I.

What have we learned in former-days
of glory-blessed heroes, twelve under the stars,
the thanes of the Lord? Their force did not fail
in the war-reckoning when banners clashed together.
Afterwards they separated as the Lord himself,
Heaven’s High-King, had assigned their lot.                                                
Those were illustrious men upon the earth,
bold folk-leaders on the harrying-field,
doughty warriors and battle-brave,
when shield and hand defended their crown
on the measuring-plain. (1-11a)

Among them was a certain Matthew who, first among the Jews,
wordfully wrote with wondrous skill the Gospel.
Holy God had decreed the portion for him:
out to the island of Mermedonia where they do not allow
any strangers to dine upon the fruits
of their native land. Often he had encountered stoutly
the hand of slayers in the harrying-field. (11b-18)

That whole march-land was wound in murder,
the enemy’s deceit, the dwelling-place of men,
homeland of heroes. There was neither bite of bread
nor drink of water for Mermedonian men to relish.
Instead they gnawed at blood and skin,
the flesh-homes of foreign-coming men,
throughout the nation. Such was their custom—
that they made all strangers seeking their island
from outside into meat for the meat-lacking.
Such was the peaceless token of these people,
the violence of the wretched, that the enemy,
sword-grim and sad-minded, destroyed the sight of the eyes,
the head-gems, with the point of spears. (19-32)

Afterwards their druids bitterly mixed together
a frightful drink through sorcerous craft for their victim—
their wit was perverted, the conscience of men,
their mind was altered, the heart in breast—
so that their victims mourned no longer
for the joys of men so that they, ravenously hungry,
exhausted, tormented by famine, would eat hay and grass instead. (33-39)

When Matthew arrived at the city, that notorious fortress,
there was a great clamor throughout Mermedonia,
a band of the wicked, a tumult of the defiled,
after the devil’s thanes had learned of the noble one’s quest.
Then they went against him bristling with spears,
swiftly under shield—none were late—
enraged ash-bearers towards the fight’s flame-point. (40-47)

They bound the hands of the holy one there
and fastened Matthew by the fiend’s craft,
those hell-hastening heroes. His head’s sails
they burst with the sword’s edge—
nevertheless he honored in his heart the Guardian of Heaven’s Realm,
even though he accepted the terrible drink of poison.
Blessed and resolute, Matthew with courage still
worshipped the Prince of Glory wordfully,
Heaven-Kingdom’s Guardian with a holy voice
from his prison. Christ’s praise
was wound up tightly in his soul’s box. (48-58)

Then he, weeping with wearied tears,
lamented unto his Victory-lord with sorrowful speech,
to the Lord of Men, the Giver of the People’s Good,
in a wretched voice, and he spoke in words thus:
“How the strangers have prepared for me
a treacherous net, a guileful chain!
Always I was on the paths, eager in heart,
ever according to your purpose; now through my sorrow
I must perform my deeds as cattle deprived of speech. (59-67)

“You alone know all thoughts, Measurer of Mankind—
you know the heart in breast. If it be your will,
Prince of Glory, that the pledge-breakers
are to put me to sleep with swords,
the weapon’s edges, I am immediately prepared
in this exile to endure what you wish to ordain, my Lord,
Bliss-giver of Angels, Deed-origin of Hosts. (68-75)

“Give to me your mercy, Almighty God,
light in this life, lest I must at length,
blinded in this fortress after the sword-hate,
suffer their scorn-speak by hateful sentence
of the blood-greedy, these malign man-harmers.
I affix my heart solely to you, Guardian of Middle-Earth—
and with the rooted love of my soul, I wish to ask you,
Father of Angels, Bright Bestower of Fruits—
do not tally me amid your guilt-foes, the weary crime-wrights,
in the worst death, O Deemer of Hosts, upon the earth!” (76-87)

After these words came a sign of glory,
holy from the heavens; like a lucid banner
into the prison cell. There it was revealed
that Holy God had effected help
when the voice of the Heaven-King was heard,
curious under clouds, the eloquent noise
of the famous Prince. Bright-voiced God
announced cure and comfort from the battle-bold
to his retainer within the harm-coffer: (88-96)

“I give my peace to you, Matthew,
under the heaven. Do not be fearful in heart.
Do not mourn in mind. I abide with you
and shall ransom you from these limb-fetters,
and all of that multitude that dwells with you
in doleful endungeonment. For you, paradise
is opened by holy powers, brightest of prosperities,
the fairest home of all weal, a hopeful and splendid home.
There you may enjoy glory and delight as long as you may live. (97-106)

“Endure these people’s affliction! There is not much time
that the pledge-breakers, sinful through spiteful art,
will be allowed to afflict you with tormenting bonds.
I shall dispatch Andrew immediately to you
as shelter and as solace in this heathen city.
He shall redeem you from this folk-hate.
There is until that moment a finite number,
truly a space of time equal to seven
and twenty counts of night until you,
one sorely aggrieved yet deserving of victory,
will be allowed to depart from your constraint,
from your humiliation into the hold of God.” (107-17)

Then from Matthew the Holy Helm of All Beings
withdrew, the Shaper of Angels, to his uppermost
native realm—he is by right the King,
the Steadfast Steersman in any place.
Then was Matthew greatly inspired by the new voice. (118-23a)

The night-helm glided past, swiftly slipping away.
Light came after, the crash of dawn.
A multitude assembled, heathen warriors
crowded in heaps—armor ringing, spears shaking—
swollen-minded under shield-cover.
They wished to prove whether their victims,
while they dwelt in that comfortless place,
remained alive in the prison, secured by chains—
and which one could soonest be deprived of spirit
according to their appointed time for eating.
They, slaughter-greedy, had inscribed in both secret
letters and computation, the men’s death-stick,
when their victims ought to be made into food
for the meat-lacking in that nation of men. (123b-37)

The cold-hearted cried out to their fierce leader—
one band pressing upon another—
they heeded not the right nor mercy of the Measurer.
Often their thoughts were taken
by the devil’s edicts in the dark shadows,
while they entrusted themselves to his miserable might. (138-42)

Then they found the holy hero,
wise-minded under the dark enclosure,
battle-strong, expecting what the Bright King,
Source-Point of Angels, wished to grant him.
When time was nearly passed, the original clause
of the time-mark—save for three nights—
as the slaughter-wolves had inscribed it,
they thought upon breaking apart his bone-rings,
quickly separating body and soul,
and at that moment distributing to old and young
the fated flesh-home, as a meal and a grateful repast for men.
These greedy warriors mourned not for life —
how the soul’s journey is decreed after its death-throes.
So they always ordered a feast
after every thirty counts of night. There was much desire
to swiftly break apart human flesh-homes
with bloody jaws for their own sustenance. (143-60)

Then he was mindful, the one who had established
middle-earth with strong powers, how Matthew
dwelt in a strange people’s misery,
locked up with leg irons, he who had often suffered
for God’s love before the Hebrews and the Israelites—
he who had withstood strongly the magic arts of the Jews. (161-7a)

 

II.

Then from heaven that voice was heard
in Achaia, where the holy man Andrew was,
instructing the people in the life’s way,
when the Glory of Kings, the Creator of Mankind,
the Lord of Hosts, surpassingly strong
unlocked his mind-hoard to Andrew,
and said thus in words: (167b-73)

“You must travel, bearing your peace,
seeking out a journey where the self-eaters
defend their domain and hold their homeland
through murder-craft. Such is the custom of that multitude
that they do not wish that any unkindred men
be granted their lives in that folk-land,
after the malicious discover the miserable
in Mermedonia. Killed by wretched men,
a life-parting must follow. There I know
your victory-brother to languish, in fast bounds
amid those citizens. There are now but three nights
until Matthew must yield up his soul to the spear’s grip
for the sake of the hand-strife of heathens,
unless you, ready to depart, should come before.” (174-88)

At once, Andrew gave him answer:
“How can I, my Lord, across the deep waters
accomplish this journey upon the far-flung wave,
so hastily, O Heaven-shaper and Wielder of Glory,
as your word instructs? That your angel can easily travel,
holy from the heavens, the course of waters known to him,
the salty sea-streams and the swan-road,
the struggle of surf and the water-terrors,
the ways over the wide-lands. There are no friends known to me
there, these nobles strange—I do not know
the thoughts of those men, nor are the troop-roads
over cold water familiar to me.” (189-201)

Then the Lord Eternal answered him:
“Alas, Andrew, that you would ever wish to
be sluggish to the journey’s path!
There is nothing difficult for the All-wielding God
to effect upon the earth-ways,
so that that city, the king-throne renowned,
with all its inhabitants, could be planted
into this very land under the course of heaven—
if the Owner of Glory decreed it in word.
You cannot be slow to this journey,
nor feeble in your wits, if you think well
about your Sovereign, considering his pledge
and His true token. Be ready at the proper time—
there can be no delay of this errand! (202-15)

“You must then set out on a journey,
bearing your spirit into the grip of furious men,
where a war-struggle will be offered to you
through the rushing crash of battle,
through the war-craft of warriors.
You must mount a ship at once with the dawn,
even at next morrow, at the seashore—
and on the cold water, burst forth over the bath-way.
Have my blessing across my middle-earth wherever you go!” (216-24)

Then the Holy Holder and Wielder departed from him,
the Source of High Angels and the Guardian of Middle-earth,
seeking his own country, that renowned home,
where the souls of the sooth-fast can brook life
after their bodies crumble to dust. (225-29)

When the message was declared to the champion
in the noble cities, Andrew had no timorous mind,
but was resolute for valiant deeds,
firm and stout-hearted—not at all battle-tardy—
but readied by war for the contest of God.
Then he departed at dawn in the earliest morn,
across the sandy dunes to the sea’s shore,
bold in mind, and with his thanes,
walking upon the sand. The spear-waves resounded,
beating the brim-streams. The warrior
was hopeful after he discovered on the shore
a ship, broad-bosomed and high-spirited. (230-41a)

Then came the morning-shine, brightest of beacons
over the water, holy from the gloaming.
The candle of heaven gleamed over the sea-floods.
Andrew found there the ship-wards,
proud and glorious men, three thanes
sitting in their sea-boat, such as they had come in over the sea.
That was the Lord himself, the Wielder of Multitudes,
the Eternal Almighty, along with two of his angels.
They were in the raiment of seafarers—
nobles in wave-sailors’ guise who bounce
in the water’s embrace across the distant wave
in ships upon the cold water. (241b-53)

Then Andrew, elated, greeted them and spoke,
standing on gravel, ready upon the strand:
“Whence do you come, sailing by ship,
skillful men, upon the sea-rusher, a lone water-float?
Whence has the water-stream over the rocking waves brought you?” (254-9)

Almighty God then answered him
in such a way that Andrew, awaiting his words
there upon the shore, did not realize
with whom he spoke among those conversing:
“From the nation of Mermedonia we have traveled far.
A high-prowed ship has borne us on the whale-road,
the swift ocean-horse, encircled with water,
until we reached this land of men,
driven by the sea as the wind compelled us to do.” (260-9)

Humble Andrew then replied:
“Although I can give you few rings or treasure-worthy things,
I wish to ask you to bring us aboard
that steep vessel, that beaked ship,
and over the whale’s home to that same nation.
There will be reward for you with God
if you are gracious to us on this road.” (270-6)

Soon from the wave-ship the Helm of Princes,
Shaper of Angels, answered him:
“Wide-faring men cannot dwell there,
nor can strangers enjoy the land,
but in that city they suffer the killing,
the foreigners that bear their life to that place—
and now you ask to venture across the wide sea
so that you might spill your life out in this feud?” (277-84)

Then Andrew gave rejoinder:
“Desire whets us to that nation’s borders,
a great hope of mind, to that notorious city,
dearest lord, if you wish to make known
your mercy for us upon the ocean-flood.” (285-9)

The Prince of Angels, the Savior of Men,
replied from the ship’s prow:
“We wish to ferry you with us
across the fish’s bath freely and gladly,
even to that land that desire urges you
to seek, after you have given your fare,
a price appointed as the ship-wards,
my men upon the wave-board,
would wish to be given.” (290-8)

Swiftly then Andrew, friend-wanting,
wordfully spoke to him: “I have
neither ornamented gold nor money-treasure—
nothing of wealth nor sustenance nor woven wire broaches,
lands nor locked rings, that I can provide your desire,
your wishes in this world, as you have said in word.” (299-304)

Then the Lord of Warriors, where he sat on the gangway,
addressed Andrew over the tossing of the shore:
“How does it happen, dearest friend,
that you should wish to venture to the mountainous sea,
to test the measure of the sea-currents, deprived of wealth,
seeking a ship across the cold cliffs?
You have nothing to comfort you on the ocean-street,
no bite of bread nor pure drink as befits you.
Is that a fruitful custom for them that know the long sea-way?” (305-14)

Then Andrew, sage in his senses, unlocked
his word-hoard as an answer for the sailor:
“It behooves you not, whom the Lord has given
money and meals and worldly success,
that you should now answer with arrogance,
attack us with sarcasm. It is more proper for every man
that he recognizes, humbly and certainly,
the man eager to depart, as Christ commanded it,
the Glory-fast Prince. We are his thanes,
chosen as his champions. He is by rights the King,
Sovereign and Craftsman of the Glory Majestic,
One Eternal God of All Creation,
so he grasps all things by single skill,
heaven and earth, through Holy Might, best of victories. (315-29a)

“He said that himself, the Father of All Folk,
and he ordered us to travel through the spacious earth
and gather together souls, saying:
‘Travel now throughout the earth’s every corner,
even so wide as the water contains or the fixed plains
lie down as a street. Proclaim through the cities
the bright belief across the embracing earth.
I hold my peace for you. You will need to bring no ornaments
on that journey, neither gold nor silver:
I will provide you a bounty of every sort of good,
each according to your own wish.’
Now you, a thoughtful one yourself, can hear
of our journey. I must swiftly know
what you would do to benefit us.” (329b-42)

The Eternal Lord answered him then:
“If you are the thanes of the one that heaved up glory
across middle-earth, as you tell me,
holding what the holy one has commanded you,
then I wish to carry you with joy
across the sea-currents, as you have requested.” (343-48)

 

III.

When the brave-spirited mounted into the ship,
valiant and active, the mind of each
was blessed upon the mere-flood.
Then Andrew began to beg the Chief of Glory
for mercy for the sea-farers over the waves’ toss,
and spoke in words thus:
“May the Lord give you glory magnificent,
your wishes in this world and in the fruit of glory,
the Measurer of Man-kind, as you have
made your peace known to me on this voyage!” (349-58)

He sat himself then near the Holy Helm-ward,
noble by noble. I have never heard
of a ship laden the more splendidly
with such high-treasures. The heroes sat therein,
glorious princes and proud thanes.
Then the Prince of Dominion spoke,
the Almighty Eternal, and ordered his angel,
the famous kin-servant, to go and give them
food, to comfort the destitute so that they could
the more easily endure their condition over the welling waves. (359-69a)

Then the whale-mere became vexed and agitated.
The garfish sported gladly through the spear-waves
and the gull reeled grey and carrion-greedy.
The weather-candle was obscured.
Winds swelled. Waves ground together.
Currents were stirred. The rigging creaked
and the tackle was soaked. Water-terror
stood in the strength of its violence.
The thanes became timid-hearted
upon the sea-currents—none of those
who had sought this ship with Andrew believed
that he would ever regain the land still living.
They did not know yet who guided
that sea-floater upon the surf. (369b-81)

Then the holy one on the sea-path,
Andrew, still a prince-loyal thane then,
spoke thanks over the oar-blending
to him, Counselor to Kingdoms, when he was fed:
“May the Truth-fast Creator, the Life’s Light-origin,
the Wielder of Hosts, make recompense unto you
for this provender and give you food,
heavenly bread, as you have revealed
your friendship in peace to me
over these mountainous waves. Now my servants,
these young battle-warriors, are afflicted.
The spear-waves and the gushing ocean are roaring.
The sea floor is troubled, the deeps disturbed, the multitude perturbed,
the power of proud men is much oppressed.” (382-95)

The Shaper of Heroes replied to him from the helm:
“Now let our float ferry you to dry land,
the ship over the sea-fastness, and then bid your servants
to alight onto the earth until your soon return.” (396-400)

At once, those earls gave him answer,
those thanes toil-enduring, they did not wish to suffer
to abandon their beloved teacher at the ship’s stem,
and choose the land for themselves. They said:
“Where would we turn, lordless, sad-minded,
starved for good, wounded by our sins,
if we should desert you? We would be hated
in every land, vile to every people,
whenever the sons of men, courage-bold,
hold council and discuss which of them
always attended their lord best in battle,
suffering straits on the war-plain when shield
and hand are ground down by swords in the spite-play.” (401-14)

Then the Prince of Realms spoke,
the pledge-fast King, and heaved up a word at once:
“If you are the thane of He that Sits in Majesty,
of the Glory-King, as your word claims,
then recite those mysteries, how he instructed
the speech-bearers under the lofty sky.
Long is the journey-path across the fallow waves:
comfort your servants in their hearts.
There is now a great distance yet to go
over the ocean-stream—the land is so far to seek.
The sands are churned up, the ground with grit.
God can easily effect help for sea-farers.” (415-26)

Then Andrew wisely began to strengthen
his disciples with words, his glory-speeding men:
“When you all mounted upon the sea,
you were mindful that you would conduct your life
to a hostile people, and for the love of the Lord
might suffer death, giving up your soul
in the homeland of wholly evil men.
I myself know that the Shaper of Angels
shields us, the Lord of Armies. Compelled
and rebuked by the Might-king, these water-terrors,
the tossing ocean, must become more gentle. (427-37)

“So it happened once upon a time,
that the Disciples ventured a ford
over the surging strife in a sea-boat.
The water-ways seemed horrible and fearsome:
water-streams beat the shore-boards;
the sea-water often answered back,
wave upon wave. Sometimes the terrors
stood up from the ocean’s bosom
over the wave-ship, into the breast of the boat. (438-44a)

“There the Almighty, the Measurer of Man-kind
bright in the sea-rusher, abided this.
The warriors were fearful in their hearts,
desiring peace, mercies for the famous.
When the watery multitude began to chatter
upon the ship, the king soon arose,
the Blessing-giver of Angels, and quieted the waves, the welling of water.
The winds were chastened, the sea subsided,
the boundaries of the ocean-currents became tranquil again.
Then our hearts laughed since we had seen
the wind and waves under heaven’s circuit
and the terror of the deep grow afraid for fear of the Lord.
Therefore I wish to say to you as truth:
the living god will never abandon
an earl upon the earth, if his courage avails.” (444b-60)

Thus sounded the holy champion,
mindful of his servants. The blessed warrior
taught his thanes; he strengthened his men
until forthwith they were bested by sleep,
exhausted beside the mast. The sea-storm abated;
the endeavors of the waves, the tempest’s
sea-violence soon was transformed.
Then Andrew’s spirit became gladdened
by the holy one, after that spell of terror. (461-8)

Then he began to speak, keen of counsels,
wise in his wits, to unfasten his word-chest:
“It strikes me that I have never met a better sea-farer,
a robust rower more counsel-prudent,
nor more learned in his speech.
Now I would like to ask you one further favor
as a nobleman un-notorious, even though
I am light in rings and golden riches,
of things treasure-worthy that I can give you.
I wish to obtain your good friendship,
glory-fast prince, if I might.
Afterwards you will get a share
of holy joy in heavenly majesty
if you are generous with your lore to those sea-weary ones.
I want to discover one skill from you,
royal-famed hero, that you might teach me
the power and glory—such as the King,
the Shaper of Men has given you—
how you direct the swimming power of this wave-floater,
this sea-horse drenched by the sea. (469-88)

“It chanced that I have been some sixteen times,
now and again, on a sea-boat, with hands
stirring the frozen ocean, the water-currents.
This time is once more. Thus I have never seen any man,
no might-born hero the likes of you,
no steersman over the stern. The tide-swell roars,
it beats the shore-boards. This boat is so well equipped;
it fares foamy-necked, very much like a bird,
gliding on the ocean. I know for certain
that I have never seen such proficiency at sail-going
across the wave-trail. It is almost like the ship
stood still on land, where neither the storm nor the wind
can shake it, nor the floodwaters break its sword-shining-prow—
yet the ship speeds on the sea, swift under sail. (489-505a)

“You are young yourself, a haven for war-faring men
—not at all advanced in winters—
yet you, sea-tossed, have in your soul
the answer of a noble man. You know
the wise sense of every word for this world.” (505b-9)

To him replied the Eternal Lord:
“Often it occurs that we are on the sea-way
in ships among sailors, when a storm comes,
breaking across the bath-way in watery horses.
At times it goes laboriously with us among the waves,
upon the sea, though we escape
and continue the terrible passage. The flood-welling
cannot hinder at once any men contrary to the grace
of the Measurer: but he binds for himself
the power of life, just as He binds the waters
and compels and rebukes the brown waves.
He must rule rightfully, he who heaved up
the heavens and affixed them with his own hands;
that shaped and supported the bright bounty-home
filled with glory, thus was blessed
the homeland of angels through his sole might. (510-25)

“Therefore it is an evident and manifest truth,
known and understood, that you, Andrew,
are the King’s own pious servant,
of He That Sits in Glory, because the sea-mound,
the course of the spear-waves, immediately recognized you,
that you held the favor of the Holy Ghost.
The sea soon retreated, the blending of the oar-waves.
The terror was stilled, the broad-bosomed wave.
The ford-waters were calmed after they understood
that God, who by strong power
established the gift of glory, was wound up in you.” (526-36)

Then the brave-souled champion exclaimed
in a holy voice, honoring the King,
the Wielder of Glory, and thus spoke in words:
“Be blessed, Hero of Man-kind,
Delivering Lord! Ever shall your fame live!
Both near and far is your holy name beautified
in glory across the human-nations, celebrated
for your mercies. There is no man under the heaven-vault,
none of the race of heroes, who could relate
or may know the count of how gloriously
you deal out your favor, Prince of Nations,
Spiritual Savior. Indeed it is apparent, Preserver of Souls,
that you have honored this young man with such gifts,
so he would be so loyal in his youth
and wise in his wits and word-sayings.
I have never met among his even-elders
one more wise in his heart’s understanding.” (537-54)

Then from the ship spoke the Glory of Kings,
the Beginning and the End, to Andrew, and boldly asked:
“Say, thane wise in thought, if you know,
how it happened that among doubting men,
those men wicked in deceitful thought,
the people of Judea heaved up harmful speech
against the Son of God. There men not unwicked—
angry and sad-minded—did not believe in their own Life-start,
that he was God, even though he made known many
wonders to the people, quite evident and manifest.
The sinning could not recognize the king-born,
he who was conceived as shelter and comfort to the race of men,
to all earth-dwellers. The noble one increased in word and wisdom,
but praise-holding, he always revealed openly no small deal
of those wonders to those pride-eaten people.” (555-71)

Andrew then gave him a reply:
“How could it happen in a human nation
that you have not heard of the Savior’s power,
dearest of men, how he made known his gift
throughout the wide world, the child of the Sovereign?
He gave the mute speech, the deaf hearing,
the blind sight; he made the spirits
of the lame and the leprous rejoice;
those that had long been limb-sick, weary, weak of health,
bound in torments throughout the cities.
So he awoke with a word many
of the various kindred of men from death
in the ground-way. Likewise he, king-famous,
also made known many miracles through the power of his art.
He consecrated for his war-band wine from water
and ordered it to change into a better sort, as joy for his troops.
Likewise, he fed from two fishes and five loaves
five thousand of the kindred of men.
The walking troop sat down, sad-minded, united at rest,
weary after the wandering, and received this meal,
men upon the earth, as was most agreeable to them. (572-94)

“Now you can hear, dearest young man,
how the Guardian of Glory showed us love with words
and deeds in this life, and through his teaching
urged us toward that joyous glory, that place
where at liberty and blessed with the angels,
those that seek the Lord after death can occupy.” (595-600)

 

IV.

Then the Ward of the Way further unlocked
his word-hoard, the bold man upon the gangway,
speaking: “Can you tell me, so that I may know the truth,
whether your Sovereign made known the miracles,
those he performed not a few times to comfort the people,
openly upon the earth, where bishops and scholars
and aldermen sat conversing at council?
Out of envy it seems to me that they plotted
wickedness by their deep heresy. These heroes
—all too ready to depart—listened too eagerly
to the devil’s instruction, to the wrathful pledge-breaker.
Their fate betrayed them, seduced them and perverted them.
Now they must swiftly, wearied amongst the weary,
endure wrack, a bitter burning in the slayer’s bosom.” (601-16)

Then Andrew gave him an answer:
“I tell you truly that Christ very often
for the counselors of the people openly
made happen miracle after miracle
in the sight of men, just as the Lord of men
performed the people’s good in secret,
so intending peace.” (617-22)

The Helm of Nobles answered him:
“Can you, wise warrior, powerful and valiant in mind,
speak in words of the power that he,
brave-minded, often revealed
when you all held counsel in secret whispers
with the Lord, the Ruler of the Heavens.” (623-7)

And so Andrew gave answer:
“What are you asking me, most beloved lord,
in elaborate words, when you perceive
the truth of each word by the skill of the wise?” (628-31)

Then the Ward of the Way addressed him still:
“I do not ask you in detraction nor slander
on the whale-road, but so my mind may be elated,
joyfully bound to your word’s eloquence, eternal in its nobility.
I am not alone in that—but the heart and spirit
of every man will be joyous, consoled far or near,
who regard in their mind how that mighty one acted,
the god-child on earth. Their souls turn and seek
the joys of heaven, eager for the journey,
the homeland of angels by that noble might.” (632-42)

At once Andrew gave back answer:
“Now I perceive the sense of wisdom
and truth itself in you—triumphant capability
given you with miraculous skill—the inward breast,
bright in bliss flourishes from wise men—
now I wish to tell you alone of the beginning and the end,
ever as I heard that nobleman’s words and wisdom
through his own mouth in the moot of men.
Often the wide-ranging band gathered,
a people immeasurable, for the judgment of their lord,
where they hearkened to the teaching of the holy one. (643-54)

“When soon the helmet of those noble men,
the bright profit-giver, departed into another dwelling,
there many came towards him as he praised God,
to that court of debate, hall-counselors of the wise.
Always they rejoiced, the merciful men,
at the coming of the City-Warden. (655-60)

“So it happened once upon a time that the victory-judge
went traveling, the mighty lord. There were no more people,
of his own folk on that journey-way except eleven
struggle-tested men, tallied among the glory-blessed—
Jesus himself was the twelfth.
Then we entered into the capital city,
where was timbered up the temple of the Lord,
high and horn-wide, well-known to warriors,
beautified with glory. (661-69a)

“Yet scorn-speakingly and injuriously
the high priest mocked us with hostile intent;
he unfastened his hoarded coffer and wove a quarrel.
He knew in his mind that we followed the footsteps
of the true one, and we endured by the sentence
of his teaching. The high priest quickly heaved
up a hostile cry, intermingled with woe: (669b-75)

“‘Harumph! You are wretched over all men!
You wade along wide wanderings,
enduring a multitude of misfortunes.
Now you heed the teachings of a stranger,
a man outside the people’s law, having no share in its blessing.
You testify for this prince, swear that you dwell every day
with the Creator’s son. But it is well-known to the people
whence this noble’s origins are derived.
Jesus was nourished in these borders,
begotten child-young amid his relations.
Thus his father and mother are native-dwellers
named Mary and Joseph, as we have learned
by our thought. There are two others,
men born in noble brotherhood,
the sons of Joseph, Simon and Jacob.’ (676-91)

“So exclaimed the counselors of warriors,
a band eager for judgment. They thought
to conceal the creator’s might. Sin, that endless evil,
returned soon where it had arisen before.
Then the prince departed from that heap of thanes
from the counsel-place comforted by his powers,
the lord of multitudes, seeking an unknown land.
Through many wonders in the desert
Jesus had made known that he was the king
by right over middle-earth, comforted with power,
Sovereign and Artificer of the Glorious Majesty,
One Eternal God of all Creation. Again, he made known
innumerable other miraculous works in the sight of men. (692-705)

“On a later occasion, Jesus set out with a great band
so that he might stand in the temple, the Prince of Glory.
A confused clatter was raised throughout the high hall—
the sinning ones would not swallow the teaching of the holy,
though he made known so many true tokens
where they could be seen. The Lord of Victory
spotted a wonder graven quite elegantly
in the likeness of his own angels on the temple wall,
splendidly adorning either side. He spoke by word:
‘This is an image of the most illustrious of angel-kind
that there is, among the citizens in that city.
Cherubim and Seraphim they are named in heavenly joys.
They stand stout-hearted before the countenance of the Eternal Lord,
praising with voices and holy songs the glory
of the Heaven-King, the Creator’s protection.
Here is hewn the shape of holy ones—through hand-power
the servants of glory are written on the wall.’ (706-26)

“Then the Lord of Armies further spoke a word,
the heaven-holy soul, before that handiwork:
‘Now I command a signal to be revealed,
a miracle to occur in this assembly of men,
that this likeness seek the earth, lovely from the wall,
and speak a word, tell in truthful talk,
through which the nobles should believe
in my lineage, what my homeland is.’ (727-34)

“And then that wonder dared not conceal the Lord’s behest
before that host, but leapt up from the wall,
the wise and ancient work, so that he stood on the earth,
stone out of stone. Its voice came thereafter,
loud through the hardness, its speech resounded,
reproaching them wordfully. It seemed curious
to the stiff-purposed, the stone’s first act.
It instructed the priests in clear signs,
wittily it restrained them and spoke in words: (735-42)

‘You are wretched among the miserable minds,
deluded by wiles—you do not understand well,
and are troubled in mind—you call
the child of God Eternal a man, when he has delineated
with his own hands the ground and sea,
the heaven and earth and the stormy waves,
the salty sea-currents and upper heaven. (743-49)

“This is the same All-Wielding God
who your fathers knew in former days.
He dispensed gifts to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,
honored them with wealth, and first spoke in words
of noble Abraham’s destiny: that from his kin
must be conceived the God of Glory.
That event is open and manifest among you—
you can now see with your own eyes
the God of Victory, the Owner of Heaven.’ (750-60)

“After the host listened to these words
throughout the wide hall, all were stunned,
then the eldest soon began to speak sinfully—
recognizing not the truth—they said that this was done with druid-craft,
with magical works, that that bright stone spoke on behalf of men.
Evil flourished through the breasts of men,
a burning hot wickedness welled in their thought,
a worm hostile to the fruit, a poison wholly malicious.
There was evident the doubting mind
through its harmful speech; these men’s mis-thoughts
wrapped up in murder. (761-72)

“Then the Prince ordered this glory-work to travel,
a stone onto the street from that place,
and go forth, treading the earth-way,
to the green lands of Canaan, to deliver
the message of God by teaching within
that country’s borders, to command by the King’s word
Abraham and his two sons first to from their earth-grave,
to lay down their land-rest and gather up their limbs,
to take up their souls and youth-hood,
and come forth into the present renewed,
sage elder-prophets, and reveal to the people
which God they had acknowledged for their might. (773-85)

It departed then, as the mighty Lord,
the Sculptor of Men, had inscribed him,
over the march-roads, until he arrived at Mambre,
dazzling brightly, just as the Measurer had commanded him.
There the body-homes, the corpses of the high-fathers,
had been concealed for a long time.
He ordered them to stand up at once,
Abraham and Isaac and the third noble called Jacob,
from the dirt into God’s destiny for them,
swiftly from the sleep that bound them.
He ordered them to gear up for the journey,
to fare at the Lord’s decree. They had to reveal
to those people who it had been at the first creation
that arranged the all-greening Earth and the Upper-Heaven,
where the Wielder was, that founded that work. (786-99)

“They dared not hinder any longer
the Glory-King’s word. Then those three
wit-full witnesses treaded the borderland,
suffering their mould-home, their earth-grave, to remain open.
They wished to make known at once the Father of First-works.
Then the people became frightened with terror,
wherever the noble men praised in words the Prince of Glory.
At last the Guardian of Realms commanded them
with goodwill to seek a second journey
to the blessed weal, the joys of heaven,
and after that to enjoy life there,
to the width of life, at their will. (800-9)

“Now you can hear, dearest lad,
how he revealed a great number of miracles—
however, mind-blinded men did not believe
his own teachings. I know many very famous stories yet,
which that man performed, the Ruler of the Skies—
these even you, wise of mind-thought,
could not consider or encompass in your breast.” (810-7)

Thus the whole long day Andrew
praised the teaching of the Holy One
in utterances, until sleep overcame him
suddenly on the whale-road,
beside the King of Heaven. (818-21)

 

V.

Then the Dispenser of Life ordered his own angels
to conduct Andrew over the waves’ tumult,
bearing the beloved man in their bosoms
across the sea-fastness with mildness
over his Father’s sea, until sleep overwhelmed
the sea-weary. By the tossing breeze he arrived
at the land of Mermedonia, the city
that the king of angels had ordained for him.
Having delivered him, then they arose,
journeying blessed on the upwards way,
seeking their homeland. (822-30)

They left the holy one by the war-street,
dreaming in peace under the shelter of heaven,
waiting blithely near the city-wall,
near his hated foes, for a night’s length,
until the Lord released the day-candle
to shine brightly. The shadows abated,
dark under the clouds. Then came the breeze’s blazing,
a clear heaven-light, sparkling over the houses. (831-38)

Then Andrew awoke, resolute for the fight,
and looked upon the plain before the city-gates.
Lofty mountains and hillsides towered there,
and beyond a hoary stone, tile-faced buildings
and towers stood with windy walls.
Then that wise man recognized that he had reached
the nation of Mermedonia by journey,
just as the Father of Mankind himself had commanded him,
when he had assigned him this voyage.
Then he saw his disciples in the sand,
battle-ready warriors, dreaming in sleep.
The war-farer at once began to awaken them and spoke by word:

“I can tell you a plain truth,
that yesterday upon the stream of the sea,
across the oar-weal, a nobleman ferried us.
In that ship was the King of Glory,
the Wielder of Human Lands. I recognized his word
though he had obscured his aspect.” (839-56)

Then these young noblemen answered him
with spiritual mysteries as reply:
“We shall gladly reveal to you, Andrew,
our journey, so that you can wisely
understand it in your own soul’s thoughts. (857-61)

“Sleep overcame us, sea-weary,
then over the welling waves came eagles—
faring in flight, exultant in feathers,
and tore us by the soul from slumber,
with joy they ferried us, flying upon the breeze,
with joyful noises, bright and gracious. (862-7)

“They loved mildly and dwelt in praise—
there was song everlasting, heaven coursing—
a beautiful gathering of hosts, a glorious press.
The angels stood all about their homeland,
thanes about their prince, by their thousands—
they praised the Lord of Lords with sacred voices on high.
Joyous expectation was their pleasure. (868-74)

“We recognized there holy high-fathers
and no small force of martyrs, singing
praises to the Soothfast Victory-Lord,
a multitude judgment-ready. There was David
among them, the blessed warrior, Jesse’s son,
come before Christ, King of Israel.
Likewise we saw you all standing before
the Son of the Creator, twelve men all told,
eternal in your genius, glory-blessed heroes.
Holy arch-angels served you, sitting in majesty. (875-85a)

“It will be well for those heroes allowed
to brook that bliss. An ecstasy of glory was there,
a magnificence of war-faring, a noble beginning—
there was there no strife for any of them.
Banishment will be ordained and torment
revealed for those who should become the enemy
of those joys when they go hence:
they shall wander in abjection.” (885b-91)

Then was the heart’s understanding of the holy one
greatly elated in his breast, after he had heard the story
of his disciples, how God wished to esteem them
so much over all men—and the shelter of war-farers spoke by word:

“Now I have perceived, Lord God,
that you were never far upon the sea-road,
Glory of Kings, when I climbed into the ship,
though on the wave-voyage I did not know
how to recognize you, Prince of Angels,
Savior of Souls. Be merciful to me now
and be kind—O Measurer Almighty, O Bright King!

“I spoke many a word upon the salt-stream,
and afterwards, now I know who ferried me
over the floods in a wooden ship, worth-minded.
That one is the Spirit of Comfort of Warrior-kind.
Help is ready there, mercy among the famous,
the power for victory will be given
to everyone, those who seek him.” (892-909)

Then, at that same moment, before their eyes,
the Prince revealed himself to their view,
the King of All That Lives, in the shape of a child.
Then he spoke a word, the Chief of Glory:
“Hail to you, Andrew, and your blessed band,
exulting in spirit! I have held peace for you
so that your wicked foes, these grim grief-smiths,
can not harm your soul.” (910-7)

Andrew fell to the ground then, the wise warrior wordfully
begging for peace, and asked his cherished lord:
“How I deserved it, sinning against your self,
Wielder of Men, that I could not recognize one so good,
the Savior of Souls, upon the wave-journey,
where I spoke about my Measurer—
in many more words than I should have.” (918-24)

The All-wielding God answered him:
“You have never committed so a great sin
as when you made refusal in Greece—
saying that you did not know how
to fare on the far-waves; that you could not enter that city—
that you could not perform the task
within the time-mark of three nights,
as I ordered you to journey across the watery strife
Now you know very well that I can easily
support and promote any one of my friends
in any land—wherever it pleases me most. (925-35)

“Arise now swiftly, and consider this counsel at once,
blessed child, so that the Bright Father
will honor you with glorious gifts,
skill and might, for your life’s length.
You must go into that citadel, beneath the city-locks,
where your brother is. I know Matthew is struck
with sword-wounds, your near-kin set
about with crafty nets. You must seek him,
release that dear one from the hate of the hateful,
and all the kindred of men dwelling with him,
strangers in guileful chains, bound up in wickedness.
Readily there shall be remedy in this world,
in the reward of glory—
such as I was telling those same men before. (936-49)

“Now you, Andrew, must venture at once
into the grip of the ferocious. Warfare is your lot,
in hard sword-blows. Your carcass shall be doled wounds,
your blood shall flow in a stream much like water.
They will not be able to bestow your spirit death,
though you will suffer stripes, the blows of the sinning.
You will suffer sorely—do not let the force
of the heathens move you, their grim spear-strife,
so that you betray God, your Lord. Be eager for glory always! (950-59)

Let it remain you in your mind how it became
renowned to many men throughout many lands,
how malevolent men shamed me
while I was bound with wounds. They afflicted me with words,
smote me and struck me—the sinning could not
reveal the truth by injurious speech.
Then I was stretched over the gallows,
the rood reared up among the Jews,
where a certain man let out blood-sweat
from my side, gore onto the ground.
I endured many miseries upon the earth.
For this, I wanted you to become an example
with a blithe heart, shown to these strangers.
There are many in this famous city
whom you will turn toward heaven-light
through my name, although they have done
many murders in days gone by.” (960-76)

Then the holy one departed from him, seeking the heavens,
the King of All Kings, that pure home,
with humility upwards, where there is mercy
belonging to every man, to those who know how to find it. (977-80)

Then Andrew, soul-patient and mindful,
a warrior hard for battle, was bolstered in his courage—
he went quickly into the city, a single-minded contestant.
Powerful and stout of mind and true to his creator,
he stepped down the street, the path guiding him—
so no man could recognize him nor the sinful see him.
The Guardian of Victories had prudently concealed
the beloved folk-prince from sight with his hand
inside the city. When noble Andrew had pressed
inwards, Christ’s champion, near to the prison,
he saw a heap of heathens together, herdsmen
standing before the grated door, seven at once.
Death seized them suddenly, they fell ingloriously—
the fatal rush grasping the sword-bloody warriors. (981-96a)

Then the holy one prayed to the merciful father
from his inmost thoughts, praising the Heaven-King’s
Majesty on high, God’s sovereignty.
The prison door buckled at once
through the hand-grip of the Holy Ghost,
and there he went in, mindful of courage,
the battle-brave man. The heathens slept,
drunk in blood, reddening the death-hall. (996b-1003)

He saw Matthew in the murder-coffer,
the stout-minded hero under the shadow-lock
telling his praise unto the Lord, glory
for the Prince of Angels. He sat there alone,
miserable for his cares in that sorrowful house. (1004-1008)

Then Matthew saw his dear companion under the sky—
holy man saw holy man—joyful hope was restored.
Then he arose to face him and thanked God
that they had ever been allowed to see each other
unscathed under the sun. Peace was mutual
between both those brothers, bliss renewed.
Each covered the other with arms,
they kissed each other and embraced.
Both were beloved by Christ at heart.
Light shone around them, holy and heaven-bright.
Then his breast was welling with delights,
when Andrew, wordfully began to greet
his noble and god-fearing companion
in the barred-coffer with speech, and spoke
to him about the battle to come, fighting of hostile men:
“Now there will be a yearning in this folk,
heroes hither on…” (1009-24a)

Page missing from poem, containing an unknown number of lines

                                        …deed to seek out home

After these words, the servants of glory, both brethren,
kneeled to pray, sending their prayers before the Child of God.
Thus the holy man in the harm-closure hailed his God
and asked his Savior for succor and assistance—
before their flesh perished before the battle-power
of the heathens—and then led the prisoners
from their limb-fetters, out of the fastness
into the Lord’s peace, one hundred and forty-two men
all told by count, delivered from the malice—
he left none there fixed in bonds under the city’s enclosure—
and furthermore, he freed the frightened women there,
one less than fifty, as an increase of his host.
They were glad for the journey, quickly departed—
not one waited for long inside the sorrow-house,
anticipating the battle. (1025-43)

Then Matthew departed, leading the many
into the care of God, as sainted Andrew had ordered him.
He had covered the host on their desired journey,
with clouds lest the shield-haters should come
shooting with a flurry of arrows, their old foes.
Then the headstrong men held council there
between them, faith-friends, before turning their two ways.
Either of those earls confirmed the hope
for the heavenly-realm in the other,
and wordfully warded away the torments of hell.
So these war-farers, heroes stout-minded,
proven champions, honored the King with holy voices,
the Wielder of the World’s Way, whose glory
at the End of Time will never be grasped by men. (1044-57)

Then Andrew turned back into the city,
to a place where he had learned would be
a moot of the fierce, folk-muster of hostile men,
going glad-minded until he encountered
by the border-road a brazen column
standing near the street. Then he sat himself
beside its base—he had pure love,
an eternal high-thought for the bliss of angels.
Beneath the city walls, he awaited there
whatever war-deeds were his lot.
Then crowds gathered from afar, the first-spears of the people.
To the pens the faithless army had come
with their weapons, those heathen battle-men,
to their captives who had previously suffered under prison-shade. (1058-71)

The evil-thinkers expected and desired
that they would obtain food from the strangers
ordained as their meal. That thought sailed away
after the angry ash-bearers, with their band
found the prison door wide open, the hammered work
unclosed and the herdsmen all dead.
Then they soon turned, unhappy, deprived of their desire,
to bear the grievous news. They said unto their people
that they did not discover any of the far-comers,
the foreign-speakers remaining there,
that were alive in the prison.
Instead the guards lay there gory, lifeless in the dust,
deprived of breath, doomed flesh-houses.
Then many of the people’s leaders grew fearful
from the horrible news—abjected, sorrow-minded,
expecting famine, that pallid dinner-guest.
They knew no better counsel than to devour
the departed guards as deathly life-bread.
In a single moment, all of the door-watchmen
were stirred from their deathbeds by the solemn assembly. (1072-92)

Then I heard that the people, the city-dwellers,
were summoned together. Men came to hold council,
a throng of war-farers, coming on horses,
bold on their steeds, exulting in spears.
When the entire nation was gathered together
at the meeting-place, then they cast lots to decide
amongst them who one among them should first
offer his life unto the others for food-taking.
They cast lots by hell-craft, reckoned between them
with idolatry. Then the lot fell evenly upon one
of the good old boys, one noted for his wisdom,
an earl of the host, in the vanguard of the reavers.
He was quickly bound after by fetter-chains, hopeless of life. (1093-1107)

Then the courageous heart called out with sorrowful voice,
saying he would give up his own son into their power—
his young heir—in exchange for clemency to his own life.
Then they accepted this gift in order to serve him up.
The people were very desirous for food with a sorrowful mind—
there was no joy in treasure, no hope in their hoards.
They were severely oppressed by hunger, that great despoiler
tyrannized them so cruelly. Then there was many a warrior,
a war-hardy man, that burned in his breast
for that young body. The miserable sign of that battle-play
was widely known throughout the city,
announced to many men who sought for the child’s violent death,
the life of the beloved one, and took a portion for the multitude,
the men and the boys. The miserable boy could find no mercy,
no peace among his people, who wished his life
and spirit be given to them. The wretches had sought for strife.
The edge of sword, sharp and beaten-hard, stained by fire-marks,
from the hand of harmers, must demand his life. (1108-28)

The deed seemed miserable to Andrew,
a people-staining crime impossible to abide —
that one so innocent must quickly lose his life.
That folk-hate was bold and trouble-hard—
the troops trembled, proud and daring man-servants,
in their desire for murder, they wished, by any means,
to bruise the head of the boy-child,
to destroy him with spears. God defended him,
holy on height, from those heathenish folk.
Andrew ordered the weapons of the men
in the vanguard to melt away completely,
much like wax, lest the shield-haters, those horrid
opponents, harm the child with their panoply of blades. (1129-48)

So he was released from that folk-hate,
the young man from grief. Thanks be to God entirely,
the Lord of Lords that gives judgment of every man,
whoever wisely seeks his aid. There will always be
eternal peace ready for those who can find it. (1149-54)

Then there was a war-cry in the cities of men,
an army’s loud shout. The heralds cried out,
signifying their meat-lack—they stood weary,
captives of hunger. Their horned halls and wine-houses
stood wasted: the warriors had no need for riches to enjoy
in that bitter hour. The cunning-minded sat apart
in consultation, meditating upon their miseries.
There was no joy in their homeland for them.
Then one man often asked the other:
“Let no one conceal good lore that holds it
in the pith of his prudence. Now the time
is come, this threat extraordinary—there is now great need
that we listen to the words of wisdom-fast men!” (1155-67)

At that moment, before that multitude, a devil appeared,
dark and uncomely, having an accursed shape.
This dispenser of murder then began to inform
against that holy man, the hell-hobbled designing malice,
and he said by word: “Here has fared over the far wave,
a certain nobleman within your city, a foreign man
who I have heard named Andrew. He cut you closely
when he led out from your pens more of man-kind
than was appropriate. Now you can easily wreak
grief-deeds in reply! Let the tracks of your weapons,
iron hard-edged,give his life-house a close shave,
his fated soul-hoard! Go forth boldly and humiliate this foe of men!” (1168-83)

Andrew then gave the devil a response:
“Harumph! You boldly instruct these people,
embolden them to battle! You know the torment of fire,
hot in hell, and still you hasten this army,
these foot-soldiers to the fight! You are guilty against God,
the Deemer of Nations. Listen you devil’s dart,
you multiply your misfortunes. The Almighty
humbled you from on high, and cast you into darkness,
where the King of Kings laid you in fetters,
and ever after, those that knew the judgment
of the Lord called you Satan.” (1184-94)

Still the depraved one exhorted the people
to the fight wordfully through the fiend’s craft:
“Now you hear the enemy of heroes, the foe who has done
the greatest harm to you all. That is Andrew,
who strives with me alone with wrought words
before this host of men.” When the sign was given
to the city-dwellers, they leapt up,
with an army’s war-bold cry, crowding the war-farer
to the wall-gates, keen beneath their banners, with great
courage to the flame-point of battle, with spears and shields. (1195-1205)

Then the Lord of Hosts spoke a word,
the Measurer strong of might said to his loyal servant:
“You must, Andrew, perform a courageous deed!
Don’t conceal yourself from the multitude,
but set your inner thoughts fast against these strong men!
There is not much delay until the moment that the slaughter-cruel
will lay you in torments, in cold bonds.
Reveal yourself, harden your mind,
confirm your heart, so that they can recognize
my power in you. Those guilty of great vice cannot—
nor will they be allowed to— bestow death unto your body-house
against my grace, even though you may suffer stripes
and wicked blows. I am dwelling with you.” (1206-18)

 

VII.

After these words a measureless host came,
shameful lore-smiths with a crowd of shield-bearers,
all swollen-minded—they swiftly bore him out
and bound the hands of the holy one
after Andrew, the joy of noblemen, was revealed
and they could see him with their own eyes,
present and triumph-eager, there on the fruiting plain
where so many craved that man, the glory of the people. (1219-27a)

They were little aggrieved about what recompense
would come to them after. The malignant enemy
ordered him to be led across the land-shares,
pulling him along from time to time
in such a way as they found most savage.
They dragged him, daring-minded and stout-hearted,
across hill-scarps and along rocky slopes—
even as widely as where the old paths were lying,
the work of giants within their cities, streets stone-paved.
A tempest of the heathen army was reared up
throughout the city’s houses. It was no small commotion. (1227b-38a)

The body of that holy man was sodden with sore wounds,
bedewed with blood, his bone-house broken.
Blood welled out in waves of hot gore —
though he had courage unwavering within him.
That noble mind was sundered from sins even though
he was to suffer so many pains in deep wound-blows.
So he was beaten, triumph-bright, all day long until evening came.
Pain soon pervaded the warrior’s breast until the bright sun,
heaven-radiant, slid towards its setting.
Then the people led their hated adversary to prison.
Regardless Andrew was dear to Christ in his mind—
the hallowed thought was light about his heart, his purpose strong. (1238b-52)

Then the holy man was beset with cunning wiles
the whole night, an earl courage-hard
under the gloom-shade. Snow bound up the earth
in winter-casts. The breeze grew chilly,
hard with hail-showers, such ice and frost.
White war-steppers fastened the homeland of men,
the households of the people.
The lands were frozen with cold icicles of rime.
The water’s power withered across the river-currents
and ice bridged the murky sea-road.
Andrew the blithe-hearted remained bold
and trouble-fast in his consigned compulsions
the winter-cold night long, an earl not infamous,
mindful of daring. He did not cease in his intention,
trembling from this terror, which he had earlier begun—
he praised ever the Lord most glorious
and worshipped him wordfully, until the gem of glory,
heaven-bright, was unclosed. (1253-69a)

Then came a swarm of soldiers to that dark dungeon,
no small multitude passing in the noise
of a slaughter-greedy host. They ordered that the nobleman,
that pledge-fast hero, be led outside quickly
into the possession of the wroth. Then again, just as before,
he was beaten with pain-blows the length of a day.
Blood welled out in waves from his liver,
throughout his bone-coffer, engulfing him in hot gore.
His corse, wearied by wounds, cared not
much for their performance. (1269b-78a)

Then came a ring of cries from Andrew’s breast—
a ghastly thing fared forth, a stream welling out in a swell,
and he spoke by word: “Now see here, Lord God,
my condition, Good-Giver of Armies!
You perceive and understand the wretched journeys
of every single man. I trust in you, my Life-Start,
that you, man’s mild-hearted Savior, Almighty Eternal,
will never forsake me because of your mighty virtues,
so that I, while my soul lives upon this earth,
perform so that I fail but little your loving lessons.
You are my shielder against scathing weaponry,
Eternal Origin of Blessings, for all of your creatures.
Don’t let the mankind’s bane, fault’s first-born shame
through fiend-craft nor cover in reproach those that bear your praise.” (1278b-95)

Then a loathsome spirit appeared there, an angry pledge-breaker.
That warrior preached before that war-band,
a devil of hell condemned to suffering, and said in word:
“Strike this sinful man across the mouth,
this enemy of the people! He talks too much!” (1296-1301)

Then was the flame-point soon stirred
with renewed voice. Malice was raised up
until the sun departed, gliding to its setting
under the dark earth. Night brown-black
covered the steep mountains, overshadowing them
and holy Andrew was led back into his home,
bold and glory-eager in that dark hall.
He had to dwell within closed constraint
the length of the night, pledge-fast, in the foul fold. (1301-10)

Then came a dire wretch, one of seven
mindful of evil, walking to the hall,
an evil lord clothed in the murk of murder,
a devil death-cruel deprived of blessings.
He began then to speak words of reproach
to the sainted man: “What were you thinking
Andrew by coming to this wrathful wold?
What is your glory? That you would be exalted in over-mind
when you humbled the idols of our gods?
Have you now assigned both land and people,
all for yourself alone, just as your teacher had?
He heaved up his kingly glory, for that was the name of Christ,
across middle-earth, while he could do so.
Herod deprived him of life, the King of Judea defeated him in combat,
bereaved him of lands and befixed him to a cross,
where he sent out his ghost upon the gallows.
So I now order my children, these powerful servants,
my disciples of war, to humiliate you.
Let the point of spears, arrows stained with venom,
dive into you, into your doomed spirit! Go forth right away,
my war-bold hardies, and vanquish his vainglory!” (1311-33)

They were cruel, rushing upon him at once
with voracious clutches. God defended him,
the Steadfast Steersman, through his strong might.
Afterwards they recognized the Cross of Christ
upon Andrew’s forehead, that renowned token,
and they were taken with trembling inside—
frightened, afraid and put to flight then.
At once the elder-foe, the captive of hell,
began as before to sing a sorrow-song:
“How are you become so valiant, my soldiers,
my shield-brothers, that you prospered so little?” (1334-44)

Then the wretch gave the devil answer,
the first-scather, and replied to their father:
“Suddenly we are not able to inflict injury upon him,
nor death through devices. Go to him yourself!
There you will directly find battle, fearsome fighting
if you dare to strive further upon that recluse’s life.
We can easily advise you better, dearest lord, in that sword-play—
before you make war and the tumult of battle boldly,
consider how you might profit in the exchange of blows.
Let us proceed at once, that we might shame him in his fast bonds,
taunt him about his wrack-journey. Have your words ready,
wholly considered, against that wretched thing!” (1345-59)

Then with a loud voice upon the mountain-road,
the one afflicted with torments spoke these words:
“You, Andrew, have long applied yourself to wretched arts!
How many peoples have you seduced and betrayed?
You will assume this work for not much longer.
There are tortures ordained for you, as grim as you deserve!
Weary-hearted and abject, devoid of comforts,
you must endure agony by sore death-pains!
My men are ready for war-play—
they would do anything to take your life with their valor-deeds
before too long. Who among the kindred of men
is so mighty across middle-earth that they could
release you from these bone-bonds against my will?” (1360-74)

Andrew then gave him reply: “Well, Almighty God,
Savior of Men can easily save me, who formerly fastened
you into discomfort with burning bonds! There you have been ever since,
bound up in torment, waiting in wrack, cut off from glory
after you disdained the words of the Heaven-King!
There was the start of evil—and there will be no end to your exile!
You must increase your misery for your long life.
Eternally and always, your condition will be the stronger one day to the next!” (1375-85)

At that, the devil fled, who had made fierce feud
against God in years past. (1386-7)

 

VIII.

Then at the last of the night a host of heathens came,
an army of the people, seeking the holy one at day-break.
They ordered him to be led out, a toil-enduring thane, for a third trip.
They wished for the mind of the courage-bold man
to be melted by need. It could not be done!
Then was their malice stirred up anew, hard and hate-cruel.
The holy man was beaten sorely, bound by chains,
driven through with scar-wounds, while the day gave light. (1388-97)

Then he sad-minded began to cry out unto God,
in a holy voice harsh from his bondage
and weary-hearted wept, speaking these words:
“I have never endured a more difficult condition
beneath the heaven-vault in the service of my master,
wherever I must adjudge law of the Lord.
My limbs are dislocated, my body sorely broken,
my bone-house is blood-stained,
wounds welling forth, wrenched sinews blood-sweaty.
Having become so dejected among the Jews in only one day,
O Ward of Victories, Savior Lord—what did you, God that Lives,
Master of Elder-Works, call out from the cross to your Father,
the King of Glory, speaking thus: ‘I wish you ask you,
Father of Angels, Life’s Light-Origin—why have you forsaken me?’ (1398-1413)

“And now I have had to suffer for three days
these killingly cruel tortures. I ask you, God of Armies,
when will I be allowed to deliver my spirit into your own hand,
Feast-Giver of Souls. You who commanded us
through your holy word, when you began to strengthen the twelve of us,
saying that the battle of war-eager men would not happen to us,
nor any part of our body be readily dismembered,
neither sinew nor bone would lie in our trail,
nor even a lock of our heads become lost,
if we should observe your lessons. Now my sinews are paralyzed,
my blood-sweat has been shed in drops, my hair lies scattered
across the land, curls upon the earth. Life’s severance is much
more desirable to me than this living sorrow.” (1414-28)

Then a voice answered him, the stiff-minded man,
and the words of the Glory-King resounded:
“Weep not for your exile, dearest friend—it’s not that terrible.
I will keep my peace for you; the power of my patronage
is set about you. Command and success is given to me over all things.
Many at the moot, those that honored him, on that great day
will declare that truth, that that beautiful creation,
the heaven and the earth, shall fall to ruin together
before any of these words should be frustrated,
which I begin to speak by my own mouth. (1429-40)

“Look now at your own track, such as your blood
has been shed by the bloody traces of your bone-breaking
and body-bruising. No more injury will they be allowed
to do to you through the stroke of spears,
those that have performed the most cruel injuries.” (1441-45)

Then the cherished champion looked back upon his track,
according to the pronouncements of the Glory-King.
He saw there blossoming groves standing
adorned with fruit, where his blood had been shed before.
Then the shelter of warriors spoke a word:
“Thanks and praise be to you, Sovereign of Nations,
and glory in heaven for your long life, for you have not forsaken me
in my pain, my Victory-Lord, estranged and alone.” (1446-54)

And so did the deed-maker praise the Lord
with a sainted voice until the clear sun,
gloriously bright, went dusking toward the drink.
Then when for the fourth time his terrible persecutors
led the worthy folk-leader into his prison-cell,
they had determined to dement the man-advisor’s mind,
his thought for artifices on that dark night.
Then came the Lord God into that grated-hall, the Glory of Heroes,
and greeted his own friend wordfully and spoke comfortingly,
the Father of Man-kind, Life’s Teacher. He ordered Andrew’s body
to regain its wholeness. “You shall not suffer in humiliation
the pain of this armored lot for much longer.” (1455-68)

Then arose Andrew from the fetters of harsh torments, valiant
in power, and said thanks to his Creator. He was whole.
His beauty was not besmirched, nor a hem from his garment rent,
nor lock from his head, nor was there any bone broken;
there were no bloody wounds belonging to his body,
nor any injury of any kind, wetted by dreary scar-blows—
but all was soon as it had been before, through that noble might,
raising his praises and strong of his body. (1469-77)

 

IX.

Listen, I have proclaimed for a while now the teaching
of the saint, the praise of what he achieved,
in the words of poetic songs; true events way beyond my capacity.
There is much to say, and a lot of reading, of what Andrew
performed in his life, according to my exemplar —
That story a man of the world must find it in his heart,
one more learned than I account myself, one who might know
all those hardships and savage battles from the beginning
that Andrew endured with courage. Nevertheless, we must
relate a few more verse-words with little stichs. (1478-89a)

It is said of old how Andrew suffered a great number
of fierce attacks and torments in that heathen city.
He saw by the wall, wondrously rooted beneath
the plains of time, columns—and not small ones—
pillars standing battered by the storm,
the old work of giants. He, mighty and mind-bold,
wise and wonderfully sagacious, made conversation
with one of their number and heaved up a word: (1489b-97)

“Now, marble-stone, hear the decrees of the Creator!
Formerly all creation worshipped his face fearfully,
when the heavens and earth see the father,
with the greatest of hosts, in middle-earth seeking mankind. (1498-1502)

“Now let currents burst forth from your base,
a river full of water—now the Almighty,
Heaven’s King, commands you to send forth
speedily onto this pride-fed people, wide-streaming waters
as a slaughtering of men, a flowing sea! (1502-08a)

Look, you are a rich gift, a giver of gold!
The King himself wrote upon you, the God of Glory,
the Creator of such might made known wordfully swift secrets,
and the true law signified in ten words. He gave it to Moses,
as the just held it afterwards, courageous young servants,
his kin, god-fearing men, Joshua and Tobias. (1508b-16)

“Now you can perceive how the King of Angels
has adorned you in former days more greatly
with gifts that any kind of gemstone.
Through his holy behest you shall swiftly reveal
if you have understood any of his words.” (1517-21)

There was then not a whit more delay in speech
when the stone sundered itself. Rushing water gushed out,
flowed over the earth. Foamy billows covered the ground
by early day, as the sea-flood increased.
A mead-service was made after the feast-day,
the armored men torn from their slumber.
Water seized the ground, disturbed the deep.
The multitude became terrified by fear of the flood.
Doomed they died, the young taken away by the ocean’s sortie,
by the salty waves. That was a sorrowful brewing,
a bitter beer-taking. The cup-bearers delayed not,
the attending servants. There was enough
drink immediately ready for all from the start of day. (1522-35)

The majesty of the flood increased. The men lamented,
the spear-bearers of old. It was their intention to flee away
from the fallow flood, wishing to save their lives,
seeking survival in earthen-caves, the support of high ground.
But an angel defended that place, who covered the city
then with a glittering flame, a fiery battle-tongue.
There was tempest within and a beating sea;
nor could the company of warriors survive by fleeing the fastness.
The waters swelled, the breakers crashed,
fiery sparks flew about, the deluge boiled with waves.
It was easy to find there within the city
those driven to sing their sorrows. Many fright-hearted people
signaled their grief and sang a death-song. (1536-49)

The terrifying holocaust was readily visible,
a dire devastation and its awful voice.
Dancing in the wind blasts of flame encircled the walls
and the flood continued to swell. Here was human wailing
heard widely, a wretched confusion of old men.
Then one began to gather the people;
a warrior destitute, abject, sad-minded—grieving he spoke: (1550-7)

“Now you can recognize the truth for yourselves,
that perversely we have clapped in chains that stranger
in the prison with agonizing bonds. Disaster has destroyed us,
severe and malice-cruel. That is readily apparent—
it is much better, as I account the truth,
that we release him from his bone-bonds, all of us together—
the sooner the better—and then beg the sainted one for help,
for succor and solace for ourselves. Peace after this sorrow will
be readily ours at once if we go to him now.” (1558-68)

Then this disposition in the people’s soul-close
became manifest to Andrew there where the strength
of the arrogant was humbled, the majesty of war-faring men.
The waters had enveloped it, the mountain-currents flowed over it,
the flood was hungry for it—until the swelling sea
had risen above a man’s breast, up to the shoulder.
Then the noble saint ordered the stream-course to be stilled,
the storms to sleep around the stone-hills. Keen and courage-hearted
Andrew stepped out, leaving the prison, wise-minded
and beloved by God. Immediately there was a path prepared for him,
cleared through the river-channel. That victory-field was peaceful—
it already was dry, the earth from the flood, wherever his foot stepped. (1569-82)

Then the city-dwellers became joyful at heart, spirit-gladdened,
when comfort after calamity arrived. The ocean subsided
through holy behest, the storm gave ear, the sea-road waited.
Next the mountain yawned open, a terrifying crack into the earth,
and the flood was allowed to be engulfed therein, the fallow waves.
The wounded earth swallowed all of the welling sea.
Andrew sent not only the water there, but also fourteen guilty folk-harmers,
the worst among their nation. They were sent shaking into destruction
by the waves, beneath the abyss of earth. Then were many people timid-hearted,
fearful in spirit, in their tracks — they expected a slaughter
of women and men, a more wretched period of humiliating
circumstances, after the battle-players, stained
with evil and murder-guilty were cast beneath the earth. (1583-600)

Then they spoke, all of them single-minded:
“Now it is plain that the True Creator,
the King of All-Created Things, governs skillfully,
He that dispatched this messenger as help to our people.
There is much need for us to eagerly heed him,
a man chosen among men.” (1601-6)

 

X.

Then the sainted one began to gladden the heroes,
comforting the throng of warriors wordfully:
“Do not be too fearful, although ruin has chosen
the kindred of sinners. They have suffered
death and torments as they deserve —
For you is the dazzling light of glory
is revealed if you think rightly.” (1607-12)

Next he sent his prayer before the Child of God,
begging the Holy One to give help to the youthful men
who had recently given up their lives in the water,
through the flood’s embrace, so that those spirits—
starved of good, deprived of glory, who had perished in agony—
would not be ferried into the rule of the Enemy.
When that message was spoken graciously to the All-wielding God,
the Chief of Nations, according to the speeches of the sainted spirit,
then the Lord commanded all the young men to arise
uninjured from the dust, those whom the ocean had earlier killed. (1613-24)

When they stood up hastily, the many youthful sons,
there as a group, as I have heard, then all of them were united,
body and soul, even though they had swiftly laid down
their spirit through the flood’s fear. The Mermedonians
accepted baptism and a peace-bond, the patronage of the Creator,
that each would be pledged to Glory and
be made prosperous through their punishments. (1625-32a)

Then spirited Andrew, the King’s craftsman,
ordered them to build a church, to raise a temple to God
on that very spot where the youth were raised through
the Father’s baptism and where the flood burst forth.
Then the people gathered, far and wide, into a troop of men throughout
the wine-town, resolute nobles, and their wives among them.
They stated that they wished to follow faithfully,
promptly take on the bath of baptism, as pleases the Lord,
and forsake idolatry and the old idol-havens. (1632b-42)

Next, baptism was raised up among the people,
nobly among nobles, and God’s righteous law
and decree exalted in the land, among the city-dwellers,
and the church was consecrated. There the envoy of God
appointed one a learned man, wise of words, a bishop for those
people in that bright city, for the need of the nation, and confirmed him,
a man named Platan, before that mighty multitude
by his apostle-hood. Andrew boldly commanded them
to attend to Platan’s teaching eagerly and achieve their salvation. (1643-54a)

Andrew then declared his hastening intention,
that he wished to leave the gold-city then, the hall-joys of men
and the treasure-hoard, the bright bracelet-houses,
and wished to seek a ship for himself at the sea’s shore.
That was a hard fact for the host to endure—
that the first of their nation wished to remain no whit longer with them.
Then the God of Glory revealed himself, the Lord of Armies,
to Andrew on the journey-road, and spoke a word: (1654b-63)

“These folk, on account of their sins, their minds are eager,
but they go about groaning. They show their sorrow
to men and woman alike. Their wailing, their mourning spirit,
has come to my attention. You must not abandon your flock
in such new joys, but edify my name in them,
securely in their soul-closures. Shelter of warriors, dwell with them
in that wine-city, their treasure-laden halls, for a space of seven nights.
After that with my grace you may depart.” (1664-74)

Then Andrew returned one more time, high-spirited,
stout of power, seeking the city of Mermedonia.
The words and wisdom of these Christians had increased,
since they had laid eyes upon Glory’s thane, the messenger
of the Worthy-King. Then he taught those people the way of belief,
and strengthened them gloriously; the measureless host
of glory-blessed men that hoped for glory,
for the holy home of Heaven’s Realm, where the Father
and the Son and Comforting Spirit in Majestic Trinity
rule the Sublime Mansions in the World of All Worlds. (1675-86)

And so the holy man tore down the temples,
dispelled devil-worship and destroyed their errors.
That was a pain for Satan to endure—a great sorrow of mind,
that he saw that multitude, through Andrew’s gracious instruction,
turn heart-glad from their hell-houses to sweet joys,
where no Enemy or other fierce-minded spirit
will ever be found, walking by land. (1687-94)

Then were the count of days fulfilled according to the decree
of the Lord, as he had commanded that Andrew must dwell
in the weather-beaten city. Then he began to hasten himself
and get ready to sail, exulting in bliss. Andrew wished to betake
himself on a ship to Achaia a second time,
where he anticipated his soul-parting and battle-death—
That would be no laughing matter for his slayer,
instead the guilty hand, without friends, set himself
on a course into the jaws of Hell,
where there would be no comfort at all to enjoy. (1695-1705)

Then I have heard that a host of people, of mournful-hearted men,
conducted their beloved teacher to the stem of the ship.
In many there was an emotion welling hot about their hearts
when they brought the quick-purposed warrior
onto the wave-plank at the sea’s headland.
They stood then upon the land’s margin lamenting after him
while they could still see him, the joy of good men,
upon the waves, across the seal-path.
And then they honored the Possessor of Glory,
crying out in chorus, and speaking thus: (1706-16)

“Almighty God is alone among of all creation!
His might and his possession is celebrated,
blessed across Middle-Earth, and his reward shines
over all holy things in heavenly majesty,
beautiful in glory for the length of life,
eternal among angels —
That is a worthy king!” (1717-22)

 

— Explicit

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