Thursday, 12 July 2018

The creation of the Universe - Óengus the Culdee

My own King, King of the pure heavens,
without pride, without contention,
who didst create the folded world,
my King ever-living, ever victorious.

King above the elements, surpassing the sun,
King above the ocean depths,
King in the South and North, in the West and East,
with whom no contention can be made.

King of the Mysteries, who wast and art,
before the elements, before the ages,
King yet eternal, comely His aspect,
King without beginning, without end.

King who created lustrous heaven,
who is not arrogant, not overweening,
and the earth, with its multitudinous delights,
strong, powerful, stable.

King who didst make the noble brightness,
and the darkness, with its gloom;
the one, the perfect day,
the other, the very perfect night.

King who fashioned the vast deeps
out of the primary stuff of the elements,
who [created] the wondrous formless mass.

King who formed out of it each element,
who confirmed them without restriction, a lovely mystery,
both tempestuous and serene,
both animate and inanimate.

King who hewed, gloriously, with energy,
out of the very shapely primal stuff,
the heavy, round earth,
with foundations, [its] length and breadth.

King who shaped within no narrow limits
in the circle of the firmament
the globe, fashioned
like a goodly apple, truly round.

King who formed after that with fixity
the fresh masses about the earth;
the very smooth currents above the world
of the chill watery air.

King who didst sift the cold excellent water
on the earth-mass of the noble cliffs
into rills, with the reservoirs of the streams,
according to their measures, with moderation.

Óengus the Culdee (Óengus mac Óengobann, also known as Saint Óengus of Tallaght) (died c.824) Ireland
Translated by Eleanor Hull
Source: The Poem-Book of the Gael. Translations from Irish Gaelic Poetry into English Prose and Verse, selected and edited by Eleanor Hull, Chatto & Windus, 1913
Note - words in square brackets are my additions in order to make sense of the missing sections.

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