Genesis B
 

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Now we must honor heaven’s warden,
the power of the Creator, and his purpose—
work of the father of glory, as he of every miracle,
the everlasting Lord, established the beginning.
He first shaped for the sons of the earth,
heaven for the roof. The holy Creator,
mankind’s warden, then Earth,
the everlasting Lord afterward adorned
the earth for people, the master almighty.

--Caedmon's Hymn

 

 

 

This excerpt is from the Genesis B passage of the poem. The B section picks up several hundred lines into the poem at line 338. The selection begins with Satan, already cast out of heaven, lamenting his fate and plotting his revenge.

Then the proud king spoke,  he who before was the brightest of angels,
whitest in heaven and dear to his master,
dear to the Lord,  until they had come to conceit.
for that folly, toward him God himself became
mighty in angry mind.  He precipitated him into that torment inside,
down into that bed of evil spirits,  and created a name for him from that time onward,
he said that the highest ought to be called
Satan hence,  he called him there black hell’s
abyss’s to occupy,  never to win against God.
Satan spoke,  sorrowing declared,
he who must hold  hell hence,
to occupy the abyss. He had been God’s angel,
shining in heaven,  until he forspied his mind
and his pride,  strongest of them all,
that he never wanted  to protect the Lord,
to honor the Word.   He worried within
the thoughts in his heart,  it was hot to him from without,
the grievous punishment.  He then said these words:
‘This narrow place is very unlike
the other home  which we knew afore,
dejected in the kingdom of heaven,  which my master had granted to me,
though by him, the Lord, what I would have we were not allowed,
to try to obtain our riches. He did not do right to have
us tumbled in flames to the bottom
of hell—there to command, deprived of the kingdom of  heaven;
he has marked it for man,
to people. That to me is of greatest distress,
that Adam ought to, when he was wrought of the earth,
to have beheld my strong throne,
to be in joy and we suffer this punishment,
harm in this hell. Oh woe, had I control of my own hand,
and might only be allowed one time outside,
only a winter hour, then with this host I—

but iron bonds lie about me,
a fetter, the rope swings. I am without a kingdom;
the hard hell-bonds have me
caught fast. Much fire is here,
from above and below. I never saw
a more lothsome landscape. Flame never ceases,
hot all over hell. The ring’s clasps have me,
severe bonds thwarting my movement,
proventing me from moving, binding my feet in shackles,
fettering my hands, these shackles of the gates of hell,
through them I cannot escape at all
from these chains.  They lie about me
of hard iron, forged by heat
the great bolts. With it God had me
fettered  by the neck, so I know he knows my pride;

and that moreover he the Lord of hosts knew,
that between we two, Adam and I,  it must turn out evilly
over that kingdom of heaven, if only I had my hands.

But we now suffer rebukes in hell, (that is darkness and heat,
grim, bottomless). God himself has
swept us  away into the black mists, even as he was not able to charge us  of any sin,
that we performed harm against him in that land, he has nevertheless deprived us of light,
cast into the greatest of  all punishments . Are we not able to carry out this revenge,
to reward him with anything harmful  now that he has thus deprived us  of light?
He has now marked out one earth,
there he has made man
after his own likeness. With that  he will again set

the kingdom of heaven with bright living beings. We afterwards ought to earnestly consider,
that we in Adam, if we may ever,
and to his children in could add an injury in like manner,
to deprive him there of his will, if we may devise anything.
I do not now further believe in this world, this that he intends for him to enjoy a long time,
that of happiness with his angel host, that we may not ever win.
So that we waken mighty God’s mind, let us deprive him now of the children of men,
now that we cannot have the heavenly kingdom, achieve that they forsake his favor,
so that they whom he commands with his words change,

to drive them away from his favour. Then he will be obligated to seek for them in hell
and the grim abyss. Then we will be allowed to have them as slaves,
the children of men in these firm fetters. You begin now to think about an expedition!
If to any follower I lordly treasures
once gave, while we in the good kingdom
dwelt happy and had our of controlled thrones,
then he could never in a better time or with returns to me
repay my gift, if he would still
of my thanes consent to it,
that he up from here outside might
go through the barriers, and have strength in him

that he with feather-dress might fly,
to soar in the sky, where stands created
Adam and Eve in the Earth kingdom
surrounded with prosperity and we  are cast down hither
into this deep valley. Now they by God are
much more valued and are allowed to have that happiness for themselves
which we should have in the heavenly kindgom,
our kingdom by rights; it is the benefit alloted
to my kin, that to is to my mind so painful,

in my thoughts  it grives that the heavenly kingdom
they will have forever. If any of you may
bring it  about with punishment that God’s word,
his teaching should be abandoned, at once Adam and Eve  will be the more loathsome to him.
If they breach his authority, then he will become enraged with them;
from that time on their happiness will be overturned and angry punishment prepared for them,
a certain hard punishment. All of you think about this,
who you may decieve them. From that time I may more easily
rest in these chains, if that kingdom is lost to them.
He whom achieves this will have a reward prepared
forever after, of whatever may be inside here
in this fire by way of benefits to gain hence.
I shall allow him to sit with my self, whosoever that comes to say
in this hot hell, that the heavenly king
dishonorably in word and in deed
advice…