Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ENGLISH PROSE AND POETRY

TRANSLATIONS FROM OLD ENGLISH

BÆDA'S ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE

KING EDWIN'S COUNCIL

When the king had heard these words, he answered Paulinus that he both wished and ought to receive the faith which he preached; he said, however, that he would have a conference and council about it with his friends and counselors, so that if they would permit it, they might all together be hallowed to Christ in the fountain of life. The king did as he had said, and Paulinus consented.

Then he held a conference and council with the wise men and asked every one separately what he thought of the new doctrine and the divine worship that was preached. The chief of his own priests, Coifi, answered him: "O King, consider what this doctrine is which is now preached to us. I truly declare to you what I have learned for certain, that the religion which we have hitherto held and practised has absolutely no value or utility. For none of your thanes has applied himself more diligently or eagerly to the worship of our gods than I; and nevertheless there are many who have received greater favors and benefits from you than I, and have had greater prosperity in all things. Behold, I know that if our gods had any power they would help me more, for I have zealously served and obeyed them.

Therefore, if you regard these new doctrines
which are now preached to us as better and
more powerful, it seems to me advisable to
accept them."

To his words another councilor and leader
gave assent and began to speak, saying thus:
"To me, O King, the present life of man on
earth seems, in comparison with the time that
is unknown to us, as if you were sitting at a
feast with your chief men and thanes in the
winter time, and a fire was kindled and the
hall warmed, while outside it rained, and
snowed and stormed; and as if then there
came a sparrow, and swiftly flew through the
house, entering at one door and passing out
through another. Lo, as long as he is inside,
he is not touched by the winter's storm; but
that is the twinkling of an eye and the
briefest space, and he speeds from winter back
to winter again. So this life of man appears
for a little time; but what went before, or
what comes after, we know not. If therefore
this new doctrine brings anything more certain
and satisfactory, it is worth while that we
follow it."

With words like unto these spoke the other chieftains and councilors of the king.

THE POET CÆDMON

[blocks in formation]

in the heavenly life. And likewise many others after him among the English people began to compose religious poetry; but there was none who could equal him, for not at all by men or through man was he instructed that he learned the art of song, but he was divinely aided and received it as a gift from God. but And for this reason he never was able to compose any fictitious or frivolous poetry, only such as pertained to religion and was fitting for his pious tongue to sing.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »