Caedmon

(600 - 670 / England)

Genesis BK I


I

(ll. 1-28) Right is it that we praise the King of heaven, the
Lord of hosts, and love Him with all our hearts. For He is great
in power, the Source of all created things, the Lord Almighty.
Never hath He known beginning, neither cometh an end of His
eternal glory. Ever in majesty He reigneth over celestial
thrones; in righteousness and strength He keepeth the courts of
heaven which were established, broad and ample, by the might of
God, for angel dwellers, wardens of the soul. The angel legions
knew the blessedness of God, celestial joy and bliss. Great was
their glory! The mighty spirits magnified their Prince and sang
His praise with gladness, serving the Lord of life, exceeding
blessed in His splendour. They knew no sin nor any evil; but
dwelt in peace for ever with their Lord. They wrought no deed in
heaven save right and truth, until the angel prince in pride
walked in the ways of error. Then no longer would they work
their own advantage, but turned away from the love of God. They
boasted greatly, in their banded strength, that they could share
with God His glorious dwelling, spacious and heavenly bright.

(ll. 28-46) Then sorrow came upon them, envy and insolence and
pride of the angel who first began that deed of folly, to plot
and hatch it forth, and, thirsting for battle, boasted that in
the northern borders of heaven he would establish a throne and a
kingdom. Then was God angered and wrathful against that host
which He had crowned before with radiance and glory. For the
traitors, to reward their work, He shaped a house of pain and
grim affliction, and lamentations of hell. Our Lord prepared
this torture-house of exiles, deep and joyless, for the coming of
the angel hosts. Well He knew it lay enshrouded in eternal night,
and filled with woe, wrapped in fire and piercing cold,
smoke-veils and ruddy flame. And over that wretched realm He
spread the brooding terror of torment. They had wrought grievous
wrong together against God. Grim the reward they gained!

(ll. 47-77) Fierce of heart, they boasted they would take the
kingdom, and easily. But their hope failed them when the Lord,
High King of heaven, lifted His hand against their host. The
erring spirits, in their sin, might not prevail against the Lord,
but God, the Mighty, in His wrath, smote their insolence and
broke their pride, bereft these impious souls of victory and
power and dominion and glory; despoiled His foes of bliss and
peace and joy and radiant grace, and mightily avenged His wrath
upon them to their destruction. His heart was hardened against
them; with heavy hand He crushed His foes, subdued them to His
will, and, in His wrath, drove out the rebels from their ancient
home and seats of glory. Our Lord expelled and banished out of
heaven the presumptuous angel host. All-wielding God dismissed
the faithless horde, a hostile band of woeful spirits, upon a
long, long journey. Crushed was their pride, their boasting
humbled, their power broken, their glory dimmed. Thenceforth
those dusky spirits dwelt in exile. No cause had they to laugh
aloud, but, racked with pangs of hell, they suffered pain and woe
and tribulation, cloaked with darkness, knowing bitter anguish, a
grim requital, because they sought to strive with God.

(ll. 78-81) Then was there calm as formerly in heaven, the kindly
ways of peace. The Lord was dear to all, a Prince among His
thanes, and glory was renewed of angel legions knowing
blessedness with God.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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