knew. Then they pressed in a crowd where in pomp awaited On kingly throne the Caesar's mother,[1] 330 Stately war-queen with gold adorned. Helena spake and said 'fore the earls: "Hear, clever in mind, the holy secret, Word and wisdom. Lo! ye the prophets' Teaching received, how the Life-giver 335 In form of a child incarnate became, Ruler of might. Of him Moses sang And spake this [word],[2] warden of Israel: 'To you shall be born a child in secret Renowned in might, though his mother shall not 340 Be filled with fruit through love of a man.' Of him David the king a kingly psalm sang, The wise old sage, father of Solomon, And spake this word, prince of warriors: 'The God of creation before me I saw, 345 Lord of victories. He was in my sight, Ruler of hosts, upon my right hand, Guardian of glory. Thence turn I not Ever in life my countenance from him.'[3] So it again of you Isaiah 350 'Fore the people, the prophet, foretold in words, Thinking profoundly by spirit of the Lord: 'I raised upon high sons young in years, And children begat, to whom glory I gave, Heart-comfort holy: but they me rejected, 355 With enmity hated, forethought possessed not, Wisdom of mind, and the wretched cattle, That on each day one drives and strikes, Their well-doer know, not at all with revenge Bear hate to their friends who give them fodder. 360 And the folk of Israel never were willing Me to acknowledge, though many for them, In worldly course, of wonders I wrought.'[4]

[1] Lit., 'kinswoman.' The Elizabethan 'Kesar' would preserve the alliteration in this line.

[2] Gn. and Z. W. omits.

[3] Psalms xvi. 8, 9.

[4] Isaiah i. 2, 3.


"Lo! that we heard through holy books, That the Lord to you gave blameless glory, 365 The Maker, mights' Speed, to Moses said How the King of heaven ye should obey, His teaching perform. Of that ye soon wearied, And counter to right ye had contended; Ye shunned the bright Creator of all, 370 The Lord [of Lords],[1] and followed error 'Gainst right of God. Now quickly go And find ye still who writings of old Through craft of wit the best may know, Your books of law, that answer to me 375 Through prudent mind they may return." Went then with a crowd depressed in mind The proud in heart, as them the queen bade. Found they five hundred of cunning men, Chosen comrades, who craft of lore 380 Through memory of mind the most possessed, Wisdom in spirit. They back to the hall In little while again were summoned, Wards of the city. The queen them gan With words address (she glanced over all): 385 "Often ye silly actions performed, Accursed wretches, and writings despised, Lore of your fathers, ne'er more than now, When ye of your blindness the Healer rejected, And ye contended 'gainst truth and right, 390 That in Bethlehem the child of the Ruler, The only-born King, incarnate was, The Prince of princes. Though the law ye knew, Words of the prophets, ye were not then willing, Workers of sin, the truth to confess." 395 With one mind then they answered her: "Lo! we the Hebrew law have learned, That in days of old our fathers knew, At the ark of God, nor know we well Why thou so fiercely, lady, with us 400 Hast angry become. We know not the wrong That we have done amid this nation, Chiefest of crimes[2] against thee ever." Helena said and 'fore the earls spake Without concealment; the lady proclaimed 405 Aloud 'fore the hosts: "Now go ye quickly, Seek out apart who wisdom with you Might and mindcraft the most may have, That each of the things they boldly may tell me, Without delay, that I from them seek." 410 Went they then from the council as the mighty queen, Bold in the palace, them had commanded, Sorry-in-mind eagerly searched they, With cunning sought, what were the sin That they in the folk might have committed 415 Against the Caesar, for which the queen blames them. Then there 'fore the earls one them addressed, Cunning in songs (his name was Judas), Crafty in word: "I surely know, That she will seek of the victor-tree 420 On which once suffered the Ruler of nations Free from all faults, own Son of God, Whom though guiltless[3] of every sin Through hatred hanged upon the high tree In days of old our own fathers. 425 That was terrible thought. There is now great need That we with firmness strengthen our minds, That we of this murder become not informers, Where the holy tree was hidden away After the war-storm, lest may be rejected 430 The wise old writings and of our fathers The lore be lost. Not long will it be[4] That of Israelites the noble race Over the mid-earth may reign any more, The law-craft of earls, if this be revealed: 435 That same long ago mine elder father Victory-famed said (his name was Zacchaeus), The wise old man, to mine own father, [Who afterwards made it known to his, Gn.][5] son, (He went from this world), and spake this word: 440 'If to thee that happen in the days of thy life, That thou may'st hear of that holy tree Wise men inquire and questionings raise Of that victor-wood on which the true King Was hanged on high, Guardian of heaven, 445 Child of all peace, then quickly declare it, Mine own dear son, ere death thee remove. Ne'er may after that the folk of the Hebrews, The wise in counsel, their kingdom hold, Rule over men, but their fame shall live 450 And their dominion [be glorified ever, Gn.],[5] To world of worlds with joy be filled, Who the King that was hanged honor and praise.'

[1] Gn., Z., W.

[2] So W. 'Wrongs have committed,' Gm., Gn. and Z. [?]

[3] W.

[4] Add 'after that.'

[5] Lacuna in MS., emended by Gn.


"Then quickly I to mine own father, The old law-sage, answer returned: 455 'How might that happen on kingdom of earth That they on the holy their hands should lay For reaving of life, our own fathers, Through hostile mind, if they ere knew That he were Christ, the King in heaven, 460 True son of Creator, Saviour of souls.' Then to me mine elder answer returned, Wise in his mind my father replied: 'Perceive, young man, the might of God, The name of the Saviour. That is to each man 465 Unutterable. Him may no one Upon this earth [ever] find out. Never that plan that this people framed Was I willing to follow, but I always myself Held aloof from their crimes, by no means wrought shame 470 To mine own spirit. To them earnestly often On account of their wrong I made opposition, When the learned-in-lore counsel were taking, Were seeking in soul how the Son of their Maker, Men's Helm,[1] they might hang, the Lord of all, 475 Both angels and men, noblest of children. They might not so foolish death fasten on him, Miserable men, as they ere weened, Afflict with pains, though he for a time Upon the cross his spirit gave up, 480 Victor-child of God. Then afterwards was Raised from the rood the Ruler of heavens, Glory of all glories, three nights after Within the tomb was he abiding Under the darkness, and then on third day, 485 Light of all light, he living arose, Prince of angels, and he to his thanes, True Lord of victories, himself revealed, Bright in his fame. Then did thy brother In time receive the bath of baptism, 490 Enlightening belief. For love of the Lord Was Stephen then with stones assailed, Nor ill gave for ill, but for foes of old Patient implored, prayed King of glory That he the woe-deed would not lay to their charge, 495 In that through hate the innocent One, Guiltless of sins, by the teachings of Saul They robbed of life, as he through enmity To misery many of the folk of Christ Condemned, to death. Yet later the Lord 500 Mercy him showed, that to many became he Of people for comfort, when the God of creation, Saviour of men, had changed his name, And afterwards he the holy Paul Was called by name, and no one than he 505 Of teachers of faith, [no] other, was better 'Neath roof of heaven afterwards ever Of those man or woman brought into the world, Although he Stephen with stones them bade Slay on the mountain, thine own brother. 510 Now may'st thou hear, mine own dear son, How gracious is the Ruler of all, Though we transgression 'gainst him oft commit, The wound of sins, if we soon after For those misdeeds repentance work 515 And from unrighteousness afterwards cease. Therefore I truly, and my dear father, After believed [in the Giver of life, Gn.], That he had suffered, God of all glories, Leader of life, painful penalty 520 For mighty need of the race of men. Therefore I teach thee through secret of song, My dearest child, that scornful words, Hatred or blasphemy, never thou work, Fierce contradiction 'gainst the Son of God. 525 Then wilt thou merit that thee life eternal, Best of rewards, shall be given in heaven.' Thus mine own father in days of old Me unwaxen with words did teach, Instruct with true speech (his name was Simon), 530 Man wise in words. Now well do ye know What of that in your thought may seem to you best Plainly to tell, if us this queen Shall ask of that tree, now mine own mind And thought of heart ye [well] do know." 535 Him then in reply the cleverest of all In the crowd of men with words addressed: "Ne'er did we hear any of men Among this folk save thee just now, Another thane, declare in this manner 540 Of so secret event. Do as [best] seems thee, Thou wise in old lore, if thou be questioned 'Mong the host of men. Of wisdom has need, Of wary words and sage's cunning, Who shall to the noble one answer return 545 Before such a host among the assembly."

[1] i.e., 'defence, protector.'


Words waxed in speech; men counsel took On every side; some hither, some thither, Considered and thought. Then came many thanes To the people's assembly. The heralds called, 550 The Caesar's criers: "This queen you invites, Men, to the hall, that the council-decisions Ye rightly may tell. Of rede have ye need In the place of assembly, of wisdom of mind." Ready they were, the sad-in-mind 555 People's protectors, when they were summoned Through stern command; to court they went Craft's might to tell. Then gan the queen The Hebrew men in words address, Ask the life-weary of writings of old, 560 How ere in the world the prophets sang, Men holy in spirit, of the Son of God, Where the Prince [of the people] his sufferings bore, True son of Creator, for love of souls. Stubborn they were, harder than stone, 565 Would not that secret rightly make known Nor answer to her any would tell, Anger-provokers, of what she sought, But they of each word made a denial, Firm in their minds, of what she gan ask, 570 Said that in life they any such thing Nor ere nor since ever had heard of. Helena spake and angrily said: "I [now] in truth to you will say,— And of this in your life there shall be no deception,— 575 If ye in this falseness longer continue With treacherous lying, who stand here before me, That you on the mountain bale-fire shall take, Hottest of war-waves, and your corpses consume, The lambent flame, so for you shall that lie 580 To leaving of life [surely] be turned. Ye may not prove that word, which ye just now in wrong Concealed 'neath heaps[1] of sins. Nor may ye hide that fate, Obscure its deepest might." In thought of death they were Of pyre and life's end, and delivered then one 585 Well-skilled in songs (to him the name Judas Was given 'fore kinsmen);—him they gave to the queen, Said of him very wise: "He may truth to thee tell, Fate's secrets reveal, as thou askest in words, The law from beginning forth to the end. 590 He is before earth of noble race, Wise in word-craft and son of a prophet, Bold in council. To him 'tis inborn That he the answers clever may have, Knowledge in heart. He to thee shall declare 595 'Fore the crowd of men the gift of wisdom Through mickle might, as thy mind desires." In peace she permitted each one to seek His own [dear] home, and him alone took, Judas, as hostage, and earnestly prayed 600 That he of the rood would rightly teach, Which of old in its bed was long concealed, And she himself apart to her called. Helena spake to him alone, Glory-rich queen: "For thee two are ready, 605 Or life or death, as liefer shall be, To thee to choose. Now quickly declare To which of the two thou wilt agree." Judas to her spake again (he might not the sorrow avoid, Avert the ire of the empress.[2] In the power of the queen was he): 610 "How may him befall who out on the waste, Tired and foodless, treads the moorland, Oppressed with hunger, and bread and stone Both in his sight together[3] shall be, The hard and the soft, that he take the stone 615 For hunger's defence, care not for the bread, Return to want and reject the food, Renounce the better, if both he enjoys?"

[1] Lit., 'under the lap (or bosom) of sins.'

[2] MS. rex (Latin?), Z.; 'oppression of care' (cearces), Gn.; 'of hunger' (ceaces), Gm.; 'of smoke' (reces), Schubert; rex = cyninges, Sievers and W.

[3] Z.


To him then the blessed answer returned, Helena 'fore earls without concealment: 620 "If thou in heaven willest to have Dwelling with angels and life on earth, Reward in the skies, tell me quickly Where rests the rood of the King of heaven Holy 'neath earth, which ye now long 625 Through sin of murder from men have concealed." Judas replied (his mind was sad, Heat in his heart and woe for both, Whether hope of heaven with [all] his soul He should renounce, along with his present 630 Kingdom 'neath skies, or show the rood): "How may I that find that long ago happened In course of winters? Now many are gone, Two hundred or more, reckoned by number; I may not recount, now the number I know not. 635 Now many have since departed this life, Of wise and good who were before us, Of clever men. In youth was I In later days afterwards born, A child in years. I cannot what I know not 640 Find in my heart that so long ago happened." Helena spake to him in answer: "How has it happened among this people, That ye so much in mind retain, Each one of all signs, just as the Trojans 645 In fight effected? 'Twas greater terror,[1] Well-known old war, than this noble event, In course of years. Ye that can well Quickly recount, how many there were In number of men in that murderous fight 650 Of throwers-with-darts fallen in death Under the shield-hedge. Ye have the graves Under the stone-slopes, and likewise the places And the number of winters in writings set down." Judas replied (great sorrow he bore): 655 "That work of war, we, lady mine, Through direful need remember well, And that tumult of war in writing set down, The bearing of nations, but this one never By any man's mouth have we heard 660 Made known to men except here now." The noble queen gave answer to him: "Thou resistest too much both truth and right Of the tree of life, and now little before Thou truly said'st of that victor-tree 665 To thine own people, and now turn'st to a lie." To her Judas said that he spake that in sorrow And doubt extreme, worse evil expected. Him quickly answered the Caesar's mother: "Lo! that have we heard through holy books 670 Made known to men that there was hanged On Calvary the King's free child, God's Spirit-son. Thou fully shalt Wisdom reveal, as writings tell, About the plain, where the place may be, 675 That Calvary, ere misery take thee, Death for thy sins, that I afterwards may Purify it at the will of Christ, For help to men, that holy God, Almighty Lord, the thought of my heart 680 My wish may fulfil, men's Giver of glory, Helper of souls." Her Judas answered, Stubborn in mind: "I know not the place Nor aught of the plain, nor the thing do I know." Helena spake with angry mind: 685 "This do I swear through the Son of the Maker The hanged God, that with hunger thou shalt Before thy kinsmen be put to death, Unless thou forsake these lying tales And plainly to me the truth make known." 690 Then bade she with band him lead alive, The guilty one cast (the servants delayed not) Into a dry pit, where robbed of joy, He lingered in sorrows seven nights' time Within the prison oppressed with hunger, 695 Fastened with fetters, and then gan he call, Weakened by pains, on the seventh day, Tired and foodless (his strength was exhausted): "I you beseech through heaven's God, That me from these sufferings ye may release, 700 Humbled by hunger. Of that holy tree Shall I willingly tell, now longer I may not For hunger conceal it. This bond is too strong, Distress too severe, and this misery too hard In number of days. I may not endure it, 705 Nor longer conceal of the tree of life, Though with folly before I was thoroughly filled, And the truth too late I myself have perceived."

[1] Or, 'war,' Gn.; 'further oft,' Gm.


When she that heard, who men there ordered, The man's behavior, she quickly commanded 710 That him from confinement and out of his dungeon, From the narrow abode, they should release. They hastily that did soon perform And him with honor then led they up From out of the prison as them the queen bade. 715 Stepped they then to the place, the firm-in-mind, Upon the hill on which the Lord Before was hanged, heaven-kingdom's Ward, God's child, on the cross, and yet knew he not well, Weakened by hunger, where the holy rood 720 Through cunning of foe[1] enclosed in earth, 721-2 Long firm in its bed concealed from men, Remained in its grave. Now raised he his voice, Unmindful[2] of might, and in Hebrew he spake: 725 "Saviour Lord, thou hast power of rule, And thou didst create through the might of thy glory Heaven and earth and the boisterous sea, The ocean's wide bosom, all creatures alike, And thou didst measure with thine own hands 730 All the globe of the earth and the heaven above, And thou thyself sittest, Wielder of victories, Above the noblest order of angels, That fly through the air encircled with light, Great might of glory. There mankind may not 735 From the paths of earth ascend on high In bodily form with that bright host, Heralds of glory. These wroughtest thou, And for thine own service them didst thou set, Holy and heavenly. Of these in the choir 740 In joy eternal six are named, Who are surrounded with six wings apiece, [With them are] adorned, [and] fair they shine. Of these are four who ever in flight The service of glory attend upon 745 Before the face of the Judge eternal, Continually sing in glory the praise, With clearest voices, of the King of heaven, Most beauteous of songs, and say these words With voices pure (their name Cherubim): 750 'Holy is the holy God of archangels, Ruler of hosts. Full of his glory Are heaven and earth and all the high powers With glory distinguished,' There are two among these, Victor-race in heaven, who Seraphim 755 By name are called. They shall Paradise And the tree of life with flaming sword Holy maintain. The hard-edged trembles, The etched brand wavers, and changes its form, Firm in their grips. That,[3] O Lord God, 760 Ever thou wieldest, and thou the sinful, Guilt-working foes out of the heavens, The foolish, didst cast. The accursed host then Under dwellings of darkness was forced to fall To perdition of hell. There now in the welling 765 Endure they death-pain in the dragon's embrace, Enclosed in darkness. [Thee] he resisted, Thy princely rule; therefore in misery, Full[4] of all foulness, he guilty shall suffer, Slavery endure. There may he not 770 Thy word reject: he is fast in torments, The author of sin, in misery bound. If thy will it be, Ruler of angels, That he may reign who was on the rood, And who through Mary upon the mid-earth 775 Incarnate became in form of a child, Prince of the angels (if he had not been Thy Son free from sin, never so many True wonders in world would he have wrought In number of days. Thou wouldst not from death 780 So gloriously him, Ruler of nations, Have awaked 'fore the hosts, if he in glory Through the bright [maid] were not thy Son),— Now, Father of angels, send forth thy sign. As thou didst hear the holy man, 785 Moses, in prayer, when thou, God of might, Didst show to the earl at the noble time Under the hill-slope the bones of Joseph, So, Ruler of hosts, if it be thy will, Through that bright form I'll pray to thee 790 That to me the gold-hoard, Maker of spirits, Thou wilt reveal, that has been from men [So] long concealed. Let, Author of life, Now from this plain a winsome smoke 'Neath heaven's expanse mount up on high 795 Playing in the air. I'll the better believe, And I'll the more firmly stablish my mind, Undoubting trust, upon the hanged Christ, That he be in truth the Saviour of souls, Eternal, Almighty, Israel's King, 800 Forever may have glory in heaven, Rule without end the dwellings eternal."

[1] No lacuna in MS. Gn.^1 inserted one line, but Gn.^2 one word (feonda), which W. prefers. Text as Z. (feondes), which Sievers approves.

[2] 'Mindful,' Gm. and Gn.; 'suffering,' Z. [?].

[3] Referring to the sword.

[4] Gn., or 'foul,' Z.


Then out of that place a vapor arose Like smoke 'neath the heavens. There was rejoiced The mind of the man. With both his hands, 805 Happy and law-clever, upward he clapped. Judas exclaimed, clever in thought: "Now I in truth myself have known In my hardened heart that thou art the Saviour Of [this] mid-earth. To thee, God of might, 810 Sitting in glory, be thanks without end, That to me so sad and so full of sin Thou revealed'st in glory the secrets of fate. Now, Son of God, to thee will I pray, Will-giver of peoples, now I know that thou art 815 Declared and born of all kings the Glory, That thou no longer be of my sins, Those which I committed by no means seldom, O Maker, mindful. Let me, God of might, Amid the number of thine own kingdom 820 With the army of saints my dwelling have In that bright city, where is my brother Honored in glory, for that faith with thee He, Stephen, kept, though with handfuls of stones He was pelted to death. War's meed he has, 825 Fame without end. There are in books The wonders he wrought, in writings, made known." Then gan he glad for the tree of glory, Constant in zeal, delve in the earth Beneath the turf, so that at twenty 830 Feet by measure he found far concealed, Down in the depths hidden in the earth 'Neath cover of darkness,—there found he three Of roods together within the sad house Buried in sand, as in days of old 835 The host of the wicked covered with earth, The folk of the Jews. 'Gainst the child of God Hatred they raised, although they should not, If the lore they'd not heard of the father of lies. Then was his mind greatly rejoiced, 840 His heart was strengthened by that holy tree, His spirit inspired, when the beacon he saw Holy 'neath earth. With his hands he clasped The cross[1] of glory, and it raised 'mid the crowd From its grave in the earth. The guests on foot, 845 The aethelings, went on into the city. They set there in sight three victor-trees The firm-minded earls 'fore Helena's feet,[2] Courageous in heart. The queen rejoiced In the depth of her soul, and then gan ask 850 On which of those trees the Son of the Ruler, Joy-giver of heroes, hanged had been. "Lo! that we have heard through holy books By tokens declared, that two with-him [Also] suffered, and himself was the third 855 On the tree of the rood. All heaven was dark On that terrible day. Say, if thou canst, On which of these three the Prince of the angels Suffered [his doom], the Shepherd of glory." Her Judas might not (he knew not full well) 860 Plainly inform of the victor-wood, On which one the Saviour uplifted had been, Victor-son of God, ere he bade them set Within the middle of that great city The trees with clamor, and there await 865 Till to him declared the Almighty King The wonder 'fore the folk of that tree of glory. The victor-famed sat, their song they raised, The wise in rede, 'round the three roods Until the ninth hour; new joy they had 870 With wonder found. Then came there a crowd, No little folk, and a man deceased They brought on a bier with heap of men In neighborhood [nigh] (ninth hour it was), A lifeless youth. Then Judas was there 875 In thought of his heart greatly rejoiced. He bade then set the soul-less [youth], Deprived of life the corpse on the earth, The lifeless one, and up he raised, Declarer of truth, two of the crosses, 880 The wise, in his arms o'er that fated house, Plunged deep in thought. It was dead as before, Corpse fast on its bier: the limbs were cold, Clad in distress. Then was the third Holy upraised. The body awaited 885 Until over it the AEtheling's [cross], His rood, was upraised, Heaven-king's tree, True token of victory. Soon he arose Ready in spirit, both together Body and soul. There praise was uplifted 890 Fair 'mid the folk. The Father they honored, And also the true Son of the Ruler They praised in words. Be glory and thanks To Him without end from all His creatures.

[1] Lit., 'joy-wood.'

[2] Lit., 'knee.'


Then was to the people in the depth of their souls 895 Impressed on their minds, as ever shall be, The wonder that wrought the Lord of hosts For saving of souls of the race of men, The Teacher of life. There the sinner-through-lies Then stied in the air, the flying fiend. 900 Gan then exclaim the devil of hell, The terrible monster, mindful of evils: "Lo! what man is this, who now again With ancient strife my service will ruin, Increase the old hate, [and] plunder my goods? 905 This contest's increasing. The souls cannot, Workers of sin, longer within My power remain, now a stranger is come, Whom I ere reckoned fast in his sins, Me has he robbed of every right, 910 Of precious possessions. That's not a fair course. To me many harms the Saviour has done, Contests oppressive, he who in Nazareth Was reared as a child. As soon as he grew From childhood's years, he to him ever turned 915 Mine own possessions. I may not now In any right thrive. His kingdom is broad Over the mid-earth. My might is lessened Under the heavens. The rood I need not Joyfully praise. Lo! me the Saviour 920 In that narrow home again has confined Sadly for sorrow. Through Judas before Joyful I was, and now am I humbled, Deprived of goods, through Judas again, Despised and friendless. Still can I find 925 Through evil deeds return hereafter[1] From the homes of the damned. 'Gainst thee will I rouse Another king[2] who will persecute thee, And he will reject thine own instruction, And sinful manners of mine will he follow, 930 And thee will he send then into the blackest And into the worst terrors of torments, That with sorrow beset thou'lt firmly renounce The hanged King whom ere thou obeyed'st." To him then the cunning Judas replied, 935 The battle-brave man (in him Holy Spirit Was firmly implanted, fire-hot his love, His wit was welling with warrior's craft), And this word he spake with wisdom filled: "Thou need not so strongly, mindful of sins, 940 Sorrow renew, and strife uprear, Sin-maker of murder, for thee mighty King In the depths beneath will thrust thee down, Worker of sin, to miseries' bottom Deprived of glory, who many of the dead 945 With his word awaked. Know thou the readier, That thou with folly didst once renounce Brightest of lights and love of the Lord, The fairest joy, and in bath of fire, Surrounded with torments, didst afterwards dwell, 950 Consumed with flame, and there ever shalt, Hostile in mind, punishment suffer, Misery endless." Helena heard How the fiend and the friend contests aroused, The blest and the base, on both their sides, 955 The sinner and the saint. Her mind was the gladder For that she heard the hellish foe [The fiend] overcome, the worker of sins, And then she wondered at the wit of the man, How he so truthful in so little time 960 And so untaught ever became With wisdom inspired. [Then] thanked she God, The King of glory, that her wish was fulfilled Through the Son of God of each of the two, Both for the sight of the victor-tree, 965 And of the faith that[3] so bright she perceived, The glorious gift in the breast of the man.

[1] So Z.; 'rebellion for this,' W. See W.'s note.

[2] Julian the Apostate, suggests Gn.

[3] 'That,' relative, though it may be taken as conjunction, as Z.


Then was made known among that folk, Throughout that nation widely proclaimed, The great morning-news for a grievance to many 970 Of those who God's law wished to conceal, Announced in the towns far as waters embrace, In each of the cities, that the rood of Christ Once buried in earth had been discovered, Brightest of beacons, which since or before 975 Holy 'neath heavens had been upheaved; And it was to the Jews the greatest of sorrows, Unhappy men, most hateful of fates, That they 'fore the world were unable to change it, The joy of the Christians. Then bade the queen 980 'Mong the host of earls heralds to hasten, Quickly to journey; they should of the Romans O'er the high sea the lord seek out, And to that warrior the best of tidings Say, to himself, that the victor-sign 985 Through Creator's favor had been recovered, Found in the earth, which ages before Had been concealed for sorrow to saints, To Christian folk. Then was to the king Through the glorious words his spirit gladdened, 990 His heart rejoicing. Then was of inquirers 'Neath golden garments no lack in the cities Come from afar. To him greatest of comforts It became in the world at the wished-for tidings,— His heart delighted,—which army-leaders 995 Over the east-ways, messengers, brought him, How happy a journey over the swan-road The men with the queen successfully made To the land of the Greeks. The Caesar bade them With greatest haste again prepare 1000 Themselves for the way. The men delayed not As soon as they had the answer heard, The words of the aetheling. Bade he Helena hail, The war-famed greet, if they the sea-voyage And happy journey were able to make, 1005 Brave-minded men, to the holy city. Bade also to her the messengers say Constantinus, that she a church On the mountain-slope for gain of both Should there erect, a temple of God, 1010 On Calvary, for joy to Christ, For help to men, where the holy rood Had been discovered, greatest of trees, Of those that earth-dwellers ever heard named Upon the earth. So she effected, 1015 After dear kinsmen brought from the west Over the ocean many loved tidings. Then bade the queen those skilled in crafts To seek out apart, the best of all, Those who most cunningly knew how to work 1020 In joinings of stones, on the open plain God's temple to build. As the Warden of spirits Her counselled from heaven, she bade the rood With gold adorn and gems of all kinds, With the most splendid of precious stones 1025 To set with skill, and in silver chest To enclose with locks. There that tree of life, Best of victor-trees, has since remained In nature eternal.[1] There 'twill be ever ready A help to the sick 'gainst every ill, 1030 Distress and sorrow. There soon will they Through that holy creation assistance obtain, A gift divine. Also Judas received After fixed time the bath of baptism, And cleansed became, trustful in Christ, 1035 Dear to the Life-warden. His faith became Firm in his heart, when the Spirit of comfort Made his abode in the breast of the man, To repentance him urged. The better he chose, The joy of glory, and the worse he refused, 1040 The service of idols, and error rejected, Unlawful belief. To him King[2] eternal, The Creator, was mild, God, Ruler of might.

[1] So Z.; 'The noble wood,' Gm. and Gn.

[2] Latin, rex.


Then he was baptized who often before The ready light [had long rejected, Gn.], 1045 Inspired was his soul for that better life, To glory turned. Fate surely ordained That so full of faith and so dear to God In realm of the world he should become, [So] pleasing to Christ. That known became, 1050 After that Helena bade them Eusebius, Bishop of Rome, into council with her To bring for help, the very wise [man] By means of men,[1] to the holy city, That he might ordain to the sacred office 1055 Judas for the folk in Jerusalem, To be their bishop within the city, Through gift of the Spirit for the temple of God Chosen with wisdom, and him Cyriacus Through counsel of wit she afterwards named 1060 A second time. The name was changed Of the man in the city henceforth for the better, For the law of the Saviour. Then still Helena's Mind was disturbed at the wondrous fate, Very much for the nails, those which the Saviour's 1065 Feet had pierced through and likewise his hands, With which on the rood the Ruler of Heaven, Lord mighty, was fastened. Of these gan ask The Christians' queen, Cyriacus prayed That still for her, by the might of his spirit, 1070 For the wondrous fate the will he'ld fulfil, Reveal by his gifts, and she addressed This word to the bishop, boldly she spake: "Thou, earls' defence, the noble tree Of heavens' King me rightly didst show, 1075 On which was hanged by heathen hands The Helper of spirits, own Son of God, Saviour of men. Still of the nails In thought of my mind curiosity troubles me. I would thou should'st find those which yet in the earth 1080 Deeply buried remain concealed, Hidden in darkness. My heart ever sorrows, Sad it complains and never will rest, Ere for me He fulfil, Almighty Father, Ruler of hosts, mine own desire, 1085 Saviour of men, by sight[2] of the nails, The Holy from height. Now quickly do thou With all humility, most excellent man, Direct thy prayer to the heavens bright, To the Ruler of glory, pray Strength of warriors, 1090 That to thee may reveal the Almighty King The hord 'neath the earth, that hidden still, Concealed from men, in secret abides." Then gan the holy one strengthen his heart, Inspired in his breast the bishop of the folk, 1095 Glad-minded, went with a crowd of men Those praising God, and earnestly then Cyriacus on Calvary Inclined his face, his secret concealed not, With might of his spirit called upon God 1100 With all humility, prayed Warden of angels To open to him the unknown fate In his new distress, where he the nails Upon the plain Best need expect. Then caused he the token, where they were looking, 1105 The Father, hope's Spirit, in form of fire Upwards to rise, where they most noble By means of men[3] had once been hidden With secret cunning, the nails in the earth. Then suddenly came brighter than sun 1110 The playing flame. The people saw To the giver of their will[4] the wonder made known, When there out of darkness, like stars of heaven Or gems of gold, upon the bottom The nails from the narrow bed shining beneath 1115 Brilliantly glittered. The people rejoiced, The glad-minded host, spake glory to God With one accord all, though ere they were By the devil's deceit long in error, Estranged from Christ. Thus did they speak: 1120 "Ourselves now we see the token of victory, True wonder of God, that before we opposed With lying words. Now is come into light, Is revealed, fate's course. May glory for this Have in the highest heaven-kingdom's God!" 1125 Then he was rejoiced who turned to repentance Through the Son of God, the people's bishop, A second time. He took the nails, Disturbed with fear, and to the venerable Queen did he bring them. Cyriacus had 1130 It all fulfilled as the noble one bade him, The woman's will. There was sound of weeping, Hot head-welling was poured o'er her cheeks, By no means for sorrow. The tears were falling O'er the plaiting of wires.[5] With glory fulfilled 1135 Was the wish of the queen. She knelt on her knees With bright belief; she honored the gift, Rejoicing with joy, which was to her brought For help in her sorrows. Then thanked she God, The Lord of victories, that the truth she had learnt 1140 At that present time, that oft was announced So long before from creation of the world For comfort to the people. She was inspired With the gift of wisdom, and his dwelling held Holy Spirit of heaven, guarded her breast, 1145 Her noble heart. So her the Almighty Victor-son of God after protected.

[1] So Z.; 'With pomp of array,' Gn.

[2] Lit., 'coming.'

[3] Same expression as in 1054.

[4] Lit., 'will-giver,' i.e., the queen.

[5] i.e., her ornaments of gold.


Then eagerly gan she with secrets of soul Seek in her spirit by soothfastness The way to glory. Now God of hosts 1150 His help bestowed, the Father in heaven, Almighty King, that the queen obtained Her will in the world. The prophecy was By sages of old sung long before All from beginning, as it afterwards happened 1155 In respect to each thing. The folk-queen began Through gift of the Spirit gladly to seek With greatest care how best the nails, And in manner most worthy, she might apply For joy to the folk, what was will of the Lord. 1160 Bade she then fetch a very wise man Quickly to counsel, him who wisdom Through clever might thoroughly knew, Wise in his heart, and gan him ask What in his soul seemed to him best 1165 To do about that, and his teachings she chose In respect to her conduct. Her boldly[1] he answered: "That is becoming that word of the Lord Thou hold in heart, holy counsel, Most excellent queen, and the King's command 1170 Gladly fulfil, now God has thee given Success of soul and craft of wit, The Saviour of men. Bid thou these nails For that most excellent of earthly kings, Of owners of cities, put on his bridle 1175 For bit to his horse. To many that shall, Throughout the mid-earth, become renowned, When with that in contest he may overcome Each one of his foes, when the brave-in-war On either side the battle seek, 1180 Sword-contenders, where they strive for victory, Foe against foe. War-speed shall he have, Victory in fight and everywhere peace, In battle success, who carries in front The bridle on horse, when the famed-in-fight 1185 At clashing of spears, the choicest of men, Bear shield and lance. To each one of men Against war-terror shall be invincible This weapon in war. The seer of it sang, Cunning in thought. Deep moved his mind, 1190 His wit of wisdom. This word he spake: 'That shall be known that the horse of the king Shall 'neath the proud with bit be adorned, With bridle-rings. That beacon to God Shall holy be called, and that one valor-blessed, 1195 Honored in war, who rides on that horse.'" With haste then that did all perform Helena 'fore earls, bade the aetheling's, Heroes' ring-giver's, bridle adorn, To her own son sent as a present 1200 O'er ocean's stream the blameless gift. She bade then together those whom as best Of men she knew among the Jews, Of the race of heroes, to the holy city, To the town to come. Then gan the queen 1205 The dear ones teach that love of the Lord And peace likewise among themselves, The bond of friendship, they fast should hold Without reproach in time of their life, And they to the teacher's lore should hearken, 1210 The Christian virtues that Cyriacus taught them, Clever in books. The office of bishop Was fairly made fast. From afar oft to him The lame, the sick, the crippled came, The halt, the wounded, the leprous and blind, 1215 The lowly, the sad; always there health At the hands of the bishop, healing, they found Ever for ever. Yet Helena gave him Treasures as presents, when ready she was For the journey home, and bade she then all 1220 In that kingdom of men who worshipped God, Men and women, that they should honor With mind and might that famous day, With thoughts of the heart, whereon holy rood Had been discovered, greatest of trees, 1225 Of those which from earth ever sprang up Grown under leaves. Then spring was gone Except six nights ere coming of summer On the kalends of May. To each of those men Be hell's door shut, heaven's unclosed, 1230 Eternally opened the kingdom of angels, Joy without end, and their portion appointed Along with. Mary, who takes into mind That one most dear of festal days Of that rood under heaven, that which the mightiest 1235 Ruler of all with arm protected. Finit.[2]

[1] Gn.'s emendation.

[2] Here properly ends the legend of the Finding of the Cross. The last canto contains reflections of the poet.


Thus old and death-ready in this frail house Word-craft I wove and wondrously framed it, Reflected at times and sifted my thought Closely at night. I knew not well 1240 The truth of the rood,[1] ere wider knowledge Through glorious might into thought of my mind Wisdom revealed to me. I was stained with crimes, Fettered with sins, pained with sorrows, Bitterly bound, banefully vexed, 1245 Ere lore to me lent through light-bringing office For help to the aged, his blameless gift The mighty King meted, and poured in my mind, Brightness disclosed, widened with time, Bone-house unbound, breast-lock unwound, 1250 Song-craft unlocked, which I joyfully used, With will, in the world. Of that tree of glory Often not once meditation I had, Ere that wonder I had revealed About that bright tree, as in books I found 1255 In course of events, in writings declared Of that beacon of victory. Ay till then was the man With care-waves oppressed, a nickering pine-torch[C], Though he in the mead-hall treasures received, Apples of gold.[2] Mourned for his bow[Y] 1260 The comrade of sorrow[N], suffered distress, His secret constrained, where before him the horse[E] Measured the mile-paths, with spirit ran Proud of his ornaments. Hope[W] is decreased, Joy, after years, youth is departed, 1265 The ancient pride. The bison[U] was once The gladness of youth. Now are the old days In course of time gone forever, Life-joy departed, as ocean[L] flows by, Waves hurried along. To each one is wealth[3][F] 1270 Fleeting 'neath heaven, treasures of earth Pass 'neath the clouds likest to wind, When before men it mounts up aloud, Roams 'round the clouds, raging rushes, And then all at once silent becomes, 1275 In narrow prison closely confined, Strongly repressed. So passes this world, And likewise besides what things[4] have been In it produced flame will consume, When the Lord himself judgment will seek 1280 With host of angels. Every one there Of speech-bearing men the truth shall hear Of every deed through mouth of the Judge, And likewise of words the penalty pay Of all that with folly were spoken before, 1285 Of daring thoughts. Then parts into three Into clutch of fire each one of folk, Of those that have dwelt in course of time Upon the broad earth. The righteous shall be Upmost-in flame, host of the blessed, 1290 Crowd eager for glory, as they may bear it, And without torment easily suffer, Band of the brave. For them shall be moderate The brightness of flame,[5] as it shall be easiest, Softest for them. The sinful shall be, 1295 Those spotted with evil, compressed in the middle, Men sad-in-mind, within the hot waves Smothered with smoke. The third part shall be, Accursed sinners, in the flood's abyss, False folk-haters, fastened in flame 1300 For deeds of old, gang of the godless In grip of the gledes. To God never more From that place of torment come they in mind, To the King of glory, but they shall be cast From that terrible fire to the bottom of hell, 1305 The workers of woe. To the [other] two parts It will be unlike. They may angels' Lord, Victories' God, see. They shall be cleansed, Sundered from sins, as smelted gold, That is in the flame from every spot 1310 Through fire of the oven thoroughly cleansed, Freed and refined. So shall each of those men Be freed and made pure from every sin, From heavy crimes through fire of that doom. Then afterwards they may peace enjoy, 1315 Eternal bliss. To them angels' Warden Shall be mild and gentle, for that they every evil Despised, sins' work, and to Son of their Maker They called with words. Hence in beauty they shine now Like to the angels, the heritage have 1320 Of the King of glory for ever and ever. Amen.

[1] Gn.'s emendation.

[2] Lit.,'appled gold.'

[3] The words in italics are the names of the runes that make up the name CYNEWULF. This artificial use of words makes the interpretation obscure, and scholars differ about it.

[4] Or, 'those who.'

[5] Gn., Z.



* * * * * * * * [The glorious Creator's][1] gifts doubted she [not] Upon this wide earth; then found she there ready Help from the mighty Prince, when she most need did have Of grace from the highest Judge, that her 'gainst the greatest terror The Lord of Creation should shield. That Father in heaven to her The Glorious-in-mind did grant, for that firm faith she had In the Almighty ever. Then heard I that Holofernes Wine-summons eagerly wrought, and with all wonders a glorious Banquet had he prepared; to that bade the prince of men All his noblest thanes. That with mickle haste 10 Did the warriors-with-shields perform; came to the mighty chief The people's leaders going. On the fourth day was that After that Judith, cunning in mind, The elf-sheen virgin, him first had sought.

[1] Gn.'s emendation to fill lacuna of MS.


They then at the feast proceeded to sit, 15 The proud to the wine-drinking, all his comrades-in-ill, Bold mailed-warriors.

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