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Produced by Douglas B. Killings. HTML version by Al Haines.

Codex Junius 11

(Author unknown)

This file contains translations from the Anglo-Saxon of the
following works: "Genesis A", "Genesis B", "Exodus", "Daniel",
and "Christ and Satan". All are works found in the manuscript of
Anglo-Saxon verse known as "Junius 11."

These works were originally written in Anglo-Saxon, sometime
between the 7th and 10th Centuries A.D. Although sometimes
ascribed to the poet Caedmon (fl. late 7th Century), it is
generally thought that these poems do not represent the work of
one single poet.


Other Translations -

Bradley, S.A.J.: "Anglo-Saxon Poetry" (Everyman Press, London,

Critical Editions -

Doane, A.N. (ed.): "Genesis A: A New Critical Edition"
(University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1978)

Doane, A.N. (ed.): "The Saxon Genesis: An Edition of the West
Saxon Genesis B and the Old Saxon Vatican Genesis" (University of
Wisconsin Press, Madison, 1991)

Dobbie, Elliot VanKirk (ed.): "The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records,
vol. I - The Junius Manuscript" (Columbia University Press, New
York, 1937)

Farrell, R.T. (ed.): "Daniel and Azarias" (Methuen & Co. Ltd.,
London, 1974)

Tolkein, J.R.R. (ed.): "The Old English Exodus" (Oxford
University Press, Oxford, 1981)

GENESIS (Genesis A & B)

NOTE: This work is generally believed to be a composite of two
separate poems, usually referred to as "Genesis A" (or "The
Earlier Genesis") and "Genesis B" (or "The Later Genesis").
"Genesis A" is the work at lines #1-234 and #852-2935; "Genesis
B" is interpolated into "Genesis A" at lines #235-851.

The reason for this interpolation is not known. Perhaps the
original compiler preferred the version of the story presented in
"Genesis B", or perhaps the text of "Genesis A" from which he was
working with was missing this section. Adding to this confusion
is evidence that "Genesis B" appears to be a translation from an
earlier and separate Old Saxon retelling of the biblical "Book of
Genesis", a fragment of which (corresponding to lines #791-817 of
"Genesis B") survives.

"Genesis", like the other poems of "Codex Junius 11", is not a
direct translation into Anglo-Saxon of the Old Testament "Book of
Genesis". Rather, it is an effort to retell the story in the
poetry and style of the Germanic Epic, a style still popular with
the Anglo-Saxons at the time "Junius 11" was compiled.




Genesis (I-IV)
Genesis B (IV-XIV)
Exodus (XLII-XLIX)
Daniel (L-LV)


Christ and Satan (I-VII)
The Harrowing of Hell (VIII-XII)
The Temptation



(ll. 1-28) Right is it that we praise the King of heaven, the
Lord of hosts, and love Him with all our hearts. For He is great
in power, the Source of all created things, the Lord Almighty.
Never hath He known beginning, neither cometh an end of His
eternal glory. Ever in majesty He reigneth over celestial
thrones; in righteousness and strength He keepeth the courts of
heaven which were established, broad and ample, by the might of
God, for angel dwellers, wardens of the soul. The angel legions
knew the blessedness of God, celestial joy and bliss. Great was
their glory! The mighty spirits magnified their Prince and sang
His praise with gladness, serving the Lord of life, exceeding
blessed in His splendour. They knew no sin nor any evil; but
dwelt in peace for ever with their Lord. They wrought no deed in
heaven save right and truth, until the angel prince in pride
walked in the ways of error. Then no longer would they work
their own advantage, but turned away from the love of God. They
boasted greatly, in their banded strength, that they could share
with God His glorious dwelling, spacious and heavenly bright.

(ll. 28-46) Then sorrow came upon them, envy and insolence and
pride of the angel who first began that deed of folly, to plot
and hatch it forth, and, thirsting for battle, boasted that in
the northern borders of heaven he would establish a throne and a
kingdom. Then was God angered and wrathful against that host
which He had crowned before with radiance and glory. For the
traitors, to reward their work, He shaped a house of pain and
grim affliction, and lamentations of hell. Our Lord prepared
this torture-house of exiles, deep and joyless, for the coming of
the angel hosts. Well He knew it lay enshrouded in eternal night,
and filled with woe, wrapped in fire and piercing cold,
smoke-veils and ruddy flame. And over that wretched realm He
spread the brooding terror of torment. They had wrought grievous
wrong together against God. Grim the reward they gained!

(ll. 47-77) Fierce of heart, they boasted they would take the
kingdom, and easily. But their hope failed them when the Lord,
High King of heaven, lifted His hand against their host. The
erring spirits, in their sin, might not prevail against the Lord,
but God, the Mighty, in His wrath, smote their insolence and
broke their pride, bereft these impious souls of victory and
power and dominion and glory; despoiled His foes of bliss and
peace and joy and radiant grace, and mightily avenged His wrath
upon them to their destruction. His heart was hardened against
them; with heavy hand He crushed His foes, subdued them to His
will, and, in His wrath, drove out the rebels from their ancient
home and seats of glory. Our Lord expelled and banished out of
heaven the presumptuous angel host. All-wielding God dismissed
the faithless horde, a hostile band of woeful spirits, upon a
long, long journey. Crushed was their pride, their boasting
humbled, their power broken, their glory dimmed. Thenceforth
those dusky spirits dwelt in exile. No cause had they to laugh
aloud, but, racked with pangs of hell, they suffered pain and woe
and tribulation, cloaked with darkness, knowing bitter anguish, a
grim requital, because they sought to strive with God.

(ll. 78-81) Then was there calm as formerly in heaven, the kindly
ways of peace. The Lord was dear to all, a Prince among His
thanes, and glory was renewed of angel legions knowing blessedness
with God.


(ll. 82-91) The citizens of heaven, the home of glory, dwelt
again in concord. Strife was at an end among the angels, discord
and dissension, when those warring spirits, shorn of light, were
hurled from heaven. Behind them stretching wide their mansions
lay, crowned with glory, prospering in grace in God's dominion, a
sunny, fruitful land, empty of dwellers, when the accursed
spirits reached their place of exile within Hell's prison-walls.

(ll. 92-102) Then our Lord took counsel in the thoughts of His
heart how He might people, with a better host, the great
creation, the native seats and gleaming mansions, high in heaven,
wherefrom these boastful foes had got them forth. Therefore with
mighty power Holy God ordained, beneath the arching heavens, that
earth and sky and the far-bounded sea should be established,
earth-creatures in the stead of those rebellious foes whom He had
cast from heaven.

(ll. 103-119) As yet was nought save shadows of darkness; the
spacious earth lay hidden, deep and dim, alien to God, unpeopled
and unused. Thereon the Steadfast King looked down and beheld
it, a place empty of joy. He saw dim chaos hanging in eternal
night, obscure beneath the heavens, desolate and dark, until this
world was fashioned by the word of the King of glory. Here first
with mighty power the Everlasting Lord, the Helm of all created
things, Almighty King, made earth and heaven, raised up the sky
and founded the spacious land. The earth was not yet green with
grass; the dark waves of the sea flowed over it, and midnight
darkness was upon it, far and wide.

(ll. 119-134) Then in radiant glory God's holy spirit moved upon
the waters with wondrous might. The Lord of angels, Giver of
life, bade light shine forth upon the spacious earth. Swiftly
was God's word fulfilled; holy light gleamed forth across the
waste at the Creator's bidding. Over the seas the Lord of
victory divided light from darkness, shadow from radiant light.
The Lord of life gave both a name. By the word of God the
gleaming light was first called day. And in the beginning of
creation was God well pleased. The first day saw the dark and
brooding shadows vanish throughout the spacious earth.


(ll. 135-143) The day departed, hasting over the dwellings of
earth. And after the gleaming light the Lord, our maker, thrust
on the first of evenings. Murky gloom pressed hard upon the
heels of day; God called it night. Our Lord sundered them, one
from the other; and ever since they follow out the will of God to
do it on the earth.

(ll. 143-153) Then came a second day, light after darkness. And
the Lord of life ordained a pleasant firmament amid the waters.
Our Lord sundered the seas and established the heavens. By His
word the King, Almighty God, raised them above the earth. The
waters were divided under the heavens by His holy might; the
waters were sundered from the waters, under the firmament.

(ll. 154-168) Then came hasting over the earth the third fair
morning. Not yet were the wide ways and spacious tracts useful
unto God, but the land lay covered by the deep. The Lord of
angels, by His word, commanded that the waters come together,
which now beneath the heavens hold their course and place
ordained. Then suddenly, wide-stretching under heaven, lay the
sea, as God gave bidding. The great deep was sundered from the
land. The Warden of life, the Lord of hosts, beheld the dry
ground far outspread. And the King of glory called it earth.
For the ocean-billows and the wide-flung sea He set a lawful path
and lettered them....

((LACUNA - two to three leaves missing))


(ll. 169-191) ....It did not seem good to the Lord of heaven that
Adam should longer be alone as warden and keeper of this new
Paradise. Wherefore the King, Almighty God, wrought him an
helpmeet; the Author of life made woman and brought her unto the
man whom He loved. He took the stuff of Adam's body, and
secretly drew forth a rib from his side. He was fast asleep in
peaceful slumber; he knew no pain nor any pang; there came no
blood from out the wound, but the Lord of angels drew forth from
his body a growing rib, and the man was unhurt. Of this God
fashioned a lovely maid, breathing into her life and an eternal
soul. They were like unto the angels. The bride of Adam was a
living spirit. By God's might both were born into the world in
the loveliness of youth. They knew no sin nor any evil, but in
the hearts of both there burned the love of God.

(ll. 192-195) Then the Gracious King, Lord of all human kind,
blessed these two, male and female, man and wife, and spake this

(ll. 196-205) "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the green earth
with your seed and increase, sons and daughters. And ye shall
have dominion over the salt sea, and over all the world. Enjoy
the riches of earth, the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the
air. To you is given power over the herds which I have hallowed,
and the wild beasts, and over all living things that move upon
the earth; all living things, which the depths bring forth
throughout the sea, shall be subject unto you."

((LACUNA - One or more leaves missing))

(ll. 206-234) And our Lord beheld the beauty of His works and the
abundance of all fruits of this new creation: Paradise lay
pleasant and inviting, filled with goodly store and endless
blessings. Bountifully a running stream, a welling spring,
watered that pleasant land. Not yet did clouds, dark with wind,
carry the rains across the spacious earth; nathless the land lay
decked with increase. Out from this new Paradise four pleasant
brooks of water flowed. All were divisions of one beauteous
stream, sundered by the might of God when He made the earth, and
sent into the world. And one of these the mortal dwellers of
earth called Pison, which compasseth the land of Havilah about
with shining waters. And in that land, as books tell us, the
sons of men from far and near find out the best of gold and
precious gems. And the second floweth round about the land and
borders of the Ethiopians, a spacious kingdom. Its name is
Gihon. The third is Tigris, whose abundant stream lieth about
the limits of Assyria. Likewise also the fourth, which now
through many a folk-land men call Euphrates....

((LACUNA - At least one, possibly two, leaves missing))

(Beginning of "Genesis B")


(ll. 235-236) "...Eat freely of the fruit of every other tree.
From that one tree refrain. Beware of its fruit. And ye shall
know no dearth of pleasant things."

(ll. 237-245) Eagerly they bowed them down before the King of
heaven, and gave Him thanks for all, for His teachings and
counsels. And He gave them that land to dwell in. Then the Holy
Lord, the Steadfast King, departed into heaven. And the
creatures of His hand abode together on the earth. They had no
whit of care to grieve them, but only to do the will of God for
ever. Dear were they unto God as long as they would keep His
holy word.


(ll. 246-260) The Holy Lord, All-wielding God, with mighty hand
had wrought ten angel-orders in whom He trusted well, that they
would do Him service, and work His will. Therefore God gave them
reason, with His own hands shaped them, and stablished them in
bliss. But one He made so great and strong of heart, He let him
wield such power in heaven next unto God, so radiant-hued He
wrought him, so fair his form in heaven which God had given, that
he was like unto the shining stars. He should have sung his
Maker's praise, and prized his bliss in heaven. He should have
thanked his Lord for the great boon He showered on him in the
heavenly light, and let him long enjoy. But he turned him to a
worse thing, and strove to stir up strife against the Highest
Lord of heaven, who sitteth on the throne of glory.

(ll. 261-276) Dear was he to our Lord. Nor could it long be hid
from God that pride was growing in His angel's heart. He set
himself against his Leader, scoffed at God with boasting, and
would not serve Him. He said his form was beautiful and bright,
gleaming and fair of hue. Nor could he find it in his heart to
serve the Lord God, or be subject to Him. It seemed to him that
he had greater strength and larger following than Holy God might
have. Many words the angel spake in his presumption. By his own
power alone he thought to build a stronger throne and mightier in
heaven. He said his heart was urging him to toil, to build a
stately palace in the north and west. He said he doubted in his
heart if he would still be subject unto God:

(ll. 277-291) "Why should I slave?" quoth he. "I need not serve a
master. My hands are strong to work full many a wonder. Power
enough have I to rear a goodlier throne, a higher in the heavens.
Why should I fawn for His favour, or yield Him such submission?
I may be God as well as He! Brave comrades stand about me;
stout-hearted heroes who will not fail me in the fray. These
valiant souls have chosen me their lord. With such peers one may
ponder counsel, and gain a following. Devoted are these friends
and faithful-hearted; and I may be their lord and rule this
realm. It seemeth no wise right to me that I should cringe a
whit to God for any good. I will not serve Him longer."

(ll. 292-298) Now when God had heard all this, how His angel was
beginning to make presumptuous head against his Leader, speaking
rash words of insolence against his Lord, needs must he make
atonement for that deed, endure the woe of strife, and bear his
punishment, most grievous of all deaths. And so doth every man
who wickedly thinketh to strive with God, the Lord of might.

(ll. 299-319) Then Almighty God, High Lord of heaven, was filled
with wrath, and hurled him from his lofty throne. He had gained
his Master's hate, and lost His favour. God's heart was hardened
against him. Wherefore he needs must sink into the pit of
torment because he strove against the Lord of heaven. He
banished him from grace and cast him into hell, into the deep
abyss where he became a devil. The Fiend and all his followers
fell from heaven; three nights and days the angels fell from
heaven into hell. God changed them all to devils. Because they
heeded not His deed and word, therefore Almighty God hurled them
into darkness, deep under earth, crushed them and set them in the
mirk of hell. There through the never-ending watches of the
night the fiends endure an unremitting fire. Then at the dawn
cometh an east wind, and bitter frost, ever a blast of fire or
storm of frost. And each must have his share of suffering
wrought for his punishment. Their world was changed when God
filled full the pit of hell with His foes!

(ll. 320-322) But the angels who kept their faith with God dwelt
in the heights of heaven.


(ll. 322-336) The other fiends who waged so fierce a war with God
lay wrapped in flames. They suffer torment, hot and surging
flame in the midst of hell, broad-stretching blaze of fire and
bitter smoke, darkness and gloom, because they broke allegiance
unto God. Their folly and the angel's pride deceived them. They
would not heed the word of God. Great was their punishment!
They fell, through folly and through pride, to fiery depths of
flame in hell. They sought another home devoid of light and
filled with fire - a mighty flaming death. The fiends perceived
that through the might of God, because of their presumptuous
hearts and boundless insolence, they had won a measureless woe.

(ll. 337-355) Then spake their haughty king, who formerly was
fairest of the angels, most radiant in heaven, beloved of his
Leader and dear unto his Lord, until they turned to folly, and
Almighty God was moved to anger at their wantonness, and hurled
him down to depths of torment on that bed of death. He named him
with a name, and said their leader should be called from
thenceforth Satan. He bade him rule the black abyss of hell in
place of striving against God. Satan spake - who now must needs
have charge of hell and dwell in the abyss - in bitterness he
spake who once had been God's angel, radiant-hued in heaven,
until his pride and boundless arrogance betrayed him, so that he
would not do the bidding of the Lord of hosts. Bitterness was
welling in his heart; and round him blazed his cruel torment.
These words he spake:

(ll. 355-367) "This narrow place is little like those other
realms we knew, on high in heaven, allotted by my Lord, though
the Almighty hath not granted us to hold our state, or rule our
kingdom. He hath done us wrong to hurl us to the fiery depths of
hell, and strip us of our heavenly realm. He hath ordained that
human kind shall settle there. That is my greatest grief that
Adam - wrought of earth - should hold my firm-set throne and
live in joy, while we endure this bitter woe in hell.

(ll. 368-388) "Alas! could I but use my hands and have my
freedom for an hour, one winter hour, then with this host I would - But
bands of iron crush me down, the bondage of my chains is
heavy. I am stripped of my dominion. Firmly are hell's fetters
forged upon me. Above me and below a blaze of fire! Never have
I seen a realm more fatal - flame unassuaged that surges over
hell. Ensnaring links and heavy shackles hold me. My ways are
trammelled up; my feet are bound; my hands are fastened. Closed
are the doors of hell, the way cut off. I may not escape out of
my bonds, but mighty gyves of tempered iron, hammered hot, press
hard upon me. God hath set His foot upon my neck. So I know the
Lord of hosts hath read the purpose of my heart, and knew full
well that strife would grow between our host and Adam over the
heavenly realm, had I the freedom of my hands.


(ll. 389-400) "But now we suffer throes of hell, fire and
darkness, bottomless and grim. God hath thrust us out into the
black mists. He cannot charge upon us any sin or evil wrought
against Him in His realm! Yet hath He robbed us of the light and
cast us into utter woe. Nor may we take revenge, nor do Him any
evil because He stripped us of the light. He hath marked out the
borders of the world, and there created man in His own image,
with whom He hopes again to people heaven, with pure souls. We
needs must ponder earnestly to wreak this grudge on Adam, if we
may, and on his children, and thwart His will if so we may

(ll. 401-407) "No longer have I any hope of light wherein He
thinketh long to joy, in bliss among His angel hosts; nor may we
ever bring this thing to pass, that we should change the purpose
of Almighty God. Let us therefore turn the heavenly kingdom from
the sons of men, since we may not possess it, cause them to lose
His favour and turn aside from the command He laid upon them.
Then shall His wrath be kindled, and He shall cast them out from
grace. They shall seek out hell and its grim gulf, and in this
heavy bondage we may have the sons of men to serve us.

(ll. 408-424) "Begin now and plan this enterprise. If ever in
olden days, when happily we dwelt in that good kingdom, and held
possession of our thrones, I dealt out princely treasure to any
thane, he could not make requital for my gifts at any better time
than now, if some one of my thanes would be my helper, escaping
outward through these bolted gates, with strength to wing his way
on high where, new-created, Adam and Eve, surrounded with
abundance, dwell on earth - and we are cast out hither in this
deep abyss. They are now much dearer unto God, and own the high
estate and rightful realm which we should have in heaven! Good
fortune is allotted to mankind.

(ll. 425-437) "My soul is sorrowful within me, my heart is sore,
that they should hold the heavenly realm for ever. But if in any
wise some one of you could bring them to forsake God's word and
teaching, soon would they be less pleasing unto Him! If they
break His commandment, then will His wrath be kindled. Their
high estate shall vanish; their sin shall have requital, and some
grim penalty. Take thought now how ye may ensnare them. I shall
rest softly in these chains if they lose heaven. Whoso shall
bring this thing to pass shall have reward for ever, of all that
we may win to our advantage, amid these flames.


(ll. 438-441) I will let him sit next me, whoever shall return to
hell proclaiming that they have set at naught, by word and deed,
the counsels of the King of heaven and been displeasing to the

((LACUNA - Section missing of indeterminate length.))


(ll. 442-460) Then God's enemy began to make him ready, equipped
in war-gear, with a wily heart. He set his helm of darkness on
his head, bound it full hard, and fastened it with clasps. Many
a crafty speech he knew, many a crooked word. Upward he beat his
way and darted through the doors of hell. He had a ruthless
heart. Evil of purpose he circled in the air, cleaving the flame
with fiendish craft. He would fain ensnare God's servants unto
sin, seduce them and deceive them that they might be displeasing
to the Lord. With fiendish craft he took his way until he came
on Adam upon earth, the finished handiwork of God, full wisely
wrought, and his wife beside him, loveliest of women, performing
many a goodly service since the Lord of men appointed them His

(ll. 460-477) And by them stood two trees laden with fruit and
clothed with increase. Almighty God, High King of heaven, had
set them there that the mortal sons of men might choose of good
and evil, weal and woe. Unlike was their fruit! Of the one tree
the fruit was pleasant, fair and winsome, excellent and sweet.
That was the tree of life. He might live for ever in the world
who ate of that fruit, so that old age pressed not heavily upon
him, nor grievous sickness, but he might live his life in
happiness for ever, and have the favour of the King of heaven
here on earth. And glory was ordained for him in heaven, when he
went hence.

(ll. 478-495) The other tree was dark, sunless, and full of
shadows: that was the tree of death. Bitter the fruit it bore!
And every man must know both good and evil; in this world abased
he needs must suffer, in sweat and sorrow, who tasted of the
fruit that grew upon that tree. Old age would rob him of his
strength and joy and honour, and death take hold upon him. A
little time might he enjoy this life, and then seek out the murky
realm of flame, and be subject unto fiends. There of all perils

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