Friday, April 19, 2019

The Dream of the Rood

An Old English poem translated by Amy Troolin

Behold! I wish to speak the best of dreams,
that I dreamed at midnight,
when speech-bearers remained at rest!
It seemed to me that I saw a most wonderful tree
to extend upward on high, enwrapped in light,
brightest of beams. That beacon was entirely
covered with gold; jewels stood
beautifully on the surfaces of the earth, and also there were five
up on the shoulder beam – an angel of the Lord watched over them –
beautifully through eternal decree. That was certainly not a wicked one's gallows there,
but the holy spirits beheld him there,
men over earth, and all this glorious creation.
Wonderful was that victory-beam, and I stained with sins,
wounded with iniquities. I saw the tree of glory,
exalted with coverings to shine with delights,
adorned with gold; jewels had
splendidly covered the tree of the Ruler.
But I through that gold was able to realize
the former strife of the wretched one when it first began
to bleed on the right side. I was entirely with sorrows afflicted
fearful I was before that fair sight. I saw that brilliant beacon
change coverings and colors; sometimes it was with water made moist,
drenched with flow of blood, sometimes with treasure adorned.
But I lying there a long while
beheld the sorrow-grieving tree of the Healer,
until I heard that it spoke;
the best wood began to speak those words
That was in years gone by – I remember it yet –
that I was cut down at the edge of the forest,
removed from my stem. Strong enemies lay hold of me there,
made me there into a spectacle for themselves, commanded me to raise their criminals.
Men carried me there on shoulders, until they set me on a hill,
many enemies fastened me there. I saw then Lord of mankind
hasten with great valor that He would wish to climb up on me.
there I dared not then contrary to the Lord's word
to bow or burst, when I saw tremble
the surfaces of earth. I was able to
throw down all enemies, but I stood fast.
Then the young hero stripped himself – that was God almighty –
strong and unflinching; He climbed up onto the high cross,
bold in the sight of many, when he wished to redeem mankind
I trembled when that warrior embraced me; but I dared not bow to earth,
to fall to the surfaces of earth, but I had to stand fast.
A cross I was erected; I lifted up a powerful King,
Lord of heavens, I dared not bend myself.
They drove through me with dark nails; in me those scars are seen,
open malicious-wounds; I dared not injure any of them.
They mocked us both together. I was all made moist with blood,
drenched from the side of that Man, after He had sent forth His spirit.
Many I on that hill have experienced
of cruel deeds. I saw the God of hosts
stretched out grievously. The shades of night had
covered with clouds the corpse of the Ruler,
the bright light, shadow went forth,
dark under clouds. All creation wept,
they lamented the King's fall. Christ was on the cross.
But there the eager ones came from afar
to that Son of a King. I beheld all that.
Sorely I was afflicted with sorrows, but I bowed down to the hands of those men,
meek, with great zeal. There they took almighty God,
lifted Him up from the oppressive torment. Then the warriors left me
to stand covered in blood; I was all wounded with arrows.
They laid there the limb-weary One, they stood themselves at the head of His body,
they beheld there the Lord of heaven, and He rested Himself there a while,
weary after that great strif. They began then to make an earth-house for Him,
men in the sight of the bane. They carved it out of bright stone;
they set therein the Ruler of victories. They began to sing a sorrow-song for Him
wretched in the evening-tide, then they would journey again,
weary away from the glorious Lord. He rested there with a small company.
But we weeping there a good while
stood in fixed position. A voice went up
of warriors. Corpse cooled
fair dwelling of soul. Then a man began to fell us
all to earth. That was dreadful fate!
Someone buried us in a deep pit. But there the thanes of the Lord,
friends learned...
adorned me with gold and silver.
Now you can hear, my dear man,
what work of evils I have endured,
of grievous sorrows. Now the time is come
that they honor me far and wide
men over the earth and all the glorious creation,
they pray to the beacon. On me the Child of God
suffered a while; therefore I now glorious
rise up under heavens, and I can heal
each one, of those who for themselves will be in awe of me.
Formerly I had become the bitterest of torments,
most hateful to people, before I for them life's way
straight opened, to speech-bearers.
Behold, then He honored me, Lord of glory
over the trees of the forest, Guardian of the heavenly kingdom,
just as He His mother also, Mary herself,
Almighty God, for all men
honored over all womankind.
Now I command you, my dear man,
that you this vision tell to men;
uncover with words that it is a cross of glory,
on which Almighty God suffered
for the many sins of mankind
and Adam's deeds of old.
Death He tasted there, but afterward the Lord arose
with His great power to help men.
He ascended then into Heaven. He will hasten back hither
into this middle-earth to seek mankind
on doomsday the Lord Himself,
Almighty God, and His angels with,
that He then wills to judge, He Who possesses control of judgment,
for each one, as He formerly here
in this transitory life earned.
There cannot be any unafraid
of the word that the Ruler speaks:
He asks of the many where the man may be,
who for the name of the Lord would
taste of bitter death as He did before on the cross.
But they then tremble, and few think
what they to Christ would begin to say.
There is not any need then to be so terrified
who bears already in his breast the best of beacons,
but through that cross shall come to a kingdom
from earth-way each soul,
who with the Ruler thinks to dwell.”
I prayed then for myself to that cross with a joyful heart,
with great zeal, there I was alone
with a small company; heart was
hastened on the journey, endured full many
times of desire. It is for me now a pleasure of life
that I might seek the victory-beam,
alone more often than all men,
fully to adore; for my desire is for that
much in heart, and my hope of protection is
directed to that cross. I do not possess many powerful
friends on earth. But they forth from here
departed from the joys of the world, sought for themselves the King of glory,
they live now in Heaven with the High Father,
they dwell in glory, and I expect for myself
each of days when to me the cross of the Lord,
which I saw before here on earth,
in this fleeting life may take
and bring me then where there is great bliss,
joy in Heaven, there is the Lord's people
seated at a feast, there is perpetual bliss,
and then it may set me where I afterward may
dwell in glory, fully with the holy ones
of joy to partake. May the Lord be a friend to me,
Who here on earth formerly suffered
on that gallows-tree for the sins of man:
He redeemed us and gave us life,
a heavenly home. Joyous expectation was renewed
with glories and with bliss, for those who there suffered fire.
The Son was victorious in that expedition,
mighty and successful, then He with many came,
a company of spirits, into God's kingdom,
Ruler almighty, with angels to bliss
and all the holy ones to those who in heaven before
dwelt in glory, when their Ruler came,
Almighty God, there was His home.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Notes from the Hours: A New Spirit

Lord, create a new spirit in us.

Lord, create in us a spirit of love, a love that truly wills what is best for another and does whatever it can to make that best happen.

Lord, create in us a spirit of faith that we may believe with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and live our faith in love.

Lord, create in us a spirit of hope that we may cling to You now and long for eternal life with You in Heaven.

Lord, create in us a spirit of knowledge, for we want to better understand You and Your plan for our lives.

Lord, create in us a spirit of counsel that we may choose what is good and reject what is evil.

Lord, create in us a spirit of wisdom that we may live out the truths we know and the good we choose each day.

Lord, create in us a spirit of courage to make us strong and steadfast even in times of suffering and trial.

Lord, create in us a spirit of peace that we may rest in You.

Lord, create in us a spirit of joy, a joy so deep and strong that no matter what happens in the world around us, we can turn to You and celebrate Your love.

Lord, create in us a spirit of worship that we may adore You as You deserve.

Lord, create a new spirit in us that we may be more like You.