The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise

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The Fall and Expulsion from Paradise (10th century) 
by Oengus the Culdee, translated by Eleanor Hull
Published in the Saltair na Rann in the 10th century, denoting lineage to the Irish bishop Oengus the Culdee. Translation from 1912.

From heaven God ruled

all the living things

that they should come out of every district without

fierceness *
till they arrived before (the gate of) Paradise.

Then they would return right-hand-wise
without seed of pride or any murmuring,
each of them to its very pure abode
after taking leave of Adam.

The very fierce, double-headed beast,

was subtle and watchful, with (his) twenty hosts,

how under heaven he shall find a way

to bring about the destruction of Adam.

Lucifer, many his clear questions, 2
went amongst the animals,
amongst the herds outside Paradise
until he found the serpent.

" Is it not useless (i.e. unworthy of you) thy being

outside ? "

said the Devil to the serpent ;
" with thy dexterous cunning,
with thy cleverness, with thy subtlety ?

" Great was the danger and the wickedness
that Adam should have been ordained over thee ;
the downfall 3 of him, the youngest of created things,
and his destruction, would be no crime to us.

1 Lit. "without attack."

2 This seems to be a cheville ; lit. " number of clear questions."

3 Lit. " his consuming."



24 THE SALTAIR NA RANN

" Since thou art more renowned in warfare,

first of the twain thou wast created,

thou art more cunning, more agreeable in every way (?)

do not submit to the younger !

" Take my advice without shrinking, 1
let us make an alliance and friendship ;
listen to my clear reasoning :
do not go forth to Adam.

" Give me a place in thy body,
with my own laws, with my own intellect,
so that we both may go from the plain
unexpectedly 2 to Eve.

" Let us together urge upon her
the fruit of the forbidden tree,
that she afterwards may clearly
press the food upon Adam.

" Provided that they go together
beyond the commandment of his Lord,
God will not love them here,
they will leave Paradise in evil plight." 3

" What reward is there for me above every great one ? "

said the serpent to the devil ;

" on my welcoming thee into my fair body,

without evil, as my fellow-inhabitant ?

1 Lit. " without grief" or " sorrow." 2 Lit. " under attack."
3 Lit. " without bloom " ?



FALL AND EXPULSION FROM PARADISE 25

" For guiding thee on that road

to destroy Eve and Adam,

for going with thee truly to the attack

whatever act thou mayest undertake ? " *

(LUCIFER rtylies)

" What greater reward shall I give to thee
according to the measure of our great crime
(than that) our union in our habits, in our wrath,
shall be for ever spoken of ? "

When he found a place for the betrayal
in the likeness of the serpent's shape,
slowly he went tarrying 2
directly to the gate of Paradise.

The serpent called outside,

" dost thou hear me, O wife of Adam ?

come and converse with me, O Eve of the fair form,

beyond 3 every other."

" I have no time to talk with anyone,"
said Eve to the serpent ;
" I am going out to feed
the senseless animals."

"If you are the Eve whose fame was heard
with honour in Paradise,
wife of Adam, beautiful, wide-minded,
in her I desire 4 my full satisfaction." 5

1 Lit. " rise to." 8 Or " steadily."

3 Or perhaps " apart from " every other.

4 Or " I beseech." 5 Or " need."



26 THE SALTAIR NA RANN



(EvE speaks)

" Whenever Adam is not here,

I am guardian of Paradise,

without weariness, O smooth, pale creature,

I attend to the needs of the animals."



(The SERPENT speaks)

" How long does Adam go from thee,
on which side does he make his fair circuit,
when at any time he is not here
feeding the herds in Paradise ? "

" He leaves it to me, bright jewel ;

I feed the animals,

while he goes with pure unmeasured renown

to adore the Lord."



" I desire to ask a thing of thee,"

said the slender, very affable serpent,

" because bright and dear is thy clear reasoning,

Eve, O bride of Adam ! "

" Whatever it be that you contemplate saying,
it will not vex me, O noble creature ;
certainly there will be no obscurity here,

1 will narrate it to thee truthfully."



FALL AND EXPULSION FROM PARADISE 27

" Tell me, O glorious Eve,
since it chances that we are discoursing together,
in your judgment, is the life in Paradise,
with your lordship here, pleasant ? "

(EvE replies)

" Until we go faultless in our turn, (or " ranks ")

in our bodies to heaven,

we do not ask here greater lordship

than what there is of good in Paradise.

" Every good thing, 1 as it was heard,
that God created in Paradise,
save one tree, all without reserve,
is thus under our control. 2

" It is He, the dear God, who committed to us,
O pale, bashful creature,
Paradise as a solace 3 for His people (?)
except the fruit of the one tree.

" * Let alone the very pure tree,'

He cautioned myself and Adam,

  • the fruit of the rough tree, if thou eatest of it


against my command, thou shalt die.' "

1 This is the L. B. reading; the text has fia. Is \ijladh, of
which one meaning is "meat," or " food " ?

8 Or " it is thus according to rule," i.e. laid down for us.

3 Donad seems to be used in the same way as didnad, ' ' solace ' '
or "consolation," v.n. of didonaim, " I console."



28 THE SALTAIR NA RANN



('The SERPENT speaks)

" Though on the plain l you be equal,
yourself and Adam, O Eve,
you are not more intelligent, O gentle, pure one,
than any of the beasts.

" However great be the host under you outside
it is lamentable that you are without minds,
like to any of the ignorant animals ;
thus you are under one law (with them). 2

" Except as regards possessions only,
your lordship has not been complete ;
since nothing of evil has been sent to you,
the worse is your understanding.

" Great is the lack of wisdom ;

God is deceiving you :

because it is of the one tree of good and evil,

that you are not permitted to eat.

" For this purpose the brave tree was invented,
in order that it should not be allowed you ;
that you should not have the intelligence
to distinguish between good and evil.

" Do not hesitate, go to the tree,

to test it as regards one apple ;

the discernment between good and evil

will be as the High Prince instructed you."

1 i.e. outside in the fields among the animals.

  • i.e. on the same level with the beasts.




FALL AND EXPULSION FROM PARADISE 29

(EvE speaks)

" How good soever thy intelligence,
however favourable 1 and gracious thy counsel,
to go to the tree I dare not,
lest we die.

" Go thou thyself to the tree, O serpent,

and bring from it one apple ;

but if that apple come to me

I shall share it between myself and Adam.

" Before all the multitudes we shall be endowed with

knowledge,

if we but eat the apple,
(this is) thy tale without mockery ;
perchance what thou sayest is true."

(The SERPENT speaks)

" O Eve, untrammelled light,
open before me the gate of Paradise ;
provided I arrive without misfortune yonder
I will bring from the tree the apple."

(EvE speaks)

" Though I open before thee that thou mayest go yonder,
though from the tree you bring me an apple,
there will be no delay on thee here,
(by) thy lingering in Paradise ? "

1 Or "full of grace."



30 THE SALTAIR NA RANN

(SATAN speaks)

" If I bring the apple to thee,
that thou mayest discern good and evil
without any fail I will go out,
unless bondage or fetters befall me."



Eve opened secretly

the door before the serpent,

without difficulty l it went (it was not obsequious),

on its course to the one tree.

Eve took the perfect apple
from the apple-tree (most woeful the tale),
Eve carried off the half, it was not well;
she left the other half for Adam.

King who drave from Thee the host of hell,

who hast made them fast in equal wretchedness under

trembling service,

He (God) wounded in battle, though it was laborious,
the keen wolf who was jealous.

The Devil was jealous thereat.

1 Cith means a "shower" (metaph. "of tears"); also "hard-
ship."