Listen: we have learned both far and near,
across middle-earth of the fame of Moses,
of his wondrous word-laws for the generations of men—
in the high-heavens for all of the blessed
the relief of life after the death-journey,
enduring advice for all of the living—
spoken unto the heroes. Hear it who will! (1-7)
When in the desert, the Lord of Armies, the Truth-Fast King,
with his own might worthied Moses, and gave to him
many wonders into his possession, the Eternal All-Wielder.
He was dear to God, the Ruler of Tribes, daring
and prudent, the head of the host, their strong commander.
He bound the kindred of Pharaoh, the opponent of God,
by the afflictions of his staff. There the Sovereign of Victories
gave to the proud chief, the son of Abraham
the lives of his kinsmen and the habitation of a homeland. (8-18)
Lofty was the hand’s recompense and the Lord was gracious
to him, giving Moses the wielding of weapons against
the terrors of the wrathful, and he conquered on campaign
many tribes, the enemies’ autonomy.
Then was the first time that the God of Hosts spoke to him,
where he said many true and miraculous things to him,
how the Wise Lord wrought this world, the circle of the earth
and the heavens above, establishing his victorious kingdom,
and his own name, which the sons of men knew not before,
the aged kin of patriarchs, though they knew much. (19-29)
God had made them stronger with true craft and honored
the prince of that army, Pharoah’s foeman on the forth-ways.
Soon most of that multitude were swallowed up by death,
with [seven] ancient torments. For the fall of the first-born,
wailing was renewed, their hall-joys snuffed out,
bereaved of treasure. In the middle of the night
God had fiercely cut down his sinning enemies,
and many of their first-born, shattering the city-wards.
A killer glided about widely, a hateful folk-hater,
the land darkened with the corpses of the dead—
the warriors fared forth, wailing was wide, light of worldly joys. (30-42)
The hands of the laughter-smiths were locked down,
those grieving people were given leave to make a hateful journey,
a traveling folk. The Fiend was bereaved, the hosts in Hell.
Lamentation had come to that place, devil-worship had fallen.
The day was famous throughout middle-earth when that multitude
ventured forth. So the Egyptian people suffered
for many years, old-accursed with imprisonment
because they thought to deny forever the people of Moses,
if the Measurer allowed them, their much-desired journey. (43-53)
The Hebrew army was ready, and bold was he who led them,
the proud kin-leader of their sheltering tribe.
He passed over with his people a great number
of remote places, the lands and provinces of hateful men,
the narrow lone-paths and unknown roads,
until they bore their gear to the battle-marchers—
their lands were blanketed in a helmet of clouds—
their swampy distant homes. Moses led the army
across the many perils confronting them. (54-62a)
Moses ordered about two nights later, the glorious warrior,
after they had flown from these enemies,
from the clangor of the army, his army to surround
the city of Etham, the greatest force in the marchlands.
Constraint compelled them to the northern ways;
they knew that to the south were the heights
burned by the heated heaven-coal, the Ethiopians’ land,
a brown people. There Holy God shielded the people
against the fearful heat by a cloud overspreading
the burning heaven, the scorching sky with a holy pall. (63-74)
A weather-cloud had parted evenly the earth
and heaven with its broad embrace, leading the people
and dowsing the flames, heaven-bright and hot.
The heroes wondered, the most exultant of troops.
The shelter of the day-shade wound across the sky;
wise God had covered over the journey of the sun
with a sail, so that men did not know the mast-ropes,
nor could that sail-yard be seen by all the craft
of earth-dwellers, or how the best of tents was fixed,
after he had worthied with glory the prince-loyal. (75-87a)
Then was that third camp a comfort to the people.
The whole army saw how the holy sails rose there,
a lighted sky-miracle. The people understood,
the Israelite multitude, that their Lord was come there,
the Lord of Hosts, to mark out their place of camp.
Fire and cloud came before them in bright sky, two beams
either of them shared evenly in the high service of the Holy Spirit,
the path of the brave-minded by day and by night. (87b-97)
Then, as I have heard, in the morning those strong in heart
heaved up war-trumpets with loud voices, a glorious crash.
The entire army rose, that valiant force, the people of the Measurer,
as Moses commanded them, the famous chieftain,
an eager army-troop. They saw before them what the Leader of Life
had marked out their the way of survival; that sail
controlled their destination, the sailors followed
after the flood-way. The people were rejoicing,
the noise of the army loud. (98-107a)
Heaven’s beacon climbed every evening, a second miracle,
it held fast wondrous after the sun’s setting,
shining with flames across that nation,
a burning beam. Glittering it stood over the archers,
with blazing limbs. The shelter of their shields shone,
the shadows dissolving, the deepest night-shades nearby
could not conceal their hiding places. The heavenly candle burned. (107b-115)
This new night-warden must by necessity remain over the army,
lest the desert-horror, the hoar heath-terror should end
their lives with a fearful seizure of a sea’s storms.
This scout had fiery hair, blazing beams—it threatened
the terror of fire in that army-troop, a hot flame,
so that he would consume the army in the wilderness,
unless they heeded to brave-hearted Moses.
The shining army shimmered, the shields glittered,
the shield-warriors saw the righteous way, the sign
above the masses, until the sea-fortress at the end
of land stood against the people’s force, eager on the forth-way.
The battle-camp arose; the wearied revived themselves,
meat-thanes brought food to the proud ones, restoring
their power. The sailors spread out their tents across the hills
after the trumpets sang. That was the fourth camp,
the resting-place for the shield-warriors beside the Red Sea. (116-34)
There in their masses, a fearful message was come,
pursuit from inland. Fright stood tall, slaughter-terror of the army.
The exile expected the hateful pursuer, who had long before
assigned them homeless oppression, woe affixed in torments.
They reckoned not the pledges, although before their king of old… (135-141)
for the men after their treasures, so that he received so much.
The kindred of Egypt forgot all of this after they became cruel
without hesitation. So then they made murder upon his kin-friends,
brought about crimes, devouring their compacts.
There were battle-waves banded about their hearts,
the strong-minded men. With evil troth they wished to repay
life’s reward with wickedness, so that they would purchase
their day’s work with blood, with the people of Moses,
wherever Mighty God had given them success on that fatal journey. (142-53)
Then the heart of the earls became distrusting of them
after they had seen the horde of Pharaoh moving forth
from the south-ways, carrying boar-spears, their cavalry shining—
their pikes arrayed, approaching battle, the cover of their shields
shining, their trumpets singing—their standards were raised,
treading the borders of their tribe up to the whale-road… (154-61)
The battle-birds screamed out, greedy for carnage, dewy-feathered
over the fallen soldiers, the dark ravens. Wolves sang
a terrible evening-song, hopeful for food, the reckless beasts,
awaiting scavenger-brave the fall of the people’s power
on that hateful trail. The border-guards screamed out in the middle
of the night, their fated spirit flew: the people were troubled. (162-69)
Sometimes from that army proud thanes cross the mile-paths
upon the backs of their horses. There in front of the border-army
the banner-king, the prince of men rode against the banners.
The battle-warden of men fastened his grim helmet,
the king clasped his chin-guard, his standard shining,
in the hopes for war, rattling his slaughter-links,
and ordering his vanguard to eagerly hold his troopers fast.
His allies witnessed with hateful eyes the coming of the land-men.
About Pharaoh warriors unafraid moved, grey killing-wolves
seeking warfare, thirsty for violence and the lord-faithful. (170-82)
He had chosen from the multitude of people two thousand
of the glory-blessed for himself, so that there were kings
and their kinsmen, in the customs of that common wealth,
dear to the noblemen. Therefore each led out all of his male
warriors of which he could find in that space of time. (183-89)
There were native warriors all together, kings in a collection.
The familiar horn in a band often commanded which way
the young warriors, the war-troop of men, should bear their arms.
So there the dark army, leading their reinforcements,
hateful man after hateful man, a plurality of the people’s power,
were hurrying to that place by their thousands.
They had resolved, in their strengthened bands
at the dawning of the day, to destroy with swords
the kindred of Israel in repayment for their fallen brothers. (190-99)
Therefore a howl was heaved up in the camps,
a terrible evening-song and terror standing tall,
their slaughter-nets hindered those that the clamor came upon.
The terrible news put them to flight: their enemy was resolute,
the army was war-bright, until a mighty angel
headed the proud off, one who guarded the many,
so that their gathered enemies could not see each other
there for long—their ways were sundered.
The exiles had the space of a night, even though on every side
their enemies lay in wait for them, the hostile forces
and the sea-stream. They had no other way to escape. (200-10)
The Israelites were despairing of their homeland,
they sat upon the mountains in their black garments,
the watchers expecting only woe in their hopes,
that entire kindred host gathered together waiting for
the great force of war, until Moses ordered
his earls with brazen trumpets in the early dawn
to gather up their people and arise with their warriors,
keeping their mail-corselets, thinking on courage,
bearing their bright armor, calling out with beacons
to the forces nearer to the shore. The wardens obeyed
his war-cry quickly, the army was prepared,
moving out over the hills, having heard the trumpets,
the sailors from their tents: the army was in haste. (211-23)
Afterwards they counted themselves against the hated
in the vanguard, twelve bold companies of mindful men—
their forces were aroused. There was in any one of them
fifty squadrons of noble men selected under shields
from the people’s multitude, the count of the tribe,
and each squadron of the familiar army had ten hundred
spear-bearing, war-making, glory-blessed men.
That was a warlike army. That army’s commanders
did not seek after the weak for that cavalcade of warriors,
those who for their youth could not yet defend
with their hands their breast-nets against hostile arrows
under their shields nor those who had endured grievous injuries
over the rims of their shield, the pain of bodily injury,
in the boastful play of spears. Grey-haired old men
were not able to prosper in battle among these war-men,
if their strength in the bold troop had diminished,
yet they were chosen by the fruits of warfare,
how they wished to fare among their people,
their pride amid honors, and how their mighty skill
took up the grip of the spear-shaft. (224-46)
Then was the army of hand-eager men gathered,
ready for the forth-ways. Their standard rode high,
brightest of trees. They all still waited until
the journey-herald near to the sea-streams
broke through the clouds, light over their shields. (247-251)
The war-caller then leapt forward for the warriors,
a bold battle-proclaimer, heaving up his shield,
ordering that folk-general then to still his army
while the many could hear the speech of the prideful.
The warden of the realm wished to speak
across the chosen troop in a holy voice,
the wiseman of the host worth-minded spoke: (252-58)
“Do not become more frightened for this, though Pharaoh
has brought a broad army of sword-warriors,
uncountable earls. The Mighty Lord wishes to bestow
upon all of them through my hand upon this day
reward for their deeds, so that they while living will not
be allowed to enslave with miseries the kindred of Israel
for long! Nor will you dread this slaughtered host,
their fated spirit-boxes! Their time is at an end,
their loaned lives! The teaching of God shall be yours,
unsheathed from your breast! So that you might worthy
the Lord of Glory in a better way, I ask for you the grace
of the Lord of Life for the success of victory wherever
you might voyage. This is the Eternal God of Abraham,
the Founder of First-Creation, who protects this host,
mindful and eager for power, with his mighty hand!” (259-75)
Then Moses lifted his loud voice for his army, the living
people when he spoke to them: “Listen! Now look upon this,
dearest of peoples, with your eyes, a certain fearful miracle,
how I myself shall smite the deeps of the spear-waves
with the green token in my strong right hand.
The surges pile high, working the waters with haste
into a rampart. The waves are dry, the silver army-street,
the sea is opened, the old foundations, which I have never
before heard men across middle-earth could traverse,
the mottled fields which the waves will cover forth from here
into eternal seasons, given to the ocean’s floor.
The south wind seizes the blast of the bath-ways,
the salt water is stretched back, the sea-tow spews sand.
I know truly and very well that Mighty God has revealed
his mercy to you all, earls happy as in days of old.
Haste is the best, that you get into the deeps away from your foes
now that the Owner has reared up the red streams into
sheltering shields! These fore-walls have been beautifully built,
a pleasant wave-passage up to the roof of the sky!” (276-98)
After these words the entire army stood up, the might of the mindful.
The sea waited quietly. The chosen of war heaved up white shields,
their standards upon the sand. The sea-wall mounted overhead,
it stood upright against the Israelites the space of one day.
The company of earls was of one resolve, keeping their covenant
in the fixed depths. Not at all did they question the teaching
of holy Moses—afterwards a harmony of beloved intonation
was heard nearer as the voices subsided and the cacophony of songs. (299-309)
Then the fourth tribe went first, wading across the wave-stream,
warriors in a group over the green ground, a Jewish troop
hastening upon the unfamiliar paths before their kinsmen.
So Mighty God paid a profound price for his day-works,
after he granted them the glory of victory-deeds,
so that they must possess authority over the kingdoms
to come, the first-fruits of their kinsmen. (310-18)
They had raised over their shield-covers a beacon
as their symbol, a golden lion, boldest of the beasts,
when the greatest of the assembled host
crossed the sea in a crowd of spears.
By that leading standard, they pronounced that
they wished to no longer endure humiliation
by any peoples while they were living when they reared
their spear-wood to combat. The surge was at their head,
the harshest of hand-play, the mindful warriors,
the slaughtering blows and soldiers unafraid,
bloody swathes of swords and the onslaught of battle-power,
and the clashing of war-masks wherever Judah ventured. (319-30)
After that force boldly followed that sailor, the son of Reuben.
The sea-reavers bore their shields across the salty marsh,
a multitude of men. A great host went forth unafraid.
He had destroyed his preeminent authority with sinful deeds
so that he had to proceed later in the trail of his loved ones.
His own brother had taken away his right of the first-born,
wealth and honor’s rank among that nation.
He was ready to march nonetheless. (331-39)
Forwards after him there in a mighty band of the people
came the son of Simeon, the third battalion pressed ahead
among the battle-chosen, bedewed of spear-shafts,
their standards moving across the spear-ranks.
The rush of dawn arrived over the pointed waves,
that certain beacon of God, the morning famous-bright.
The company departed forth. (340-46)
Next one army of the people followed after another,
in iron-clad companies. One greatest in military might
directed them on the forth-ways, and for that he became famous,
each tribe following the heavens, kindred after kindred.
Each one knew the rights of their lineage, just as Moses
commanded them, the rank of the earls. One patriarch
had they all, a beloved source to the people,
and he had received the land-rights, wise in his soul,
dear to his free kin. He had conceived this nation of keen men,
this certain high-father, this holy people, the kindred of Israel,
deserving of God, so do old men relate with skilled thought,
those who, greatest of their generation, inquired into the origin of men,
each one into their ancestry…(347-61)
Noah traveled new oceans, a glory-fast prince with his three sons,
the deepest drench-floods which ever happened in this worldly realm.
He kept a holy troth in his breast, therefore he was led out
over the sea-streams, the greatest of treasure-hoards, as I have heard.
For the world’s life-saving that wise sea-farer held
the long-lasting survivors of every earthly kindred,
of each originary generation, the father and the mother
of all child-producing stock, more diversity reckoned by count
than men know today. Also these warriors carried every seed
in the bosom of the ship which these heroes used under the heavens. (362-76)
So these things wise men wordfully have said that
ninth from Noah, the father of Abraham in the people’s count.
This is the Abraham for whom the God of Angels fashioned a new name.
Also near and far he commended the holy bands into his keeping,
the wielding of human tribes. He lived in exile. (377-83)
Afterwards he conducted the dearest of lives by holy behest.
They mounted the highlands, peaceable kinsmen, the slopes of Zion.
Thee they found the covenant and witnessed its glory,
the holy high-troth, as men have observed. There also the wise son of David,
the glory-fast king with wise teaching built up the temple of God,
the holy fane, worked with his own hands, the wisest of the earth-kings
in this worldly realm, the most lofty and holiest,
most famous among men, the greatest and the most renowned
of all the sons of men, all the humans across the world. (384-96)
Unto that place of meeting Abraham led his son Isaac.
The pyre-flames were kindled. The first soul-killer was no more
death-doomed for that. He did not want to give his heir to the flame,
the best of men into blazing fire his own son as a victory-sacrifice,
his only heritage upon the earth, the comfort of his life.
Then he experienced such lengthy joy from that moment,
a legacy to men. It was revealed to him, when he had seized
that boy, fast with his hands and drew his widely renowned
old heirloom—its blade resounded—he considered the life-days
of his son no more precious to him than obeying the Heaven-King.
Up then arose Abraham. The earl wished to slay his own heir
ungrown, his son with his sword’s red blade, if the Measurer allowed him.
Nor did the Bright Father want for him to kill the child,
the holy sacrifice, but grabbed him with his hands.
Then came a voice restraining him from heaven,
a glorious sound, speaking these words after: (397-418)
“Do not strike your own child, Abraham, your son with your sword!
The truth is revealed, now the King of All Creatures has tested you,
that you would hold your pledge with your Sovereign, your fixed troth,
that goodwill for you must be honored the longest in your life-days,
ever loyal forever. How could the son of man need a greater pledge?
Nor could heaven and earth cover over his glorious word—
it is wider and broader than the corners of the earth can enfold,
the circuit of the world and the heavens above,
the vastness of the spear-waves and the sorrowing breeze. (419-31)
“He swears an oath, the Prince of Angels, the Wielder of the World’s Way,
and the God of Hosts, soothfast in victories, through his own life,
that men upon the earth shall not know the count of your kindred
and descendants, these shield-warriors, for all their craft to speak
in truthful words, unless anyone of the wise become in their mind
so that he alone could count all the stones of the earth, the stars
in the heavens, the sand in the sea-cliffs, the salt in the waves.
Yet they, your people, shall occupy between the two seas
up to the dwellers of Egypt, the land of Canaan,
the free children of the father, the best of people.” (432-46)
[Section missing in the Junius Manuscript]
The folk were affrighted, the flood-terror descended
upon their sorrowful souls; the ocean threatened death.
The mountainous slopes were steaming with blood,
the sea spewed gore, a tumult was in the waves,
the water full of weapons, a slaughtering fume arising.
The Egyptians were soon turned back, flying fearful,
experiencing terror, wishing cravenly to find home again,
their boasts became less boastful. Against them it grew dark.
the surging rolls terrible, nor would any of the army there
return home, but bad fortune clasped them in from behind
with waves. Where before the ways were laid out,
the sea raged and the battalions were drenched.
The currents stood up, a storm mounted up
high to the heavens, the greatest army-cry. (447-61)
The hateful ones cried out, the breeze blew darkly
with the fated voices, the waters churned with blood.
The shield-walls were broken, the skies lashed
the greatest of sea-deaths, killing the prideful,
the kings in their assembly, their clamor decreased
at the end of the sea. War-boards glittered
high over the heroes, the ocean-wall rose,
a proud sea-stream. The army was firmly fastened in death,
the way of the vanguard cruelly bound, the sand awaited
the ordained events, when the course of waves,
the ever-cold sea accustomed to veering their direction,
the naked bringer of doom came to seek out the everlasting
foundations with its salty surgings, the mottled spirit of war
who had overwhelmed its enemies. (462-76)
The blue sky was blended with gore, the bursting sea
menaced with blood-terror, the course of the sea-farers,
until the True Measurer manifested his mind
through Moses’ mindful hand. It hunted widely,
rushing with its slaughtering embrace.
The floodwaters seethed, the fated fell down dead.
The sea fell down upon the land, the breeze was churning,
the ramparts were giving way, the waves bursting,
the sea-towers melting away, when the Mighty,
the Warden of Heaven’s Kingdom with his holy hand
of the pledge-pillar, struck down upon the proud nation.
Nor could they restrain the path of the helpers,
the mind of the sea-currents, but he destroyed many of them
with shrieking horror. The spear-waves raged,
they drew themselves up, gliding on. The terrors stood
the deadly bands boiled. The hand-work of God
fell upon the battle-path, high from heaven,
the foamy-bosomed flood-guard struck the unsheltering wave
with his ancient sword so with that death-blow
the army was killed, the sinful companies. (477-97a)
They were parted from their souls, surrounded and transfixed,
the flood-blanched host after they had bowed
to the sea’s expanse, the greatest of the moody waves.
Their power perished entirely when the army of Egypt
was drowned, the Pharaoh with his people. He swiftly
discovered, after the adversary of God reached the bottom,
that the Warden of the Sea-Floods was more mighty;
that he wished to decide the battle with gory embracings,
angry and terror-filled. For the Egyptians it happened
that the retribution of that day’s work was too deep,
because none of that whole measureless army
came home again as survivors, who would be
allowed to tell the tale of their final journey,
and announce the worst of news through the cities,
the death of the hoard-watchers, to those heroes’ women,
but a sea-death had swallowed up those mighty troops,
and their heralds as well. He who owned the victory
poured forth those men’s boasting. They had struggled against God! (497b-515)
Then he spoke to the Israelites an everlasting counsel
and a deep message on the seashore, Moses that illustrious man,
with holy speech. This day’s work is related,
as people still find in the scriptures, to each of the ordinances,
that the Lord had commanded them to do upon their journey
in the truest words, if the interpreter of life wishes to unlock,
bright in the breast the guardian of the bone-house
that plenty of good with the keys of the spirit. (516-25)
The mystery is explained and wisdom shall go forth:
it keeps wise words in its embrace and earnestly wishes
to teach our minds so that we may not be deprived
the partnership with God, the mercy of the Measurer.
He may grant us more now that scholars can speak
of better, more long-lasting life-pleasures. Here is a borrowed joy,
corrupted by sins, granted only to exiles, the hope of wretches.
Homeless and sorrowing we hold a hall of visitors,
mourning in our minds, knowing this wicked house
firmly under the earth where is fire and the worm,
a grave perpetually open of every evil, so now
reigning thieves dole out their power, age or an early death.
The Final Judgment is coming, the greatest majesty over middle-earth,
a day flecked with deeds. The Lord Himself shall judge many
in that place of meeting when he conducts the soothfast souls,
the blessed spirits into the heights of heaven where is light and life,
as well as the fruits of grace. The multitude in mirth
shall praise the Lord, the Glory-King of Armies, for ever and ever. (526-48)
So spoke the mildest of men, mindful of counsel, mightied by powers,
in a loud voice. The stilled army awaited the will of the ordained—
they recognized the miracle, the healing word of the proud.
Moses spoke to the many: “Great is this multitude,
strong is their leader, the greatest of help who leads this voyage.
He has granted us the folk of Canaan, their cities and treasures,
a broad kingdom. He wishes now to accomplish what he promised
us long ago with an oath-swearing, the Lord of Angels,
in the days of yore, to the kindred of our forefathers
if you will hold fast to the holy teachings
so that you will overwhelm every one of your enemies,
occupying that victorious realm between the two seas,
the beer-halls of warriors. Your profit shall be great!” (549-64)
After these words the army was elated, their victory-trumpets
singing out in a fair voice, their banners standing tall.
The people were on land. A tree of glory had conducted the host,
the holy heaps, into the keeping of God. They rejoiced
when they had been brought away their lives from the power
of their enemies, though they had boldly risked it,
men under the watery roofs. They witnessed there the walls
standing, all the ocean seemed bloody to them, through which
they had borne their battle-gear. They exulted with a war-song,
after they had escaped that army. The battalions heaved with a loud voice,
praising the Lord for those deed-works, men singing of glory,
the women among the others—the greatest folk-band sang
a marching song upon the many wonders in an awed voice. (565-79)
It was then easy to find an African woman on the ocean shore
worthied with gold. Their hands heaving up a necklace,
they were blithe, seeing their reward, possessing the war-booty—
their captivity was broken. The sea-surviving began to dole out
among the tribes on the shore the ancient treasures, spoils and shields.
She divided up the gold and good cloth by rights, Joseph’s riches,
the glory-possessions of men. Their keepers lay in the death-field,
the greatest band of people— (580-90)