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Title: Elene. English - The Elene of Cynewulf translated into English prose
Author: Cynewulf
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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YALE STUDIES IN ENGLISH

ALBERT S. COOK, EDITOR


XXI


THE

ELENE OF CYNEWULF


TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE

BY

LUCIUS HUDSON HOLT

PORTER FELLOW IN ENGLISH IN YALE UNIVERSITY


NEW YORK

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

1904


[FACSIMILE]



PREFACE


This translation was made from the edition of the _Elene_ issued by
Charles W. Kent in 1889 (Ginn & Co., Boston). His text is 'that of
Zupitza's second edition, carefully compared with Wülker's edition and
Zupitza's third edition, in which the results of Napier's collation are
contained.'

The aim of this translation is to give an accurate and readable modern
English prose rendering of the Old English poetry. The translation of
Richard Francis Weymouth, entitled _A Literal Translation of Cynewulf's
Elene_, has been at hand, but I owe it practically nothing in this work.
While I trust that my rendering has not departed so far from the text
that it will be valueless to the student, yet at places it will be found
that I have to some extent expanded or contracted the literal
translation in the hope of benefiting the modern English version.

My thanks are due to Dr. Robert K. Root and Dr. Chauncey B. Tinker of
Yale University, and to Dr. Charles H. Whitman of Lehigh University, for
examining part of the work in manuscript, and to Dr. Albert S. Cook of
Yale University for a careful reading of the proof.

LUCIUS HUDSON HOLT.

NEW HAVEN,
January 1, 1904.



ELENE


1. THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE.

There had passed in the turn of years, as men
mark the tale of time, two hundred and thirty and
three winters over the world since the Lord God,
the Glory of kings and Light of the faithful, was
born on earth in human guise; and it was the sixth                5
year of the reign of Constantine since he was raised
in the realm of the Romans to lead their army, a
prince of battles. He was a bulwark to his people,               10
valiant with the shield, and gracious to his heroes;
and the prince's realm waxed great beneath the
heavens. He was a just king, a war-lord of men.
God strengthened him with majesty and might till                 15
he became a joy to many men throughout the world,
an avenger for his people when he raised aloft his
spear against their foes.


2. THE WAR WITH THE BARBARIANS.

And battle was brought on him, the tumult of
strife. The people of the Huns and famous Goths                  20
gathered a host together; and the Franks and
Hugas marched forth, men fierce in fight and ripe
for war. The spears and woven mail-coats glittered,
as with shouts and clash of shields they
lifted up on high the standard of battle. Openly                 25
the fighters gathered all together, and the throng
marched forth. The wolf in the wood howled his
war-song, and hid not his secret hopes of carnage;
and at the rear of the foe the dewy-feathered eagle              30
shrieked his note on high.

A mighty host hastened to war through the cities,
gleaned from all the men the Hunnish king could
summon from the near-lying towns. A vast army
sallied forth--bands of picked horsemen strengthened             35
the force of the foot-soldiers--until within a
foreign land upon the bank of the Danube these
stout-souled brandishers of the spear pitched their
camp near the water's flow, amid the tumult of the
army. They longed to overrun the realm of the                    40
Romans, and lay it waste with their hordes.

Then were the dwellers in the cities aware of the
Huns' coming. And the emperor straightway bade
summon with the greatest speed by dispatch of the
arrow his heroes to war against the foes; bade lead
out to battle the warriors beneath the heavens.                  45
Their hearts inspired by victory, the Roman heroes
were soon girt with weapons for the fight, though
they had a lesser host for battle than circled about
the proud king of the Huns. Then the shields                     50
rang, the wood of war clashed; the king with the
host, his army, marched forth to strife, and over
their heads the raven wailed, dark, and thirsting for
the slaughter. The army was moving--trumpeters
leaped, heralds shouted commands, and horses
stamped the earth. Hastily the multitude enranked                55
itself for strife.

But the king was fear-smitten, awed with terror,
as he looked upon the hostile host, the army of the
Huns and Goths, that upon the river's bank at the
boundary of the Roman realm was massing its                      60
strength, an uncounted multitude. The king of the
Romans suffered bitter grief of soul, and hoped not
for his kingdom because of his small host; he had
too few warriors, trusty thanes, to encounter the
overmight of brave men in battle.                                65


3. THE DREAM.

The army encamped near at hand beside the river,
nobles about their prince, for the space of a single
night after they first beheld the course of their foes.
Then unto the emperor himself in his sleep, as he                70
slumbered among his retinue, was disclosed the
marvel of a dream, shown unto him with soul
uplifted in the hope of victory. Him thought
there appeared before him in the form of a man
a certain warrior, radiant, resplendent, brilliant,
more glorious than he ever beheld 'neath the
heavens, before or since. Then, dight with his                   75
boar-crested helmet, he started up from slumber,
and straightway the messenger, a bright herald of
glory, spake unto him and called him by his name,
while the veil of night parted asunder: 'O Constantine,
the King of angels, Wielder of fates and
Lord of hosts, hath commanded to offer thee a                    80
covenant. Fear thou not, though foreign peoples
threaten thee with terror and bitter strife. Look
to heaven, unto the Lord of glory. There shalt
thou find aid and the token of victory.'                         85

He was soon ready at the holy one's behest; he
opened wide the secret places of his heart; he gazed
on high, as the messenger, faithful weaver of peace,
had bidden him. Over the roof of clouds he saw
the beauteous tree of glory, gleaming with treasure
and decked with gold--and the gems shone                         90
brightly. The shining tree was inscribed with letters
of brilliance and light: 'By this sign thou
shalt overcome the foe in the dread peril; by this
thou shalt stay the hated host.'

Then the light vanished, ascended up on high,                    95
and together with it the messenger, unto the throng
of the pure ones. And the king, the leader of men,
was the blither and the freer from grief in his heart
by reason of that fair vision.


4. THE BATTLE.

Then Constantine, bulwark of heroes and giver
of gifts, battle-prince of armies and glorious king,            100
bade fashion with greatest haste a token like unto
that sign he had seen, which had been disclosed
before him in the heavens, the cross of Christ.
And at dawn, with the first gleam of day, he bade               105
rouse the warriors and make ready for the stress of
fight, lift up the emblem of battle, take the holy
tree before them, and bear the sign of God into
the press of their foes.

The trumpets rang loud at the army's front.                     110
The raven rejoiced at the move; the dewy-feathered
eagle scanned the march, the strife of battle-heated
men; and the wolf, fellow of the forest, raised his
song. Rife was the dread terror of battle.

Then there was the clash of shields and the shock
of men, the bitter hand-to-hand struggle and the                115
slaughter of hosts, when once they had passed within
an arrow's flight. On the fated folk dire enemies
hurled a shower of darts, and with might of arm
sent their spears, biting battle-adders, over the yellow
shields into the midst of their foes. But with                  120
courage undaunted the other host advanced; from
time to time they surged forward, broke the rampart
of shields, thrust their swords between, and
sternly kept their way.

Then was the standard, the token, raised before
the armies, and they chanted the victors' song.
Over the field of battle gleamed spears and helmets             125
of gold. The pagan host was conquered; in
merciless strife they fell. As the king of the Romans,
dauntless in battle, bade raise that holy tree,
the peoples of the Huns straight fled away, and
their warriors were scattered far and wide. Some                130
perished in the fight, some saved themselves hardly
on the march, some, with life half-ebbed, fled to
fastnesses and nursed their strength behind barren
rocks, some seized the land near the Danube, and                135
some were finally drowned in the river's current.
Then was the army of valiant heroes rejoiced, and
from break of day until eve they followed hard
upon the foreign foe, while the spears flew, biting             140
battle-adders. The horde of hated shield-bearers
was lessened; but few of the army of Huns returned
thence home again.

Then was manifest from that day's deed that
the King Almighty gave unto Constantine victory,                145
glorious honor, and a realm beneath the heavens,
through his holy rood. And he, renowned in battle,
a bulwark of armies, returned thence home
again when the war was decided, exulting in his
spoil. Famed in the fight, a defense for heroes, the            150
king came with a throng of thanes to visit his
cities and stud his shield with jewels.


5. THE ASSEMBLY.

Then the Lord of men straight summoned the
wisest to council, those who had pondered the craft
of wisdom in writings of old and held nobly to                  155
the rede of scholars. And the prince of the people,
victory-inspired king, asked through the vast assembly
if there were any man there could tell and declare
unto him truly who the god was, giver of good                   160
gifts, 'whose sign this was which appeared unto
me so bright, the most gleaming of tokens, saved
my people, and gave unto me glory and war-speed
against my foes through the holy tree.'                         165

But no one of them could give him any answer
in return, nor knew they full well what to say about
the victor-tree. Then spake the wisest before the
multitudes, and said that it was a sign from the King           170
of heaven, and of that there could be no doubt.


6. THE CONVERSION OF CONSTANTINE.

But they who had learned the truth, who were
taught through baptism, were joyful in soul, and
their hearts were light that they might declare before          175
the emperor the grace of the gospel: how the
Saviour of souls, revered in threefold majesty, was
born; how God's own Son was hung upon the cross
in bitter agony before the multitudes; how He freed             180
the children of men and souls of the careworn from
the snares of devils, and gave unto them grace
through the very thing that had been disclosed to
his own sight as a sign of victory against the onrush
of foes; and how on the third day the Glory                     185
of men and Lord of all mankind rose from the
tomb and from death, and ascended into heaven.
Men wise in the mystic things of the Spirit thus said
unto the victory-inspired monarch as they had                   190
learned from Silvester. And at their hands the
prince of the people received baptism, and held to
the faith according to the will of the Lord from that
time forth throughout the length of his days.

Then was the giver of gifts content, the king
stern in battle; a new joy was come into his heart.             195
The Lord of the kingdom of heaven was his greatest
solace and his highest hope. Through the grace
of the Spirit he began zealously to show forth the
law of the Lord both day and night, and this ruler
of men devoted himself, far-famed and weariless,                200
unto the service of God. Then the prince, bulwark
of peoples, brave in battle and bold with the spear,
found in the books of God with the aid of his
teachers that country where, amid the shouts of multitudes,
the Ruler of the heavens was crucified upon                     205
the cross through sinful hate; even as the ancient
enemy with lying craft led astray the people, deceived
the race of the Jews, until they crucified God
himself, the Lord of hosts; wherefore they shall                210
suffer a direful curse in misery through a long-enduring
life.


7. THE JOURNEY OF ELENE.

Then was the laud of Christ in the heart of the
emperor, and he was ever mindful of that glorious
tree. And he bade his mother fare unto the Jews
upon a journey with a throng of people, and zealously           215
with her band of heroes to seek where the
holy tree of glory, the rood of the King, was hid
beneath the earth.

Nor would Elene slight such a journey, nor be                   220
heedless of the word of the prince her son; but
the woman was soon ready for the welcome way,
as the bulwark of heroes and mail-clad warriors
had bidden her. And thereupon throngs of nobles                 225
made ready for the voyage over the ocean. The
ships stood ready by the shores of the sea, bound
ocean-coursers resting on the deep.

And the journey of the queen was plainly manifest
when she sought the swell of the ocean with                     230
her company; many a noble stood there, near to
the water's edge, and from time to time crowds of
men pressed across the way.

Then they loaded the ships with battle-dress,
shields and spears; mail-clad warriors and men and              235
women embarked thereon. And they let the steep
ocean-speeders course over the foamy deep; often
the hull bore the shock of the billows on the ocean-way,
and the sea raised her song. Never heard                        240
I before nor since of woman leading a fairer force
upon the paths of the ocean, the streams of the deep.
There one might see, if he beheld that voyage, ships
cleave the watery way and haste beneath swelling                245
sails, sea-coursers leap, and wave-floaters speed ahead.
The proud warriors were glad; the queen rejoiced
in the journey.

When the ring-prowed ships had reached their
harbor in the land of the Greeks over the fastness              250
of flood, they left their vessels, their olden water-homes,
lashed by the sea, bound with anchors, to
await upon the surging deep the fate of the men,
when the warrior queen with her band of heroes                  255
should again seek the eastern ways. Many a
woven corselet, trusty sword, and glittering battle-sark,
many a helmet and glorious boar-crest, were
there to be seen among the warriors. The spearmen,              260
heroes about their queen, were eager for the
march. The brave fighters, heralds of the emperor,
warriors clad in armor, went forth rejoicing
into the land of the Greeks. Many a gold-set
jewel, the gift of their prince, was to be seen there
among the company.                                              265

But the blessed Elene, zealous and earnest of purpose,
was mindful of her lord's will that over fields
of battle she should seek the land of the Jews with
her trusty band of shield-bearers, her company of               270
spearmen; and so it befell within a little space
thereafter that the multitude of men, heroes famed
in war and chieftains of spear-renown, entered into
the city of Jerusalem in a vast throng with the
noble queen.                                                    275


8. THE COUNCILS OF THE JEWS.

Then she bade summon the wisest of the dwellers
in the cities among the Jews, far and wide, each
man of them, to come unto a council for deliberation,
those who knew how to expound justly and
fully the hidden things of God. And there was                   280
gathered together from far ways no small multitude
of those who could expound the law of Moses.
They were in number three thousand men, chosen                  285
for teaching.

Then the well-beloved woman spake unto the
men of the Hebrews in these words:--'This have I
learned well by the mystic sayings of prophets in
the books of God, that in days of yore ye were                  290
dear unto the King of glory, loved of the Lord
and strong in his service. And lo! ye of this
knowledge unwisely and perversely cast Him forth
when ye cursed Him who thought to loose you from
your curse, your torture of fire, your servile bondage,         295
through the might of His glory. Foully ye
spat upon the face of Him who by his noble spittle
wrought anew the light of your eyes, the cure of                300
your blindness, and saved you oft from the unclean
spirits of devils. Ye doomed Him to death who
among a multitude of men roused from death itself
unto their former life a number of your own race.               305
Ye blind of soul, thus have ye confounded false
with sooth, light with darkness, hate with reverence,
and have woven a crime from your evil thoughts.
Therefore doth this curse weigh you down in your
sin--ye judged that pure Power, and until this day              310
ye have lived with clouded thoughts in heresy. Go
ye now quickly, and think upon the men most sage
in wisdom and skilled in speech, who, versed in the
knowledge of your law, hold it foremost in their                315
hearts, and who may declare unto me truly and
devise an answer for each token whereof I may
ask them.'

Then, sorely grieved and saddened, and burdened                 320
with fear, the men wise in law went apart, and earnestly
sought the deepest mystic words wherewith
they might answer the queen whatsoever she asked
of them, whether of good or of bad. And they                    325
found among their number a thousand of exceeding
wisdom, who most fully knew the traditions of old
among the Jews. In a great crowd they hastened
to where, upon a royal throne in majesty, the kinswoman         330
of the emperor waited, a stately queen of
battle adorned with gold. And Elene spake before
the folk:--'Hearken, ye wise of soul, unto a holy
mystery, the word and the wisdom. Lo! ye had the
teaching of prophets how the Prince of life and Lord            335
of might should be born in the likeness of a child.
Of him sang Moses, leader of the Israelites, and
spake this word:--"Unto you is born a child of
wondrous might in mystery, for his mother conceived             340
him not through the love of man." Of him
king David, father of Solomon, ruler of men, a
prophet with the wisdom of age, chanted a psalm
and spake this word:--"In times afore I beheld the              345
God of creation, the Lord of victories. He was
before my sight upon my right hand, the King of
might and Prince of majesty. Thence will I never
turn my eyes more unto life." Likewise again                    350
Isaiah the prophet, deeply moved by the Spirit of
God, spake concerning you before the multitudes in
these words: "I raised up sons and I begat children,
and unto them I gave possessions, and holy balm
for their souls; but they scorned me, loathed me                355
with their hate, and they had no forethought, no
skill of wisdom. Even the wretched oxen, which
man doth each day drive and beat, know their well-wisher,
and in their revenge for wrong hate not
their friend who giveth them fodder. But never                  360
would the men of the Israelites take knowledge of
me, though I wrought many wonders for them
throughout my life in the world." Lo! this have
we learned in holy books, that God the Creator
gave unto you spotless glory and wealth of power,               365
and said unto Moses how ye should hearken unto
the King of heaven, and follow His teaching. But
ye soon became weary of this, and withstood that
righteous one; ye scorned the pure Maker of all,
the Lord of lords, and pursued error against the                370
law of God. Now go ye quickly and find once
more those who know best by wisdom's craft the
ancient scriptures, your righteous law, that with               375
depth of soul they may give me answer.'

Then a throng of the proud leaders, saddened in
heart, went forth as the queen had bidden them,
and found five hundred wise men of their own race
who held learning in their memory, most wisdom                  380
in their mind. And again within a little space the
lords of the city were summoned unto the hall. And
the queen, looking upon them all, spake unto them               385
in these words:--'Oft have ye wrought foolish
deeds, ye wretched in misfortune, and scorned the
Scriptures, the lore of your fathers, but never worse
than now when ye have refused the cure of your
blindness, and withstood the truth and the right--that          390
the Son of the Mighty One, the only-begotten
Ruler and King of kings, was born in Bethlehem.
Though ye knew the law, the words of the prophets,
yet because of your sin ye have not been willing to
confess the truth.'                                             395

And with one accord they answered:--'Lo! we
have learned the Hebrew law that from the ark
of God our fathers knew in days of yore; but we
know not in sooth wherefore, O lady, thou hast
become thus angry with us. We know not the sin                  400
that we have wrought in this province, the wrong
we have ever done to thee.'

Then Elene spake before the people openly, before
the multitudes this woman spake aloud:--'Go ye                  405
now quickly, and seek far and near those who have
the power of wisdom and the most skill of thought
among you, that they may show forth to me without
reserve whatsoever I ask of them.'                              410

And they went forth from the council as the
mighty queen, strong in her cities, had bidden them,
and earnestly pondered, sad of heart, and sought
shrewdly what that sin might be that they had                   415
wrought in the province against the emperor, wherewith
the queen reproached them.


9. THE SPEECH OF JUDAS.

And there spake before the people one learned in
ancient writings and wise of speech (his name was
Judas):--'I know well that she wishes to ask concerning         420
that victor-tree whereon suffered the Lord
of hosts, God's own Son, guiltless of all evil, Him
whom, unspotted with any sin, our fathers in days               425
of yore hung upon the high cross through hate--fearful
was that thought! Now is there great need
that we steadfastly fortify our minds not to betray
that murder, nor declare where the holy tree was
hid after the stress of strife, lest thereby the wise           430
writings of old be cast aside, and the lore of our
fathers forsaken. For if this shall be known, it will
not be long that the race of the Israelites and the
faith of the Jews shall hold sway over the world.               435
Thus once my father's father, prophet with the wisdom
of age and far-famed in victory--his name was
Zaccheus--gave like counsel unto my father and
spake this word, which in after times he himself told
to his son, as he turned him from the world:--"If in            440
the days of thy life it happen that thou hear sage
men ask of the holy tree and stir up strife concerning
the rood of victory whereon the true King
was crucified, Lord of heaven and Child of all                  445
peace, then do thou, my dear son, ere death snatch
thee off, quickly declare that never shall the people
of the Hebrews, taking wise counsel together, hold
sway and rule over men, but the glory and kingdom               450
shall endure of those who, filled with gladness from
age to age, revere and love the crucified King."'

'Then I boldly gave answer unto my father, the                  455
aged counselor:--"How came it to pass in the
kingdom of the world that with wrathful intent
our fathers laid hands on the Holy One to put him
to death, if they had knowledge that he was Christ,             460
the King upon the cross, true Son of the Creator,
and Saviour of souls?"'

'And my parent gave answer unto me, wisely my
father spake:--"Recognize, O youth, the surpassing
power of God, the name of the Saviour which
may not be expressed by any man. No man on                      465
earth can search it out. Never would I visit the
council which this people held, but I ever kept
myself aloof from their sin, nor wrought shame                  470
unto my soul in any way. Many times I earnestly
withstood the unrighteous act when the wise men
sat in council, and sought in their heart how they
might crucify the Son of the Creator, the Bulwark               475
of men and Lord of all, of angels and of mortals,
the most noble of heroes."

'"But these foolish and wretched men could not
bring death upon Him as they weened, nor beset Him
about with agony, though He, the victorious Son of
God, for a little while yielded up His ghost upon               480
the cross. Then the King of the heavens, the Glory
of all glory, was raised from off the rood, and abode
three nights in the tomb, within the place of darkness;
and upon the third day He arose living, Light                   485
of all light and Lord of angels, and revealed himself
unto His followers, the true Prince of victory,
resplendent in glory. Then after a little space,
Stephen, thy brother, received the bath of baptism,             490
the faith of joy, and for the love of the Lord he
was stoned. Yet he gave not evil for evil, but in
patient suffering made intercession for his ancient
foes, and prayed the King of glory that He would
not lay to their charge this evil deed, that they               495
deprived of life a man innocent and free from guile
through hate and the teachings of Saul.

'"And this Saul in enmity was dooming many a
follower of Christ to torture and death, yet the                500
Lord showed mercy unto him so that he became a
solace for many men. And in after times the God
of creation, Redeemer of men, changed his name,
and he was called Saint Paul, and of the teachers of            505
the law no one of all those, or man or woman born
into the world, was ever better than he beneath the
span of the heavens, even though upon the hill he
bade crush Stephen, thy brother, with stones.                   510

'"Now thou canst understand, my dear son, how
merciful is the Lord of all, if we straightway purge
ourselves of our evil deeds and cease again from
the unrighteous act, though many times we transgress            515
against Him, and wound Him with our sins.
Wherefore I, in sooth, and in after times my dear
father, believed that the God of all glory, Giver of
life, suffered' bitter agony for the surpassing need            520
of mankind. And now I counsel thee in secret, my
dear son, that thou never offer scorn, nor blasphemy,
nor wrathful opposition to the Son of God. Then                 525
shalt thou deserve that unto thee be granted eternal
life in heaven, the best reward of victory."'

'Thus in days of yore, while I was still a youth,
my father instructed me, and taught me with these
true words, a man wise in sorrow--Simon was his                 530
name. And now that ye know my heart and mind,
ye perceive clearly what ye had best declare if the
queen ask us concerning that tree.'                             535

And the wisest spake together before the assembly
in these words:--'Never heard we any other man
save now thee declare thus among this people concerning         540
such a hidden thing. Act as thou thinkest,
O thou wise in the lore of old, if thou art questioned
among the multitude, for there is need of wisdom,
of artful words, and the learning of a seer, that
shall give answer to this noble woman before such a             545
throng met together.'

Then words increased: men thought, reflected,
and pondered on either side, some this way and
some that. And there came a band of thanes to
the assembly; and heralds, messengers of Cæsar,                 550
trumpeted:--'O ye counselors, the queen doth summon
you unto the royal hall, that ye may show
forth rightly the judgments of your synod. Ye
have need of prudence in the council, of wisdom in
mind.' And they, the leaders of the people, grieved             555
in soul, were ready as they were summoned by the
bitter edict, and went unto the palace to show forth
the power of craft.

Then the queen spake unto the Hebrews and asked
them, their hearts sorely burdened, how once the                560
prophets, holy men, sang in the world concerning
the Son of God; and where the Lord suffered, true
Son of the Creator, for the love of souls. But they
were obdurate and mute as stones, nor would they                565
show forth the true secret, nor in the hardness of
their hearts would they give any answer to what
she sought of them, but, set in purpose, they withstood
each word that she asked, and said that never                   570
in their lives had they heard, before nor since, one
whit of any such thing.

Then Elene spake and answered them in anger:--'I
shall say unto you truly, and never in your life
will this be false, that if ye who stand before me              575
persist long in this falsehood with lying craft, ye
shall be burned upon the hill in the hottest fury of
fire, and leaping flames shall consume your flesh, so
that for you this lie shall be changed into utter destruction.  580
Nor can ye prove those words which now
in your guile ye cover up under the cloak of evil.
Ye cannot hide the deed, nor conceal its mystic
power.'


10. ELENE AND JUDAS.

Then were they in the fear of death, of the
funeral-pyre, and the end of life; and there they               585
thrust forth one of exceeding wisdom in the lore
of old, whose name was Judas, sprung from noble
lineage; and they gave him up unto the queen,
and called him a man of wondrous learning: 'He
can show forth to thee the truth, unlock the secret
of the fates, expound the just law from the beginning           590
even to the end, according as thou dost ask
him. He is of noble race in the world, wise in
speech, the son of a prophet, outspoken in council.
And it is his nature to have sage answers and wisdom
of soul. He shall show forth to thee before                     595
the multitude with his great power the gift of wisdom,
even as thy heart desireth.'

Then she let each man seek his own home in peace,
and took Judas alone as hostage. And she earnestly              600
bade him tell the truth concerning the cross,
which had been long buried in a secret place. Then
Elene, the glorious queen, drew him aside by himself,
and thus spake to the lonely man:--'Two ways                    650
are ready for thee, either life or death, whichsoever
thou shalt please to choose. Declare quickly
now which one thou wilt accept.'

And Judas made answer unto her--nor could he
rid himself of sorrow and turn away the wrath of
his ruler, but he was in the power of the queen--:              610
'How shall it be with him who treadeth the moor
in a desert, weary, without food, and tortured
with hunger, if before his eyes a loaf and a stone
together seem hard and soft, and he knoweth them
not apart, but taketh the stone to ward off his                 615
hunger, and marketh not the loaf, turneth to want
and forsaketh the food, refuseth the better when
he hath the choice of both?'

Then openly before the people the blessed Elene
gave him answer:--'If thou wouldst have thy life                620
in the world and a home with the angels in the
kingdom of heaven, the reward of victory in the
sky, tell me straightway where the holy rood of
the King of glory lieth under the earth, which ye               625
have hid now for a while from men because of the
unrighteous murder.'

Judas answered, and his heart was heavy within
him; there was grief in his soul, and woe either
way, whether thus he forsook the joy of the                     630
heavenly realm and this present kingdom beneath
the skies, or disclosed the rood:--'How can I
reveal that which came to pass so long ago in the
course of years? Two hundred or more in number
are now vanished away--I know not the sum of                    635
them, and I cannot declare the event. Many of
wisdom, of virtue, and of learning, who were before
our time, are told among the dead. In days long
after was I born, and in my childhood, and in my
youth. I may not discover in my heart that which                640
I know not, and which came to pass so long ago.'

Then Elene bespake him in answer:--'Whence
cometh it that ye bear in mind so many things,
every wondrous deed, such as those which the Trojans            645
wrought in battle? That far-famed war of
old was further in the course of years than this
holy event, and yet ye know that fully, how to
declare at once the number of all that were slain               650
there, and of the spearmen who fell in death beneath
their shields. Ye set forth in writing the
tombs beneath the rocky cliffs, and likewise the
places and the tale of years.'

Then Judas answered--he suffered bitter grief:--'We             655
are mindful of that war from very need, my
dear lady, and we set forth in writing the fierce
strife and the deeds of the nations, but never have
we heard this declared unto men from the mouth                  660
of any save here and now.'

And the noble queen gave him answer:--'Too
mightily dost thou withstand the truth and the right
concerning the tree of life, insomuch as thou spakest           665
verily of the rood of victory before thine own
people but a little time ago, and now dost turn
to falsehood.'

Judas again spake unto her, and said that he
uttered those words in sorrow and exceeding doubt,
that he had weened bitter hardship for himself.

Quickly the kinswoman of Cæsar answered him:--'Lo!
we have heard it declared unto men from                         670
the holy book that the noble Child of the King, the
Son of God, was crucified on Calvary. Thou shalt
reveal thy knowledge perfectly concerning the field
where this place Calvary is, according to the teaching          675
of the Scriptures, ere death and utter destruction
snatch thee away for thy sins, that I may thereafter
cleanse the cross to be a solace for men, according
to the will of Christ. Thus shall the Holy God,
the Lord Almighty, Glory-giver of hosts and Helper              680
of souls, fulfill for me my desire and my inmost
longing.'

But with stubborn heart Judas answered her:--'I
know not the place, nor aught of the field, nor
know I the event.'

Then Elene spake with wrath in her heart:--'I                   685
swear by the Son of the Creator, by the crucified
God, that thou shalt be starved to death before the
people of thine own race, save thou forsake this
falsehood and fully declare unto me the truth.'                 690

Then she bade men take him alive, and throw
him, guilty as he was, into a dried-up well--nor did
her subjects hesitate. And there, joyless and famished,
weighed down with chains, was he to abide
in his grief for the space of seven nights. And
upon the seventh day, weakened by sorrow, weary,                695
and without food--his strength was broken--he
began to call aloud:--'I beseech you by the God
of the heavens that ye release me from this misery,             700
for I am brought low by the pangs of starvation.
Joyfully will I show forth the holy tree--no longer
can I hide it now by reason of my hunger. This
durance is too fearful, this need too great, and this
torture too bitter day by day. No longer can I                  705
endure to suffer, and conceal my knowledge concerning
the tree of life, though before I was filled
with folly, and confess the truth too late.'


11. THE FINDING OF THE CROSSES.

When she who there held sway over the heroes
understood the changed bearing of the man, she                  710
straightway bade release him from his prison,
his dungeon, his narrow cell. Then quickly they
did so, and took him out of the pit with care, as
the queen had bidden them. And they resolutely                  715
took their way to that place upon the hill where
the Lord was crucified on the cross, the Son of
God and Prince of the heavenly realm. Weakened
by hunger, he knew not yet clearly where through                720
the wiles of the devil the holy rood lay hid beneath
the earth, nor where it rested in its tomb, safe in a
secret place, long hidden from men.

After a little while he lifted up his voice with
unwonted power and spake in Hebrew:--'O Lord                    725
Jesus, thou who dost possess the power of judgment,
thou who didst form the heaven and the earth and
the sea, the broad expanse of waters, and all created
things, by the might of thy glory; thou who didst
measure out with thine own hands all the sphere of              730
this earth and of the firmament above; thou who
dost sit in person, the King of victories, over the
most glorious angel-kind; thou who in a mantle
of light dost fare through space in surpassing
majesty, the nature of man cannot rise in the flesh             735
from the earth-tainted ways unto the bright throng
of the pure, the heralds of glory. Thou didst form
that host, holy and heavenly, and didst ordain it
unto thy service. Six of their number are called                740
by name in joy without end, and they are clothed
about with six wings; they are adorned, and gleam
brightly. And there are four of their number
ever in flight that perform the service of glory                745
before the sight of the eternal Judge, and they continually
sing in holiness with clear voices the laud
of the King of heaven, fairest of songs, and they
chant these words in pure tones--their name is                  750
cherubim:--"Holy is the holy God of the archangels,
the Lord of hosts. Heaven and earth are
full of His majesty, and all His exceeding might is
marked with His glory." And there are two among
their number in the heavens, the victorious race,               755
whereon man bestoweth the name of seraphim.
With flaming sword they are to keep sacred the field
of Paradise and the tree of life. And fast in
their grasp the drawn sword, sharp of edge, quivers,
trembles, and changes its hue. For thou dost rule,              760
O Lord God, eternally, and thou didst hurl thy sin-stained
foes, the workers of iniquity, from the
heavens, and the unhappy host fell to the dark
abodes, into the pains of hell. There now they suffer           765
the agony of death in a sea of fire, encompassed
about with darkness, in the embrace of the dragon.
He withstood thy kingly rule, and therefore in
misery, abhorred, the vilest of the vile, shall he
suffer and endure the servile yoke. He cannot there             770
neglect thy commandment; he is fettered in torture,
bound in agony, the author of all sin. If it be thy
will, O King of angels, that He who was on the
cross, and was born of Mary into the world in the               775
form of a child, the Lord of the heavenly host, shall
rule--and were He not thy Son, free from guile,
never could He have wrought such a multitude
of true miracles day after day in the world;                    780
nor wouldst thou, O Lord of the peoples, so gloriously
have raised Him from the dead before the
nations, were He not thy Son in glory by that holy
maid--then do thou, O Father of angels, now show
forth thy sign. Even as thou didst hearken unto                 785
the words of that holy seer, Moses, in prayer, when
thou, O God of power, didst reveal unto the noble
man in due time the bones of Joseph beneath the
mountain-side, so would I, O God of hosts, if it be
thy will, beseech thee in the name of that fair being           790
that thou, Creator of souls, wilt disclose unto me
this treasure-house that long has been hidden from
men. Do thou now, O Prince of life, let rise up
beneath the span of the heavens from this smiling               795
field a misty smoke. Then shall I trust in thee
better, and the more firmly establish my soul in
undoubting joy upon the crucified Christ, that He
is truly the Saviour of souls, eternal, omnipotent,
and King of the Israelites, and that He shall rule              800
for ever in glory without end the everlasting dwellings
in the heavens.'

Then from that place a mist rose up beneath the
skies, like unto smoke. Thereupon was the soul
of the man exalted, and he clapped his hands unto               805
the heavens, wise and blessed. And Judas spake,
sage in thought:--'Now have I truly perceived in
the hardness of my heart that thou art the Saviour
of the world. Thanksgiving without end be thine,                810
O God of might, who sittest in majesty, that unto
me in my misery and my sin thou dost uncover the
secrets of the fates by thy glory. Now I would
pray thee, O Son of God, Giver of gifts to men,
inasmuch as I know thou art revealed and born the               815
Glory of all kings, that thou never more be mindful
of my guilt, O my Creator, which I have wrought
not a few times against thee. Let me, O God of
power, dwell with holy joy among the number of                  820
the kingdom in that fair city where my brother is
exalted in glory, for he, Stephen, held covenant with
thee, even though he was stoned. He hath the
reward of the fight, joy unceasing, and the wonders             825
that he wrought are set forth in books.'

Then, glad and zealous, he digged in the earth
under the sod for the tree of glory until he uncovered
and came upon three crosses together in a
mournful home, hid twenty feet below, concealed                 830
in their dark grave beneath the steep cliff, and covered
over with sand, even as in days of yore the                     835
host of the sinful, the race of the Jews, had clothed
them over with earth. They stirred up hatred
against the Son of God, as they would not have
done had they not hearkened to the teachings of
the prince of evil.

And his soul was gladdened with great joy, and                  840
his heart strengthened by that holy tree, and his
spirit exalted within him as he beheld the holy sign
in the earth. With his hands he seized upon the
wondrous tree of glory, and in the midst of the
people raised it aloft from its earthy grave. Then              845
strangers and heroes entered into the town.


12. THE MIRACLE OF THE TRUE CROSS.

Thereupon the glad and zealous man set forth
the three trees of victory before Elene in open view.           850
The queen rejoiced in her heart at the deed, and
asked on which of those trees the Son of the King,
Giver of joy to men, was crucified: 'Lo! we heard
it declared from the holy book that two suffered
with Him, and He Himself was the third on the                   855
cross. All the heavens grew dark in that woful
hour. Say, if thou knowest, on which of these
trees the Lord of angels and Prince of glory suffered.'

But Judas could not declare unto her fully concerning           860
that tree of victory, on which the Saviour,
the conquering Son of God, was hung, for he wist
it not assuredly. Then he bade set the crosses with
tumult in the midst of the fair city, there to abide            865
until the King Almighty should show forth a miracle
before the people through that tree of glory.
With souls uplifted in their victory, they sat themselves
down about the rood, and with earnest
thought raised their voices in song until the ninth
hour, when they had new joy, gloriously gained.                 870
For many came there, no small multitude, and
among the press of men close by on a bier they
brought one who was dead, a young man, lifeless;
and it was the ninth hour.

And there was the heart of Judas gladdened with                 875
great joy. He bade them set down upon the earth
him whose soul had fled, the body forsaken of life,
the dead man, and he himself, wise and earnest
revealer of truth, raised up in his arms two of those           880
crosses over the lifeless frame. But the body, fast
on its couch, was dead as before. The limbs were
cold, enwrapped with their dire fate. Then the
third, the holy one, was raised aloft. The body                 855
waited until the rood, the cross of the King of
heaven, the true sign of victory, was laid upon the
man; then he straightway rose up, restored in spirit,
both body and soul together. And there was great                890
laud raised among the people; they revered the
Father, and honored the true Son of the King in
their speech. To Him be glory and thanksgiving
without end from all creatures.


13. JUDAS AND THE DEVIL.

Then, as ever should be, was the miracle which                  895
the Lord of hosts, Giver of life, had wrought for
the salvation of mankind, impressed upon the minds
of the people. But there the fiend, the devil from
hell, dire monster mindful of evil, sinning with his            900
lies, rose up into the air, flying, and spake thus:--'Lo!
what man is this who doth again in the
ancient enmity destroy my following, swell the
olden hatred, and waste my possessions? Continual               905
strife is this. No longer may the souls of them
that work evil dwell among my possessions, since
now a stranger hath come, whom I counted fast
in his sins, and hath robbed me of my every right               910
and of all my wealth. This is not a just deed.
The Saviour, who was raised up in Nazareth, hath
done me many an evil, acts of deep hatred. As he
grew up from childhood, he ever turned to himself               915
my possessions, nor now can any justice succeed
[against him]. His kingdom is broad over the
world, while my teaching is weakened beneath the
heavens. I dare not despise this cross with scoffing
laugh. Lo! the Saviour hath again shut me into                  920
my narrow home, smitten with woe. Once I was
filled with joy by a Judas: but now, again by a
Judas, am I humbled, bereft of possessions, abhorred,
and friendless. But I know how to discover                      925
again by my sin a way of return hereafter from
the home of the damned. I shall incite against thee
another king who shall persecute thee, and shall
forsake thy teaching and follow my ways of                      930
evil; then will he cast thee into the darkest and
worst of terrors, that thou, racked with pain, mayst
vehemently renounce the crucified King, whom thou
didst formerly obey.'

Then the wise Judas, daring hero in strife,                     935
answered him (the Holy Spirit was granted unto
him with strength, a love hot as fire, a knowledge
welling up through the learning of a warrior); and
he spake this word, filled with wisdom:--'Thou
needst not so mightily, ever mindful of evil, renew             940
sorrow and enkindle strife, O sinful prince of murder,
inasmuch as the mighty King, who hath awakened
with His word many of the dead, doth thrust
thee into the nether depths, thou worker of iniquity,           945
into the abyss of torture, bereft of joy. Know thou
full clearly that thou in folly didst forsake the
brightest of lights and the love of the Lord and that
glorious faith, and that thou hast since dwelt in a             950
bath of fire, burdened with tortures and seared with
flame, and that there, with hatred in thy soul, thou
shalt ever suffer woe and misery without end.'

Elene heard how the foe and the friend struggled
together, the glorious and the foul on opposite sides,          955
the sinful and the blessed. And she was the gladder
in heart as she heard that the hellish enemy, the
Prince of evil, was vanquished; she marveled at
the wisdom of the man, how in so little time
he was so filled with faith, and how he who had                 960
ever been so ignorant was imbued with knowledge.
And she thanked God, the King of glory, that
through the Son of God the joy of both these things
was come unto her--on the one hand at the sight                 965
of the tree of victory, and on the other at this
faith which she so clearly understood as a glorious
gift in the breast of this man.


14. THE EMBASSY TO CONSTANTINE.

Then was the fair news of the morning manifest
among the nation, spread far throughout the people,
to the vexation of many who would keep secret the               970
law of the Lord. It was heralded through the cities,
as far as the sea embosoms the land, through every
town, that the rood of Christ, buried of yore in the
earth, had been found, best emblem of victory of
them that were raised aloft before or since, holy               975
beneath the heavens. Unto the Jews, men of misfortune,
it was a most bitter grief and most hated
of fates that they could change neither it nor the
joy of the Christians in the world. Then the queen              980
bade messengers from her noble company make
them ready with haste, for they were to seek the
lord of the Romans over the deep sea, and declare
unto that warrior in person the best of glad tidings--how
the tree of victory, that had been hidden a long                985
time before to grieve the holy ones, the Christian
people, had been discovered and found in the earth
through the grace of the Creator.

Then was the soul of the king rejoiced at that                  990
fair news, and his heart filled with gladness. And
in the city there was no want of richly-clad questioners
concerning what was come from afar. The
greatest comfort in the world, a joyful soul, was               995
come unto him at those glad tidings which the messengers,
leaders of the army, brought to him over
the eastern ways, how the warriors with the glorious
queen had made a prosperous voyage over the sea
into the land of the Greeks. The emperor bade
them prepare themselves again for the journey with             1000
the greatest haste. The warriors made no delay
when once they heard the answer, the message of
the prince. He bade them, heroes hardy of soul,
give greeting to Elene, renowned in war, if they
should survive the sea and make a prosperous                   1005
voyage unto the holy city. And Constantine furthermore
bade the messengers charge her to build
a church there on the mountain-slope for the weal
of them both, a temple of the Lord on Calvary for              1010
the joy of Christ and the solace of men, there
where the holy rood was found, fairest of all trees
the dwellers on earth have ever known.                         1015


15. THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE.

And thus she did when her friends brought many
a kind greeting over the fastness of waters from the
west. Then the queen bade seek far and near those              1020
skilled in the arts, the best of those who could work
most wondrously in the laying of stone upon stone,
that they might raise a temple of God upon that
place. As the Lord of spirits counseled her from
the heavens, she bade deck out the rood with gold
and with gems, adorn it most artfully with precious            1025
stones; then to seal it with locks in a casket of silver.
There hath the rood of life, best tree of
victory, dwelt since then, indestructible in its nobleness.
There shall it be ever ready, a solace for                     1030
the ill of any disease, affliction, or sorrow. Then
straightway shall men find aid and divine grace
through that holy form.


16. THE CONVERSION OF JUDAS.

Then after a little space Judas received the bath
of baptism, and, cleansed [of his sins], was true to           1035
Christ, dear to the Lord of life. His faith was
steadfast in his heart when the Spirit of comfort
had taken up his dwelling in the breast of the man,
and had urged him unto repentance. He chose the
better course, the gladness of glory, and forsook the          1040
worse, the way of the idolater, and cast aside his
heresy, the law of unrighteousness. God, the eternal
King, Creator, and Wielder of power, was
gracious unto him.

Then he was baptized who many times had
scorned the light; ...[1] his heart was inspired               1045
unto the better life; he was turned unto glory.
Verily fate decreed that he should become thus filled
with faith, thus dear unto God and beloved of Christ
in the kingdom of the world. This was made manifest            1050
when Elene bade bring unto the holy city
Eusebius, the bishop of Rome, exceeding wise amid
the councils of men, to aid in her deliberation, and
to ordain Judas into the priesthood at Jerusalem               1055
as bishop for the people in the cities, prudently
chosen through the grace of the Spirit for the temple
of God. And in later times upon a new occasion
she wisely named him Cyriacus. Henceforth                      1060
the name of the man was changed for the better
throughout the cities--'The law of the Lord'.

[Footnote 1: A manuscript lacuna.]


17. THE FINDING OF THE NAILS.

Then again was the mind of Elene concerned
about that fair mystery with regard to the nails               1065
which pierced the feet and hands of the Saviour,
wherewith the King of the heavens, the mighty
Prince, was bound upon the cross. The queen of
the Christians began to ask concerning them. She
bade Cyriacus that he, through the might of the                1070
Holy Spirit, fulfil her desire still further regarding
the wondrous mystery, and that he unlock the secret
by his holy grace. And she spake this word unto
the bishop--boldly she addressed him:--'O bulwark
of heroes, thou didst rightly show forth unto me               1075
that noble tree, the cross of the heavenly King,
whereon by heathen hands was crucified God's own
Son, the Helper of souls, the Saviour of men. Now
further the longing for knowledge doth make me
mindful of the nails. I would thou shouldst find               1080
those that are hidden, buried deep in the earth and
shrouded in darkness. Ever doth my heart mourn,
sorrow in sadness, and rest not, until the Father
Almighty, the Lord of hosts and Saviour of men,
the Holy One from on high, shall fulfill unto me my            1085
desire through the finding of these nails. Now
with all reverence do thou forthwith, O best of
mediators, send up thy petition unto that glorious
Being, unto the King of majesty. Do thou pray                  1090
the Glory of men that He, Almighty King, show
forth unto thee the treasure beneath the earth that
still lieth hidden, secret and concealed from men.'
Then the holy man, inspired in heart, the bishop
of the people, made steadfast his soul, and joyfully           1095
went forth with a throng of men singing praises
unto God. Zealously Cyriacus bowed his head upon
Calvary, nor made he any secret of his thoughts, but
through the might of the Holy Spirit he called upon            1100
God with all reverence, and prayed the Lord of
angels to reveal the unknown mystery in his new
trouble, where in that field he might earnestly seek
out the nails.

Then the Father, the Spirit of comfort, there as               1105
they were watching, caused a sign in the form of
fire to rise up where the precious nails were cunningly
hid in the earth by the devices of men.

Forthwith there came a leaping flame brighter than             1110
the sun. The people beheld a miracle shown forth
unto their queen, where, like unto the stars of heaven
or gems set in gold, out of the darkness glittered
the nails brightly, gleaming from their burial-place           1115
beneath the surface of the earth. The people rejoiced,
the throng were glad of heart; and they said
with one accord that the miracle was of God,
although hitherto they had been long in heresy and
turned from Christ, through the death-wielding
power of the devil. Thus they spake:--'Now do                  1120
we ourselves behold the sign of victory, the true
miracle of God, whom we formerly withstood with
falsehood. Now is the course of the mystery come
into light and revealed. Wherefore may the God of
the heavenly kingdom have glory in the highest.'               1125

Then was the bishop of the people rejoiced anew,
he who had turned with repentance through the
Son of God. Awe-struck he took the nails, and
bore them unto the revered queen. Cyriacus had                 1130
fulfilled all the woman's wish, even as his noble
mistress bade him. Then was there the sound of
lamentation, and hot tears welling over their faces--yet
not at all for sorrow; her tears fell over the
nails. Wondrously was the desire of the queen fulfilled.       1135
With joyous faith she laid them upon her
knees, and, rejoicing in her happiness, revered the
gift that was brought unto her as a solace for her
sadness. She gave thanks unto God, the Lord of
victories, that now she knew the truth which had oft           1140
been foretold long before from the beginning of the
world as a comfort for the nations. She was filled
with the grace of wisdom, and the Holy Spirit of               1145
heaven held the dwelling of her body, and guarded
her both heart and soul. Thus the almighty, victorious
Son of God had care for her thereafter.


18. ELENE'S DISPOSAL OF THE NAILS.

Then she began zealously through the mysteries
of the Holy Spirit to search out the truth and the
way to glory. Verily the Lord of hosts, King                   1150
Almighty, gave aid that the queen might win her
wish in the world. From the beginning all the
prophecy was chanted in times before by the seers
of old, and thus it happened in every respect.                 1155
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit the queen
zealously began to search out with great care wherefor
she might best and most fitly for the solace of
men use the nails, and what was the will of the                1160
Lord. Then bade she bring at once unto a secret
council an exceeding wise man, who, learned in
mind, by his wise power knew fully the rede of
sages; and she began to inquire of him what he                 1165
deemed best to be done about this. And obediently
she chose his advice.

Earnestly he answered her:--'It is fitting that
thou hold in thy heart the word of the Lord,
His holy mystery, O best of queens, and zealously              1170
fulfil the bidding of the king, now that God, Redeemer
of men, hath given unto thee good speed
for thy soul, and the skill of wisdom. Do thou
bid that these nails be set upon the bridle, as a bit          1175
for the horse of the most noble among castle-ruling
kings. It shall become famed to many throughout
the world when he shall overcome each of his
enemies thereby in the contest, as with brave hearts
and brandished swords they seek the battle on either           1180
side, and strive for the mastery there, foe against
foe. He shall have good speed in war, victory in
battle, and peace everywhere, the calm following the
strife, who holds the bridle before him upon a white           1185
steed when his trusty heroes, far-famed in the fight,
bear shield and spear into the press of weapons.
For any man shall this be a guard invincible
against stress in war. Concerning it sang the
prophet, wise in thought, his mind saw deeply                  1190
the understanding of wisdom. These words he
spake:--"It shall be known that the horse of a king
is to be in the midst of brave heroes, decked with
bit and bridle-rings. It shall be called a holy sign           1195
of God, and he shall be hardy and honored in war
who guides the horse."'


19. CONCLUSION.

Then straightway in the presence of the nobles
Elene accomplished all. She bade deck the bridle
of the prince, gift-giver of men, and unto her own
son she sent the glorious present over the stream              1200
of the ocean as an offering. Then she bade assemble
together in the town, in that holy city, those
whom she knew as the best among the Jews, that
race of heroes. And the queen began to teach the               1205
throng of her dear subjects that they should steadfastly
hold to the love of the Lord, and maintain
peace one with another, and that they should hearken           1210
unto the lore of the teacher, and the customs of the
Christians, which Cyriacus, wise in the knowledge
of books, should declare unto them. The bishopric
was well established. Often there came to
him from afar the lame, the halt, the weak, the                1215
maimed, the bleeding, the leprous, the blind, the
poor, the sad in heart, and ever found they health
and relief there at the hands of their bishop during
all of their life. And again Elene gave unto him
gifts of great worth when she was ready for the
journey back to her own land, and when she bade                1220
all those who glorified God in that kingdom, both
men and women, to honor in their thought with
heart and strength that great day on which the holy
rood was found, most wondrous tree of them that                1225
have grown up from the earth, laden with leaves.
And, save for six nights ere the coming of summer
on the kalends of May, the spring was gone. May
hell's portal be closed and heaven's opened, may the           1230
eternal kingdom of the angels be revealed with joy
unceasing, and may their part be assigned with
Mary, to each man who keepeth in memory the
most sacred festival of the cross beneath the heavens,         1235
which the almighty King over all protected with
his arm! Finit.


20. EPILOGUE.

Old and ready for death by reason of this failing
house, I thus have woven a web of words and
wondrously have gathered it up; time and again
have I pondered and sifted my thought in the prison
of the night. I knew not fully the truth concerning            1240
the cross[1] until wisdom revealed a broader
knowledge through its marvelous power o'er the
thought of my heart. I was stained with deeds of
evil, fettered in sins, torn by doubts, girt round with        1245
bitter needs, until the King of might wondrously
granted learning unto me as a comfort for my old
age; until he gave unto me his spotless grace, and
imbued my heart with it, revealed it as glorious, in
time broadened it, set free my body, unlocked my               1250
heart, and loosed the power of song, which joyfully
and gladly I have used in the world. Not one time
alone, but often had I thought upon the tree of
glory, before I had the miracle revealed regarding
the glorious tree, as in the course of events I found          1255
related in books and in writings concerning the sign
of victory. Ever until that time was the man buffeted
in the surge of sorrow, was he a weakly flaring
torch (C)[2], although he had received treasures
and appled gold in the mead-hall; wroth in heart               1260
(Y), he mourned; a companion to need (N), he
suffered crushing grief and anxious care, although
before him his horse (E) measured the miles and
proudly ran, decked with gold. Hope (W) is
waned, and joy through the course of years; youth              1265
is fled, and the pride of old. Once (U) was the
splendor of youth(?); now after that alloted time
are the days departed, are the pleasures of life
dwindled away, as water (L) glideth, or the rushing
floods. Wealth (F) is but a loan to each beneath               1270
the heavens; the beauties of the field vanish
away beneath the clouds, most like unto the wind
when it riseth loud before men, roameth amid the
clouds, courseth along in wrath, and then on a sudden          1275
becometh still, close shut in its narrow prison,
crushed by force.

[Footnote 1: Supplying _r[=o]de_.]

[Footnote 2: These letters are the runes which spell out Cynewulf's
name.]

Thus shall all this world pass away, and in like
manner devouring flame shall seize upon whoever
was born into it, at that time when the
Lord himself 'with a host of angels shall come                 1280
unto judgment. There shall each man hear the
doom on all his deeds from the mouth of the judge,
and likewise shall pay the penalty for all the
foolish words ever spoken by him, and all his overbold         1285
thoughts. Then shall the people divide into
three parts for the embrace of the flame, every man
who hath ever lived throughout the broad earth.
Those who have clung fast to the truth shall be
highest in the flame, the throng of the blessed, the           1290
host of them that yearn for glory, the multitude of
the righteous, and thus may they endure and suffer
more lightly without distress. He tempers for
them all the glare of the flame as shall be most easy
for them and most mild. The sinful men, those                  1295
stained with evil, heroes sad of heart, shall be in the
middle place, shrouded with smoke amid the hot
surge of fire. The third part, accursed sinful foes,
false haters of men, the host of the wicked, shall be
in the depth of the surge, bound fast in flame by              1300
reason of their former deeds, in the gripe of the
glowing coals. Nor shall they come thereafter
from the place of punishment to the memory of God,
King of glory, but they shall be cast forth, His
wrath-stirring foes, from that fierce flame into the           1305
depths of hell. Unlike this shall it be with the
other two parts: they may look upon the Prince of
angels, the God of victories. They shall be refined
and freed from their sins, like pure gold that is all          1310
cleansed from every alloy, refined and melted in the
surge of the furnace's fire. Thus shall each of those
men be separated and purified from all their guilt,
their deep transgressions, by the fire of the judgment.
And thereafter they may enjoy peace and                        1315
eternal well-being. The Lord of angels shall be
merciful and gracious unto them, inasmuch as they
abhorred each sin, each work of guile, and called
upon the Son of the Creator in their prayers.
Wherefore now their forms shall shine like unto the
angels, and they shall enjoy the heritage of the King          1320
of glory for ever and ever. Amen.





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