Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

There is something about the crux gemmata that has always captivated me.  The cross, this instrument of torture , has become for us the vehicle of salvation (and so much more)!  That's probably part of why the Anglo-Saxon poem Dream of the Rood has been a favorite of mine ever since I first discovered its existence in high school.  I reread it every year on today's feast.

     Listen! The choicest of visions I wish to tell,
     which came as a dream in middle-night,
     after voice-bearers lay at rest.
     It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
     born aloft, wound round by light,
     brightest of beams. All was that beacon
     sprinkled with gold. Gems stood
     fair at earth's corners; there likewise five
     shone on the shoulder-span. All there beheld the Angel of God,
     fair through predestiny. Indeed, that was no wicked one's gallows,
     but holy souls beheld it there,
     men over earth, and all this great creation.
     Wondrous that victory-beam--and I stained with sins,
     with wounds of disgrace. I saw glory's tree
     honored with trappings, shining with joys,
     decked with gold; gems had
     wrapped that forest tree worthily round...

That's just the preview.  Go read the whole thing for yourself; it's tiny for an epic poem, and entirely worth your while...

[Translation credit to Jonathan A. Glenn, University of Central Arkansas]

1 comment:

  1. Okay, love, I read it and now, I understand. :)


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