Christ and Satan, lines 655b-730 [end]

The poet continues his description of heaven, where God Himself sits. He suffered death for us, and also fasted for forty days, the poet says. At that point, the Devil tries to tempt him, asking him to turn stones into loaves.

[Here, although the manuscript is not damaged, there is a major break in the sense of the poem. In the Bible, there are 3 temptations, and Jesus uses quotations from Deuteronomy to argue against Satan. As you will see, the complete temptation scene is absent from Christ and Satan here.  Many scholars therefore think that a short section of the poem is thus missing]

Jesus answers the Devil that He alone has promised a reward to his followers [the sense and syntax of this passage are both confusing]. Then the Devil carries Him to a high place and offers him rule over the earth and its people. Jesus tells the Devil to take himself down to hell and lectures him about how miserable hell will be. Satan becomes miserable and runs away to hell where he will be stuck with God’s adversaries. The tormented spirits yell that they hope the Devil remains in his misery because he never previously cared about the good.

The poem end with “Finit Liber II” (the end of book 2). This is the last poem in the Junius Manuscript.

Christ and Satan, lines 534-655a

Simon Peter, in Galilee, asks Jesus if they are now really seeing Him. Some of the disciples have trouble believing. But the poet notes that it was by design that Jesus mounted the cross so that he could lead men out of hell.

Forty days later Jesus ascends from earth into heaven and gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. God also restores to life a countless number of souls, but not Judas, who is in hell. The poet describes Jesus seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Now the poet moves on to Judgment Day. The archangels will blow the trumpets and the dead will rise. They will be judged, and the righteous will come into the light of glory. The Lord will speak to the evil ones and send them to hell. There they will suffer the hell torments that the poet enjoys describing.

The poet then exhorts us to obey God and describes the dazzling beauty of God’s kingdom.

Christ and Satan, lines 441-533

The Harrowing of Hell continues. God’s Son mounts up to heaven bringing the righteous souls out of hell. The Devil and the fiends are consigned to the darkness.

God’s Son speaks, telling the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and their disobedience with the apple. Thus they and all subsequent souls were sent to hell. But God remembered the souls in hell and, when he had been born into the world, suffered and died, he came to lead them home to heaven.

Next the poet discusses the Resurrection and the appearance of Jesus to the disciples, particularly Simon Peter.

Christ and Satan, lines 315-440

More contrast of the joys of heaven with the sorrows of hell. Then we learn that the lead angel in the revolt was Lucifer. Description of the Harrowing of Hell, when Christ broke down the gates of hell and came to save the souls imprisoned there. The fiends lament the loss of their prey and the humiliation of being defeated.

Jesus leads the good souls out of hell, but before she leaves, Eve says she must speak, telling the story of the Fall of Man, noting that Satan is now bound in chains. She then holds out her hands to the King of Heaven, stating that He was born into the world through her daughter, Mary.

Christ and Satan, lines 224-314

The host of fiends continues to discuss their past. They remember all the pleasures of heaven from which they are now separated. They narrate the story of the Fall of the Angels, their attempt to drive God from his throne and seize all of heaven. But they failed, and now they must inhabit the place of exile, the abyss.

After noting that this is the way God’s adversaries are lamenting in hell, the poet urges us to remember the Lord always. If we do so, he says, we will be blessed and brought into the heavenly kingdom.

Christ and Satan, lines 125-223

The Devil continues to lament his condition: he is trapped in hell, where heat and cold afflict him and he must hear the yammering of hell’s inhabitants, some of whom struggle naked among  serpents. He complains about being changed from his former beauty to what he is now. There then follows a series of “Eala” [alas] laments, similar in structure, if not in content, to those in The Wanderer. The Devil acknowledges that what is most bitter to him is to be cut off forever from God.

The poet then exhorts us always to remember God and delight in Him. Then we may return to where God sits among his troops of Angels on His high throne.

Christ and Satan, lines 1-124

The poet begins by praising God and giving a brief catalogue of all creation (sun, moon, earth, seas, etc.).  God also created Adam and the leader of the angels, who led his followers in a revolt that ended with their being imprisoned in hell.  That leader (Satan) laments that hell is dark, fiery and unpleasant and that he must endure there in chains for the crime of pride.  His minions complain that it is Satan’s fault that they are in hell.

Satan then tells the story of the revolt of the angels, how he thought to overthrow God’s throne and seize power.  But he was banished now down to hell, the doors of which are guarded by dragons.  Having declared himself ruler of heaven, Satan says, “turned out the worse for me.”