The Phoenix, lines 589-677 [end]

Christ will shine above the heavenly city and the birds, the chosen ones, will follow him. They can never be harmed by the enemy because they are clothed in light, just like the Phoenix. A bright corona, adorned with jewels, will rise upon each one’s head. They will dwell in beauty with the Father and the angels.

Nothing will harm them, not strife, poverty, work, hunger thirst, disease or old age. The spirits will praise the Lord, singing “Peace be to you, etc.”

Just as God was born into the world yet remained holy, suffered death and torment on the cross but received life again, so too the Phoenix indicates the Son of God when he arises from the ashes to new life. Just as the Savior gave us help through his body, so too the bird fills its wings with sweet herbs, the fruit of the earth.

These are the words which writings tell us will go up to heaven and bring a beautiful smell of words and works as a gift to God.

[the poem becomes macaronic here, with the a-verse of each line in Old English and the b-verse in Latin]

May there be eternal praise for the Lord. He is the right King of the world and of the heavenly troop, in the glorious city. He has granted us the ability to earn joy in heaven by good deeds. There we can live in grace, look upon the Lord, and sing Him praises with the angels. Alleluia.

The Phoenix, lines 492-588

Then in that hour of revelation the image of the bird will come.  Things will be well for those who may find favor with God at that time.

Spirits will return to their bodies while the fire rises up to the heavens.  The blessed will be clothed with their works: these are represented by the herb with which the bird builds its nest before it is burned up and reborn renewed.  Likewise all men will be re-clothed in flesh, renewed.  Then holy spirits will sing as the blessed are raised up, clothed with their good deeds.

Let no one think I am making this up.  Listen to the wisdom of Job, who says that he will be allowed, just like the phoenix bird, to be renewed after resurrection.

So the wise man in the early days sang so that we would better understand what the bird means.  The bird gathers up the ashes, bones and cinders and brings them in his feet to the Lord’s land.  So, after death, souls will journey with the body, adorned, like the bird, with noble smells, to great joy in the heavenly city.

The Phoenix, lines 393-481

We have learned how God made the first man and woman and set them in paradise. They lacked nothing as long as the obeyed the Lord’s command not to eat of the tree, but the ate the apple against God’s command. For this they suffered punishment and ever since their children have paid for their sin. They had to give up the noble land due to the serpent’s seduction. Paradise was closed until the King of Glory opened it to the holy ones through his Advent.

The migration of the bird is similar to this. We he is old, he leaves his dwelling place and find a high tree in the woods in which he builds a nest. He wishes to have a new life through fire. Likewise our ancestors left paradise and made a long journey on which monsters harmed them often.

But there are many on earth who serve the Lord and he is pleased with them. This is the tree in which the holy live. No enemies can harm them there. The warrior for the Lord builds a nest for himself through his good deeds. The Lord is a shield to him. The good deeds are the herbs and fruits which the bird gathers from near and far.

Out of these herbs a city in the heavens will be built for them.  This way the blessed one earns joy and a heavenly home with the Lord until the end of the world, when death takes the life of each man and sends the bodies to where they will remain until the fire comes.

That day the Lord will lead all men into a gathering and pass judgment on all men.  The blessed will depart to heaven while the world burns.

The Phoenix, lines 291-392

The bird is very beautiful with many very attractive parts.

When he goes from this earth to seek his old dwelling place, he shows himself to men who from far and near gater to gaze upon him.  The people discuss him in their writings and depict him in stone.

Then the family of other birds gather around him in the air.  They praise him with songs and fly in a circle around the Phoenix.  They follow him towards his dwelling place, but then the Phoenix flies away and departs from the earth.

Thus after death, the bird goes back to his noble homeland.  The other bird return home, mourning.  Only God knows whether the Phoenix is male or female.

In his homeland, the bird enjoys the streams and woodlands for a thousand years.  And then the pyre burns him again.  But he is afterwards awakened to life.  For this reason he does not despair, because he knows that the flames will renew him.  He is his own son and father and the inheritor of his old heirlooms.

Likewise each blessed person chooses everlasting life for himself instead of dark death.  The nature of the Phoenix is similar to the chosen servants of God on earth: through the Father’s help they keep happiness and prepare for themselves prosperity in the heavenly homeland.

The Phoenix, lines 182-290

When the sky is clear and everything is still, the bird begins to build a nest. From far and near he gathers the most sweet-smelling herbs and woodblossoms, and builds his nest at the top of the tree, surrounded with beautiful smells.

In the hottest summer, the sun makes the nest warm until it burst into flame, burning the bird. Fire devours his body.

But after a while the ashes gather together into a clump. Then out of the ashes comes something that looks like an apple. A worm grows, as if it has hatched. He becomes like an eagle’s chick and keeps growing until he is the size of an eagle. The bird is reborn, renewed and separated from sins.

This process is similar to the sprouting of the earth in the spring.

The bird eats only honey-dew as he grows to full size.

When he is fully grown, he seeks his homeland. He grasps what remains of the fire with his claws and flies home. He carries his own bones there and buries them and the ashes all together in the beautiful land.

The Phoenix, lines 85-181

A bird lives in this wood: it is named the Phoenix.  He never dies in this good place as long as the world remains.  He watches for when the sun rises above the sea and then, when it has risen, he bathes himself twelve times in the streams.  Then he goes up onto a high tree where he can watch the sun travel over the waves.

As soon as the sun is shining over the sea, the bird flies from the tree and sings as he soars through the sky.  The song is sweeter than all the musical instruments of the world, trumpets, horns, harps, voices and even the organ.  It is sweeter than the wings of swans.  The bird sings until the sun goes down he stops singing, listens, and then beats his wings three times.  And he always marks the hours, twelve times each day, both day and night.

The phoenix does this for 1000 years at a time.

But when he has weakened with age, the grey-feathered bird flies away from the beautiful land and finds a realm in earth where no people live.  There he rules over a family of birds and dwells with them in the desert for a while, until he flies west to the land of Syria.  There, he seeks out a hidden place within a grove of trees.  He chooses one tree, which people call the Phoenix (the same name as the bird).

The Phoenix, lines 1-84

I have heard that far away there is the most beautiful of lands, but no powerful man may reach it because of God’s will.  All the place is beautiful: green woodlands, many rivers, no rain nor snow nor frost nor fire nor hail nor rime nor heat nor cold, but everything is perfect.  The land is covered with blossoms.

The land, wise men tell us, is twelve fathoms higher than the highest mountains.

The wood is filled with leaves in all seasons that never wither.  When the flood came to the rest of the world, this land was unscathed and it will remain perfect even after the judgment and the fire and the opening of the tombs of mortals.

There are no enemies or suffering or weeping, no disease or death or losing of life, no hail or frost nor rain, but there are beautiful streams.  Twelve times at the command of God the streams flow through the land. The leaves and flowers never fall and beautiful smells linger there always.  This will never be changed until God decides to end this work.