Mr. Shippey's translation and notes are taken from his book Poems of Wisdom and Learning in Old English.


It is going to happen: the sea will rise in flood over the world, life will be over for every single person. Anyone who wants to can often ponder this truth in his own mind.

Our Lord has fixed the time when he will come here, on that greatest day, as highest king of power; then the ruler of mankind will burn the land with fire. That will not be a small convocation to hold!Click for footnote A blaze will be kindled, once fire has seized the earth's surface, the burning flame has taken the bright creation. All this wide world will be full of coals and cruel firebrands - this world ruled now by hardhearted men who hoard ostentatiously and provide their Lord with ridicule - until those who should keep watch against their sins betray them, so that they have to go down to hell with the crowd, fly off with the devils. They are for the fire, torment in obscurity, where day never shines brightly in the sky, but it stays shut up for ever, once the soul's dreadful sentence is pronounced.Click for footnote It is cramped above, and hot inside; that is no splendid mansion, but the greatest of terrors there, no home to be looked forward to, but down there the abyss of hell, a miserable journey for the man who so often disturbs the peace with his words. He has no knowledge of the dark side of creation, how it stands ready eternally and endlessly for the man who is thrown down there for his sins, and then endures his fate for ever. Who then has a mind wise enough, or possesses so much knowledge that he can ever describe the height of heaven, or the amount of good things in it as thoroughly as they are,Click for Footnote standing ready for all pure souls,, for all those who are prepared to feel fear at this utterance of its profundity? The day shall come when we bring forward each of our sins, our thoughts and our behaviour. That will be a stern assembly, a fierce army to face.

The heat will have grown cold. Then there will be nothing in this world except the noise of the water, the home of the fish will flow over the world (?).Click for Footnote Here there will be neither bone nor blood, but every child ever born will have to ask what is the reward for his soul and his body of everything we have ever done on earth, good or bad. No greater terror can ever take place in the world - and this will be known by many! The stars will not be visible to us here any more, but earthly prosperity and distinction will have gone. So I mean to teach people all the time that they should praise the glory of God on high, and live their lives faithfully, hoping for heaven, and should always gain the Lord's love by their actions in this world, before that day of splendour announces with trumpets the burning heat of the fire, the overpowering terror.

No nobleman can keep his distinction in this life any longer, not once the guardian of light has sent fire across the entire face of the world. His army blazes in the sky,Click for Footnote the flame sweeps on, bright and burning, it is announced to many that they must shed their blood, as punishment from the king of power; all the bright creation quakes, the firebrands will leap on that vital day, heaven above will ring. When men and women leave the world and earth's miseries behind, they will see then what they have earned in eternity. Then it will be shown who have lived their lives in purity; their reward will be waiting. There has always been a hope of having that in heaven, ever since our Saviour, the Ruler of the world, was fastened tightly on the dark tree with a painful clamp; for Christ knows of all good deeds. But the sinful soul will have no cause to take pride in being bound for heaven, since it so often despises holy instruction, brings it into contempt. He is not aware of the terror he will be allotted, he has no perception of evil, till the moment it strikes him. Then he realises it, when the calamity is on him, announcing to many a man throughout the world that in the division he will be put with the crowd on the left-hand side, worse for him than if he were allowed to turn to the right, set free from his sins. The man who can enjoy what he wants, who can be cheerful over his wine and sit feasting licentiously, without worrying about his last journey, he thinks little about how things may turn out for him once this world is over.

Then after that event the Lord of souls, the Prince of glory, will give everything that he wants to the man who now meditates in misery upon his sins, enduring great anxiety in his mind; the Ruler of life and Guardian of heaven will then repay him beneficently, after he has left this world, for having been so melancholy, so sorry for his sins. The man who wants to live with God must not be too slow, not too apathetic about the things I am teaching here, if he wants to live in the mansion which our Father in glory is preparing for us, the Prince of souls. It is the Lord of victory who will decorate that hall, who will build it with splendour. The pure will go to it, those who are free of vice, as the Ruler has said, King of all kings. So everyone alive must listen to the Lord, if he thinks deeply, if he wants to rise to heaven in the heights.

Yet it will happen, that although the body is covered with earth and clay, it will receive life, will draw breath after lying in the ground. The people will be summoned, all Adam's children called to convocation; then souls and their bony houses will be brought together, united for their journeys. That will make the truth known, when on that greatest day we men assemble beneath the cross; then many truths will be told, everything that has happened beneath the sky, whether hot or cold, good or evil. The highest King of heaven listens attentively to what men have done. Never has horn been sounded or trumpet blown so loud that his clear voice will not be louder to men across the whole world, the Ruler's words. The continents will shake at the message he has in mind for us all.

Now repeat what this says:Click for Footnote it will become obvious that I cannot prevent that event beneath the sky, but it will have to happen like this to everybody, with burning fire over all the bright homes of men. Then, after the fire, life will be made permanent; the man who thinks the right way now will have happiness in heaven.