Genesis A

Genesis A
Catalog # SKU1432
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Lawrence Mason


Genesis A

Translated From The Old English

Translator: Lawrence Mason, PHd

The purpose of the translator in offering to the public this version of the Genesis is to aid in forwarding-be it by but one jot or tittle-the general knowledge and appreciation of Old English literature.


First, Biblical phraseology has been eschewed, partly because in a modern writer it savors of affectation, but chiefly because his Bible was the point of departure for the Old English author, and to return now in the translation to our Bible would be a stultification of his purposes by a sort of argumentum in circulo. Secondly, archaisms, poetic diction, and unusual constructions (the "translation English" anathematized by the Rhetorics) have been so far as possible avoided, contrary to the practice of most translators from Old English poetry, because it is felt strongly that such usages will not produce upon modern readers the effect that this poetry produced originally upon the readers or hearers for whom it was intended. For this poetry could not have seemed alien or exotic to its original public: either through familiar poetic convention, or owing to the staccato and ejaculatory character of ordinary spoken language at the time, this spasmodic, apostrophic poetry must have seemed natural and beautiful, in the seventh or eighth century.

To translate is to modernize. This rendering, therefore, is not an artificial, pseudo-antique hybrid, but frankly endeavors to convey its original to modern readers in idiomatic modern literary English, devoid of any conscious mannerisms whatsoever. The writer has aimed at the utmost literal fidelity consistent with the observance of all the usages of current standard English; he has not attempted, however, to convert the explosive appositions, with prevailing asyndeton and excessive synonymy, of his original into the easy, flowing sentences more familiar to modern eyes and ears, for the change would sacrifice altogether too much of the distinctive character and flavor of Old English poetry.

The text upon which this work is based is that of the Grein-Wülker Bibliothek der Angelsachsischen Poesie, 1894, save for a few minor changes in punctuation and the few departures recorded in the Notes. Grein's translation of the poem into modern German stave-rime, 1857, has been frequently consulted, but the writer's real indebtedness to it is felt to be slight. He takes great pleasure, finally, in acknowledging his deep sense of obligation, on many grounds, to the general editor of this series, Professor Albert S. Cook; the work was undertaken at his suggestion, and he has been most kind in giving advice and criticism.

Ours is a great duty-to praise in word and love at heart the heavens' Ruler, the glorious King of Hosts: He is the substance of all power, the head of all high things, the Lord Almighty. Origin or beginning was never made for Him, nor shall an end ever come to the eternal God: but, on the contrary, He is for ever supreme by His high puissance over the heavenly kingdoms; just and mighty, He rules the mansions of the sky, which were established far and wide through the power of God for the sons of glory, the keepers of souls.

These angelic hosts were wont to feel joy and rapture, transcendent bliss, in the presence of their Creator: their beatitude was measureless. Glorious ministers magnified their Lord, spoke his praise with zeal, lauded the Master of their being, and were excellently happy in the majesty of God. They had no knowledge of working evil or wickedness, but dwelt in innocence forever with their Lord: from the beginning they wrought in heaven nothing but righteousness and truth, until a Prince of angels through pride strayed into sin: then they would consult their own advantage no longer, but turned away from God's lovingkindness.

They had vast arrogance, in that by the might of multitudes they sought to wrest from the Lord the celestial mansions, spacious and heaven-bright. Then there fell upon them, grievously, the envy, presumption, and pride of the Angel who first began to carry out the evil plot, to weave it and promote it, when he boasted by word- as he thirsted for conflict-that he wished to own the home and high throne of the heavenly kingdom to the north.

Thereupon God became angered and hostile towards the beings whom he had formerly exalted in beauty and glory: he created for the traitors a marvelous abode as penalty for their action, namely the pangs of Hell, bitter afflictions; Our Lord called forth that abysmal joyless house of punishment to wait for the outcast keepers of souls. When he knew that it was ready, he enveloped it in eternal night and equipped it with torment, filling it with fire and fearful cold, with fume and red flame: then he commanded the terrors of suffering to increase throughout that hapless place.

They had committed a dire sin against God: on that account dire punishment befell them. They asserted, in fierce mood, that they wished to seize the kingdom and could easily do so: but this presumption mocked them when their Lord, the high King of heaven, lifted up his almighty hand against the throng. The mad rebels, accursed ones, could not make head against God, but the Highest troubled their spirits and humbled their pride, for he was incensed; he stripped the sinners of victory and might, of dominion and honor, and further took from his foes happiness, peace, and all joys, as well as bright glory, and finally, with his own exceeding power, wreaked his wrath on his adversaries in mighty ruin.

He was stern in mood, grimly embittered, and seized upon his foes with resistless grasp and broke them in his grip, enraged at heart, and deprived his opponents of their native seat, their bright abodes on high. For our Creator dismissed and banished from heaven the overweening band of angels: the Lord sent away on a long journey the faithless multitude, the hateful host, the miserable spirits; their pride was broken, their threat overthrown, their glory shattered, and their beauty dimmed; thenceforth they abode in desolation, because of their dark exile. They did not dare to laugh aloud, but lived wearied by the torments of hell and became familiar with woes, bitterness, and sorrow; covered with darkness, they bore their pain,-a heavy sentence, because they had begun to battle against God.

Then, as formerly, true peace existed in heaven, fair amity: for the Lord was dear to all, the Sovereign to his servants; and the majesty of the joyful angelic hosts increased, through the favor of the Almighty.

Softcover, 5" x 8", 100+ pages