Muspilli Part IV (44-60)

Go to Part III

der antichristo    stet pi demo altfiante,
stet pi demo Satanase,    der inan uarsenkan scal: 45
pidiu scal er in deru uuicsteti    uunt piuallan
enti in demo sinde    sigalos uuerdan.
doh uuanit des [uilo] gotmanno,
daz Elias in demo uuige    aruuartit uuerde.
so daz Eliases pluot    in erda kitriufit, 50
so inprinnant die perga,    poum ni kistentit
enihc in erdu,    aha artruknent,
muor uarsuuilhit sih,    suilizot lougiu der himil,
mano uallit,    prinnit mittilagart,
sten ni kistentit,    uerit denne stuatago in lant, 55
uerit mit diu uuiru    uiriho uuison:
dar ni mac denne mak andremo    helfan uora demo muspille.
denne daz preita uuasal    allaz uarprinnit,
enti uuir enti luft    iz allaz arfurpit,
uuar ist denne diu marha,    dar man dar eo mit sinen magon piehc? 60

44   altfiante ‘ancient enemy’

45   uarsenkan (1 senken) ‘to cause to fall, sink’

46   uuicsteti ‘place (stat) of battle (uuig)’—uunt ‘wounded’—piuallan (VII bi-fallan) ‘to fall’

47   sind lit. ‘path, direction but translate here as ‘manner, way’—sigalos ‘without victory’ from *siguz ‘victory’ + *lausaz ‘rid of, reft of,’ cf. Ger. sieglos

48   des is the object of uuanit and looks ahead to l. 49 dazuilo the MS appears to have uula but this may be erroneous; nonetheless, this line seems incomplete—gotmanno (genitive plural) ‘men of God’ = ‘clergymen’

49   aruuartit (1 ir-uuerten past participle) ‘injured’—uuerde (III uuerdan) optative because it is indirect discourse

50   so … so read as ‘when … then’—kitriufit (II gi-triofan 3sg present indicative) ‘drip’

51   inprinnant (III in-brinnan 3pl present indicative) ‘burn up’—perga (masc. a) ‘mountains’—poum (masc a) ‘tree’—kistentit ‘will stand, persist, remain’

52   enihc ‘any, a single’; read this with poumaha (fem. ō) ‘rivers’ cf. Latin aquaartruknent (3 ir-trokkanēn) ‘dry up’

53   muor ‘moor, swamp’—uarsuuilhit (III -suuelgan) ‘swallows up’; read the reflexive (with sih) as a passive = ‘will be swallowed up’—suilizot (2 suuilizzōn) ‘burns up, glows’—lougiu (instrumental singular) ‘with fire’

54   mano (masc. n) ‘moon’—mittilagart (masc. a) ‘Midgard’ lit. ‘middle-yard,’ i.e. the territory in Germanic cosmology occupied by humans (higher than the infernal worlds of ice and fire but lower than Asgard and the worlds that house the elves)

55   uerit (VI faran 3sg present indicative)—stuatago (masc. n) ‘judgement-day’ = stuoen ‘atone’ + dago ‘day’; note that the n-declension was productive in early Germanic to denote definiteness, cf. *beran- ‘the brown one’ = ‘bear’ (this strategy has parallels in personal names like Latin Catō < catus ‘clever’; Greek Πλάτων < πλατύς ‘broad[-shouldered]’); the semantics of definiteness accompanying the n-stem provided the motivation for the so-called “weak nouns” in Germanic

56   uiriho (masc. ja genitive plural) ‘people, humanity’ < *ferhʷijaz fom *ferhʷō ‘life, soul’ < PIE *pérkʷus ‘oak; strength; life’—uuison (2 uuīsōn) ‘to visit,’ takes a genitive object; translate this infinitive as an expression of purpose ‘to visit humanity’

57   mak (masc. a māg) ‘kinsman, relative’—muspille the word from which the poem’s de facto title is derived, a hapax legomenon in the language, has obscure semantics and etymology; perhaps the subject of a future post

58   preita ‘broad, wide’—uuasal ‘earth’

59   iz (3sg neut. accusative pronoun) ‘it’—arfurpit (1 ir-furben 3sg present indicative) ‘will purify, cleanse’

60   marha (fem. ō marka) ‘region, country’—man is indefinite ‘one,’ but is perhaps not most eloquently translated as such—piehc (VII bāgan 3sg preterite indicative) ‘fought’

The Antichrist stands next to the ancient fiend,
stands by that Satan, who will defeat him; 45
thus shall he fall, wounded, on the battlefield
and in this way become reft of victory.
Indeed, many men of God expect
that Elijah will be injured in the battle.
When Elijah’s blood drips onto the earth, 50
then the mountains will burn up; not a single tree
will stand on the earth, rivers will dry up,
the swamp will be swallowed up, the sky will glow with fire,
the moon will fall, Midgard will burn,
not a stone will stand; when Judgement Day comes into the land, 55
comes with that fire to visit humanity;
at that time, no kinsman there can help another before the muspille.
For the vast ground will all burn up,
and fire and air will purify it all;
where then is the country where kinsmen once fought each other? 60

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