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The Fall of Man. Translated from the Anglo

Saxon of Cædmon.

OST right it is to chant the ceaseless praise

Of Him who guards the starry heights of bliss
And ever, with enraptured hearts, adore
The Glory-King of Heaven's Angelic host.

In Him alone, the Lord Eternal, dwells
Might uncreated. He is Head supreme
Of all exalted creatures. He alone
Knew no beginning and shall have no end,
Holding for evermore Almighty sway
O'er Thrones and Principalities and Powers.


High in His Majesty, with Justice clothed,
Omnipotent to do His Sovereign will,
He ruled the Heavenly concaves, which at first,
By power divine, were stretched out far and wide
Throughout unbounded space, celestial Home
Of those who guard the spirits of the just.

Then, had the Angelic host triumphant joy
And in the light of God's eternal Throne

Found their one guerdon of allegiance.
20 Bright messengers were they of Heavenly love

Swift to perform God's will. In blissful mood
They praised the Lord of Life, or prostrate fell
In deepest adoration at the feet
Of Him who made them, their eternal King,
And in obedience found their highest joy.

No deadly sin or lurking, traitorous thought
Had dared assault their hearts ; in peace they lived
With their All-glorious Chief, and naught save Truth

And holy Rectitude upreared its head
30 Within the sacred battlements of Heaven

Till he, who lifted high above his peers,
The Guardian Angel of the Angelic tribes,
Fell through accursèd pride. Full many then,
Holding in light esteem celestial Love,
Forgat their highest Good. Presumptuous,
They thought to war against Almighty God
And erelong share, with High Omnipotence,
The unfading glory of that peaceful realm
Its sceptre, crown and bright seraphic throng.

40 Vain was their hope, delusive was their dream ;

For in the stead of rebel victory and princely power,
Hatred and pride and racking pain befell


The rebel host, and such a rancorous mind
As he possessed who first moved discontent
And horrid discord.

Then the Archangel spake,
His soul inflamed with dark, malicious thoughts :
“In the North part of God's sublime domain
Will I a kingdom found, a palace rear,
Such is my sovereign will."

Then was God wroth
With that rebellious host, whom at the first,
With Heavenly glory and Angelic mien
He had endowed. Forthwith, in ire, He formed
A place of banishment, an exile-house,
Filled with deep anguish and with hellish groans
And direful punishments; a fell retreat
For those who faithless proved to their high trust.


Deep was the torture-house and void of joys;
Home of perpetual Night, with sulphur charged,
With fire and cold intense, with lurid flame
And black Tartarean smoke. The cold, He bade,
And direful flames increase a thousand-fold
That by alternate tortures Hell itself
Might be henceforth doubly unbearable.

Then, through the rebel host could nought be heard
But horrid blasphemies and bitter cries
Against their righteous King, for taking thus

Grim retribution on His fallen foes ; 70 And in fierce raging mood each rebel sware

To wrest the Kingdom from Almighty God.

But when the Archangel's Sovereign high upreared
His mighty arm against that traitor band,
Their haughty boast deceived them, for the King
Sent terror in their hearts, and prone they fell
Powerless to fight. For in His wrath He bent
Their vengeful pride, stripped them of might and

And hoped-for triumph. Then as abject thralls,

Joyless and shorn of Heaven's effulgent crown, 80 They stood examples of presumptuous pride.

In purpose stern and with relentless hand
The Almighty strongly grasped and might have

And utterly destroyed His foe. In lieu
He seized the realms and stately palaces
Their hands had reared, and from His Kingdom

The faithless tribe and sent them wailing forth
Down the dark, steep, unutterable path
That leads to Hell. No longer might be heard

The scornful vaunt; for now their grandeur turned 90 To deepest infamy, their beauteous forms

By sin defaced, they urged their darksome way
To darker punishment. In torments dire

Accursed they dwelt. No longer did they raise
The loud derisive laugh; for ceaseless woe,
Deep racking pain, grief unassuageable
And hydra-headed torture, all around,
Enthroned in blackest darkness, mocked their cries;
Just retribution for the unholy war
They thought to wage against Almighty God.


Then, once again, there reigned celestial Peace
Within the walls and battlements of Heaven.
The Great Supreme, to all His servants dear,
Increased their joys, and blissful harmony,
Throughout the loyal hosts of Heaven's domain,
Held undisputed sway.

Strife, Fear and Hate,
Offspring of traitorous and unholy thought,
From Heaven expelled, found refuge in the dark
And joyless shades of God's great torture-house.
And now, that broad domain of Heaven's fair realm, 110
The fairest and most powerful to move
Rebellious lust, in lonely grandeur stood ;
Its palaces so richly wrought and fair,
Conceived and fashioned by rebellious skill,
Stood tenantless. Then thought the mighty God
How, once again, those bright Angelic seats
And beauteous realms, created by His will,
He might repeople with a better race

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