Muspilli Part V (61-72)

Go to Part IV

diu marha ist farprunnan,    diu sela stet pidungan,
ni uueiz mit uuiu puaze:    so uerit si za uuize.
pidiu ist demo manne so guot,    denner ze demo mahale quimit,
daz er rahono uueliha    rehto arteile.
denne ni darf er sorgen,    denne er ze deru suonu quimit. 65
ni uueiz der uuenago man,    uuielihan uuartil er habet,
denner mit den miaton    marrit daz rehta,
daz der tiuual dar pi    kitarnit stentit.
der hapet in ruouu    rahono uueliha,
daz der man er enti sid    upiles kifrumita, 70
daz er iz allaz kisaget,    denne er ze deru suonu quimit;
ni scolta sid manno nohhein    miatun intfahan.

61   This line is metrically complete but lacks the expected alliteration: m | br || s | þwfarprunnan (III -brinnan past participle) ‘burned up’—pidungan (III bi-duuingan past participle) ‘defeated, overpowered’

62   uuiu (interrogatove pronoun uuaz instrumental singular) read mit uuiu as ‘with what’ = ‘how’—puaze (1 buozen 3sg present optative) ‘atone, remedy’ cf. Ger. büßenuuize (neut. ja uuīzi) ‘torture, punishment, hell’

63   pidiu looks ahead to l. 64 dazdenner = denne ‘when (relative)’ + er

64   rahono (fem. ō rahha) lit. ‘things said’ but here ‘things, matters’; the ō-stems have adopted the genitive plural of n-stems (foreshadowing a total merger that is only completed centuries later); rahono uueliha lit. ‘each of matters’ = ‘each matter’—arteile (1 ir-teilen 3sg present optative) ‘judge, determine’—This line refers to a man choosing his deeds carefully during his life; it is not helpful advice to the soul presently on trial, but the living audience may benefit from it.

65   denne … denne a correlative pair, ‘then … when’; the first is perhaps best left untranslated—ni darf exhibits the historical semantics of dürfen, ‘he does not need to’—suonu (fem. ō suona) ‘judgement, decision’

66   uuenago ‘miserable, wretched’—uuielhan ‘which’—uuartil (masc. a) ‘guard, protector’ < *wardilaz, cf. *wardōną > Ger. warten; uuielihan uuartil er habet, i.e. who is watching him

67   miaton (here fem. n; historically fem. ō) ‘payments, fees’ but here = ‘bribes’ < *mizdō, cf. Greek μισθός ‘reward, payment’—marrit (1 merren) ‘disturbs, hampers’ < *marzijaną, cf. mardaz rehta lit. ‘das Rechte’ = ‘what is right,’ i.e. ‘justice’

68   take the daz-clause of this line in apposition with l. 66 uuielihan uuartil er habet, an elaboration of what the uuenago man does not know—tiuual (masc. a) ‘devil’ with second u for /f/—dar pi lit. ‘thereby’ = ‘nearby’—kitarnit (1 gi-tarnen past participle) ‘hidden, concealed’ < *darnijaną, cf. the legendary Tarnkappestentit (VI standan) alternates in this text with stet (cf. l. 61)

69   der (emphatic 3sg pronoun) ‘that one’ = der tiuualruouu (fem. ō) ‘silence’—rahhono uueliha, as in l. 64, refers to ‘each matter’ (lit. ‘each of matters’), and not literally ‘speeches’; cf. the semantic evolution of Greek λόγος, Hebrew דבר‎‎, for ‘speech’ > ‘matter’

70   daz ‘what (relative)’; take this daz-clause in apposition to rahono uuelihaer enti sid lit. ‘earlier and later’ in his life, i.e. ‘ever’—upiles is a partitive genitive; ‘any(thing of) evil’—kifrumita (1 gi-frummen 3sg preterite indicative) ‘carried out, accomplished, did’

71   the devil’s function as accuser echoes both the etymology of tiuual < διάβολος from δια-βάλλω ‘falsely accuse, slander’ (even if there is an admitted leap between ‘(rightly) accuse,’ as here, and ‘slander’) and Satan’s historical role before his association with the underworld (cf. Job 1:10)—er in 71a refers to der tiuual; in 71b it refers to der uuenago mankisaget (2 gi-sagēn) ‘will say’—denne ‘when (relative)’—suonu (fem. ō) here = ‘judgement’

72   scolta (skulan 3sg preterite optative) ‘should,’ with the same normative force as its English cognate—sid lit ‘afterwards’ but here = ‘because of that’; cf. since < ME siþþenes < OE siþþan < *sīþ-þām ‘after that’ > Ger. seitdemmiatun again refers specifically to ‘bribes’—intfahan (VII -fāhan) ‘to receive, take,’ cf. Ger. empfangen with assimilation of nt > mp before f

The country is burned up, the soul stands overpowered;
it does not know how to atone; so it goes to punishment.
It will be so good for the man, when he goes to the tribunal,
that he determine each of his deeds rightly.
He will not have to worry when he comes before the judgement. 65
The wretched man is unaware of which watcher he has
when he mars with bribes that which is right,
that the devil stands hidden nearby.
He silently keeps every matter,
what evil the man ever accomplished; 70
he will tell all of it when the man goes on trial;
that’s why no person should take bribes.

Go to Part VI


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